Catheter left inside premature baby...

by Ashley
(Raleigh, North Carolina)

My baby was born premature and has a piece of catheter stuck inside him. The doctor said he has no way of getting it out, and my son will have to go through surgery at another hospital in another state when he is 7 pounds. Undergoing the surgery can result in blood loss or death for my baby.

Can I sue for negligence because the doctor had a piece of catheter stuck inside him, and now he has to go through a surgery that he should not have to go through? Is there anything I can do about this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Catheter left inside premature baby...":

Ashley (Raleigh, North Carolina):

You may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and the hospital where your baby was born. Let's take a look at the law as it relates to medical malpractice in the State of North Carolina...

When receiving their medical license doctors take a Hippocratic Oath. The oath requires doctors to "Do no harm" to their patients. In addition, the common law in North Carolina requires doctors to dispense medical care in accordance with the medical standard of other doctors in the community. When a doctor deviates downward from the medical standard of care and as a result, a patient is injured, the doctor, and possibly the hospital wherein the doctor provided the care, may be liable for the damage caused to a patient.

While hospitals aren't always liable for the negligence of the doctors they permit to practice in their hospital, there are occasions when the hospital may share in medical negligence. In your daughter's case the hospital may share liability if the hospital administrators were aware the doctor had a history of medical negligence, or there existed collateral evidence the hospital should have been aware of.

All this assumes the doctor was primarily negligent.

There isn't a checklist you can refer to when trying to determine if your doctor acted negligently. It will take an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review the facts of the case and decide if there exists a legal basis to go ahead with your son's injury claim.

The best interest of your son would be served by consulting with several medical malpractice attorneys in your area. Bring with you your son's medical records, diagnostic test results, and any other documents related to his delivery.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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