What are our rights if my daughter suffered permanent disfigurement of her thumb due to it being bandaged to tightly?

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What are our rights if my daughter suffered permanent disfigurement of her thumb due to it being bandaged to tightly?

We went to the emergency room because my daughter’s thumb was swollen and had infection along the edge. The doctor lanced, drained, and packed it and directed the nurse to bandage it. She used some type of cap bandage device which cut off the circulation to my daughter’s thumb. My daughter kept telling her that it was too tight but the nurse denied it and ignored her requests to remove it. She said it felt like that because the numbness of the anesthesia was wearing off. My daughter’s thumb subsequently turned black and almost had to be amputated 2 days later. It is very deformed now and is on her dominant hand.

Asked on July 21, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Prior to filing a lawsuit against the doctor and hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for the doctor and hospital.  Obtain your daughter's medical bills and medical reports.  I assume that your daughter is a minor and there isn't any wage loss claim.  Your daughter's claim filed with both insurance carriers (doctor and hospital) should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your daughter's injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with both the insurance carriers for the doctor and hospital, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with one but not both parties, only name the party with whom the case did not settle as a defendant in your lawsuit for negligence.  If the case did not settle with either party, then both parties (doctor and hospital) should be named as defendants in your lawsuit.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, reject the settlement offers and file the lawsuit for negligence.  If your daughter is a minor, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on her behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit herself.  If the case is NOT settled with both defendants, the lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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