What should we do regarding an undiagnosed hernia now causing a fatal liver problem?

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What should we do regarding an undiagnosed hernia now causing a fatal liver problem?

My mother-in-law was just diagnosed with a ventral hernia, however, it has been there for approximately 3 years undiagnosed. For years we have been asking doctors why she looks pregnant. She’s has seen a lot of doctors that never diagnosed it. The hernia is so bad that it is now pressing her liver into her rib cage which is cutting off the blood supply to the liver. She has emphysema so cannot be operated on We were told to get hospice because there is nothing that can be done. We feel that if she had been diagnosed properly 3 years ago she could have had surgery before her lungs had progressively gotten worse. Should we consult with a medical malpractice attorney? We’re in King County, WA.

Asked on November 12, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Definitely consult with a malpractice attorney. Malpractice (which means "bad practice") is medical care that does not rise to generally accepted standards of care. When that happens, the providers may be liable for medical costs, pain and suffering, etc. Failing to diagnose a hernia could easily be malpractice, if the averge doctor *should* have spotted the problem. It would be well worth it to spend the time to consult in detail about this situation, to explore her rights and potential recourse.


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