Can I sue our GP for failing to do a basic test, thus allowing my son to suffer for nearly 2 years?

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Can I sue our GP for failing to do a basic test, thus allowing my son to suffer for nearly 2 years?

My handicapped son has been admitted to the hospital, in awful pain, 3 times in the past year and a half. Our doctor said he had pancreatitis and said it was because I overfed him. After his terrible suffering, I opted-on my own-to go see a gastroenterologist. With a simple ultrasound which our GP never did he was diagnosed with gallstones. The gallbladder was removed and he is 100% better.

Asked on November 20, 2012 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Prior to filing a lawsuit against the GP, it may be possible to settle the case with that doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  Obtain your son's medical records from the first doctor, medical bills from both doctors and the medical report from the second doctor.  I assume that your son is a minor and therefore there won't be any wage loss claim.

Your son's malpractice claim filed with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier should include the above items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your son's illness/injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor.  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). 

If the case is settled with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, you will need to file the lawsuit on behalf of your son prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitatons or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter.  If your son is a minor, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on his behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit himself.


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