What to do if my dad was at a rehab/nursing home for about a year and at some point his original feeding tube was replaced with a catheter?

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What to do if my dad was at a rehab/nursing home for about a year and at some point his original feeding tube was replaced with a catheter?

Before he was released, the rehab nurses showed the family how to feed him through the catheter. A few days after he was home, we took him to his private doctor who informed us that a catheter shouldn’t have been placed in his stomach and have him go to the ER to remove it and put in the correct instrument. Is this a case of malpractice by the rehab center?

Asked on May 23, 2015 under Malpractice Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely malpractice from what you write, but the real question is whether it is actually worthwhile to bring a legal action. You can only recover for actual costs or injuries, so if (as we hope) your father was not actually injured by this, all you could recover is your out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance or Medicare) cost of the removal and replacement of the tube. However, malpractice actions are very expensive to bring: you need a medical expert witness, whom you'll have to pay (at a cost of several hundren to several thousand dollars) and effectively need to pay a lawyer, too (non-lawyers should not try to bring complicated cases, like malpractice, by themselves--and in any even, you could not represent your father unless you are an attorney, so either he'd have to represent himself or he'd need to hire a lawyer). Therefore, you could easily spend more money on the case then you'd get back.


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