Who is responsible for the medical bill in this case?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is responsible for the medical bill in this case?

My father under an unnecessary lithotripsy blasting of large kidney stones recently, he was placed under full anesthesia and intubated. He was told afterwards by the urologist that the X-ray films were either mixed up with another patient or films were dirty and the ‘dirt’ made it look like he had kidney stones. He had no stones once they got a camera in his kidneys/ureters to look around. I do not wish to start trouble, however I will be quite upset if he is sent a bill for a procedure he should have never had due to an error by the radiologist.

Asked on November 19, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Delaware


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the misdiagnosis was carelessly made, as appears may be the case, the physician who made the misdiagnosis would be liable for any costs resulting thereof. However, if that physician will not voluntarily pay them, you would have to sue him for malpractice, which can be expensive, since you'd have to hire another doctor to review the films and record and testify in court how and why this was careless (i.e. explain, based on his education, training, and experience why a careful doctor would not have made this mistake). A such a medical expert witness does not work cheap, and you can not recover the cost of the witness from the other side; each party in litigation bears its own attorney and witness costs. So you could spend anywhere from a large percentage of what you are hoping to get back to more than you hope to get back on the case.

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