What are my rights regarding malpractice committed on my child and that landed her in emergency surgery?

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What are my rights regarding malpractice committed on my child and that landed her in emergency surgery?

I had 3 kids go into surgery to have their tonsils and adenoids removed. However, my youngest (3 then, 4 now) also had to have tubes put in her ears but the doctor missed coterizing a spot and she was slowly bleeding. It started pouring blood out of her nose down, her throat and out of her ears; she was bleeding to death. We had to call 911. She went back to the hospital and the ER wouldn’t at first send her back up to the O.R. When she then threw up blood all over me, she was rushed into emergency surgery and a different doctor fix the damage. She ended up needing a blood transfusion and stayed in the hospital for a couple of days because she lost so much blood. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on February 24, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that it was careless that the doctor missed cauterizing a spot--that is, that's not the sort of tricky thing that any reasonable or good doctor could miss--then this would be malpractice. (To oversimplify, the law only imposes liability on doctors when they are unreasonably careless; it doesn't penalize them if they did everything normally expected of a doctor, with the normal degree of competency, but something bad still happened.)
However, even if this malpractice, the question becomes whether it is worthwhile taking legal action. Malpractice suits can be expensive: besides a lawyer (strongly recommended), you *must* hire a medical expert (e.g. a doctor) to give a report and testify, and that can cost thousands of dollars. And winning is not guaranteed: you can spend money on the suit and lose. However, you can only recover compensation equivalent to the additional medical costs caused by the malpractice and  if there is some disability, disfigurement, life impairment etc. lasting many weeks, or months, or longer, some amount for pain and suffering.
If, as we hope, your daugher it ok, so you "only" have your out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance, Medicaid, etc.) costs for the hospital stay, unless that runs to tens of thousands of dollars, it's unlikely to be economically worthwhile to bring a malpractice action.


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