What to do if a urologist left a stitch inside me after bladder suspension surgery performed about 16 years ago?

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What to do if a urologist left a stitch inside me after bladder suspension surgery performed about 16 years ago?

The stitch was discovered years later on routine cystoscopy. Recently, on 3 occassions, I have been hospitalized for infections from painful masses possibly requiring surgery (I was even actually taken to the OR) and for drainage by tube insertion of the infected mass. Doctors now believe the infections and masses were caused by the stitch (foreign body) left in me. I have an appointment to have the stitch surgically removed in 2 weeks. After all the hospitalizations, pain and suffering caused, it was suggested by nurses who saw me in hospital that I should file a malpractice suit. Can I?

Asked on September 22, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Medical 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).

You will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the doctor prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations.  In MA, there is a seven year statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases; however, in the case of a foreign object in the body, the seven year statute of limitations does not begin to run until you discovered or should have discovered the presence of the foreign object.  In other words, if less than seven years have elapsed since you discovered or should have discovered the foreign object in your body, you can still file your lawsuit for negligence against the doctor.  If more than seven years have elapsed since you discovered or should have discovered the presence of the foreign object in your body, you have missed the statute of limitations and won't be able to file the lawsuit.

If the statute of limitations has not expired, you should file your lawsuit for negligence against the doctor as soon as possible.

You should obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Your claim filed with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier should include these items (medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss).  If the case is settled with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for neglgience against the doctor.  If the statute of limitations is approaching, file your lawsuit for negligence against the doctor regardless of the status of negotiations with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  If the case is NOT settled, you must file your lawsuit for negligence against the doctor prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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