What are my rights if I was misdiagnosed by nurse practioner on 2 seperate occasions?

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What are my rights if I was misdiagnosed by nurse practioner on 2 seperate occasions?

I went in to see her for a bad cough and difficulty breathing. She said I was having anxiety and gave me a powerful sedative. After takinG it I ended up in ER. The ER correctly diagnosed me with whooping cough. I have had a severe case of it because I did not receive the correct treatment for over 2 weeks. Also, my entire family and people in my church were exposed requiring treatment. My 4 year old contracted it as well. Should I sue her?

Asked on April 11, 2013 under Malpractice Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All you can recover *if* this was malpractice (see below) for whooping cough would be--

1) Any additional out of pocket (not paid by insurance, medicare, or medicaid) medical costs for you and your child;

2) Lost wages, if any (i.e. if you missed some days at work); and

3) IF there was some lasting impairment of your or your child's quality of life, some amount for pain and suffering.

It is therefore unlikely to be worth your while to bring a malpractice suit, since those can be very expensive (you need a medical expert witness)--there's a good chance you'd not even recover as much money as the cost of the suit.

Furthermore, it's not a given that this was malpractice. The law accepts that medicine is an art, not a science, and that medical practioners may make mistakes. A mistake is not automatically malpractice; it's only malpractice is the practioner was careless in some fashion, such as by disregarding symptoms the average reasonably well-trained practioner would have paid attention to, not running the proper tests, etc. If, on the other hand, she came to what was a reasonable conclusion, even if it turned out she was wrong, that  is not likely malpractice.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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