What to do about a possible malpractice case?

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What to do about a possible malpractice case?

About 5 months ago, my husband’s 68 year old father went to the hospital with pain in his chest. This was the 2nd time he had gone there. After he was checked into the emergency he was in his cubical. The nurse went back to see him and he was dead. The hospital claimed the nurse only left him for a minute to get a doctor and they could not revive him. My husband has had no closure in this matter and I don’t know if we should pursue anything legal.

Asked on April 9, 2013 under Malpractice Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father-in-law.

Based on what the hospital is claiming, it may be difficult to prove malpractice in this case.  Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

It would be advisable to have your father-in-law's medical records reviewed by a doctor not affiliated with that hospital.  If that doctor writes a report supporting a malpractice claim, proceed with the case.  If the doctor writes a report supporting a finding of malpractice, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.  If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If your husband is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.


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