What can we do regarding gross negligence by a doctor that resulted in my son having to have 3 surgeries on his finger?

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What can we do regarding gross negligence by a doctor that resulted in my son having to have 3 surgeries on his finger?

We went in for a broken finger and the doctor insisted it was simply sprained. Unable to explain how it looked, inconsistent with a mere sprain, she insisted he had blood or puss under the nail. She punctured my 14 year-old son’s fingernail to drain it, when there was nothing to drain and I vocally told her so, and in her doing this, she introduced a bone-eating bacteria. He almost lost his finger. He’s been through 3 surgeries. The specialists are dumbfounded that she would do this. That is not even proper procedure (top of nail, which she did by sterilizing a need, with a co-worker’s lighter versus doing it with a properly sterilized needle).

Asked on December 23, 2015 under Malpractice Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 5 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).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the doctor, it may be possible to settle the case with her malpractice insurance carrier.  Obtain the name, address, and telephone number of the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  Notify the malpractice insurance carrier in writing that you will be filing a claim on behalf of your son.
When your son completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctors or is declared by the doctors to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in his medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain his medical bills and medical reports including the reports from the specialists.  Your son's claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injury/illness and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
If the case is settled with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the doctor.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your son because he is a minor.
If the case is NOT settled with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, the lawsuit on behalf of your son for negligence against the doctor must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter. 


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