Should we pursue a case of possible malpractice case?

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Should we pursue a case of possible malpractice case?

My mother passed away a couple of springs ago. A couple of months before that she went to the ER with complaints of chest pain and irregular heart beat, as well as foot problems caused by diabetes. They addressed the diabetes problem but failed to do and test not even EKG. She ended up passing away due to atherosclerosis. She was a smoker and had diabetes so plaque build up would be expected but it could’ve been caught. Should my family and I pursue this case?

Asked on October 22, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations, or time within which you must file any lawsuit based on malpractice, is only two years from the time of malpractice in your state. If more than two years have gone by it is most likely too late to sue. Even if it is not too late:
1) You would have to prove with medical expert testimony that not doing certain tests (e.g. an EKG) would be considered negligent or unprofessionally careless under the circumstances--that is, that when faced with the symptoms, information, etc. your mother had or provided, any reasonable medical care provider or doctor would have done those tests. If it was, on the other hand, reasonable to not do them, there is no liability: they did nothing wrong.
2) In addition, you would have to prove by medical expert testimony that the failure to test caused or contributed in some material way to when your mother died--I.e. that had the tests been done, your mother"s life could have been prolonged. If she would have, given her health and conditions likely died the same time anyway, there is no liability, since the failure to test did not accelerAte or lead to her death.


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