Do I have grounds for a medical malpractice law suit?

by Sally
(California)

I have a question about filing a medical malpractice law suit...

On August 22, 2010 I had a C section. Soon after I noticed heavy bleeding that would not stop. I thought it had been a while, so I called my doctor. The doctor mentioned 6 weeks, so I stopped worrying. Approximately one month after the initial call to my doctor I hemorrhaged (September, 17 2010). It was the same sensation as I had when my water broke, only there was blood.

I drove myself to the Emergency Room and told them I was hemorrhaging and I may need a blood transfusion. The ER did blood tests and pelvic exams. When I left the ER, we scheduled a pelvic ultrasound and my OB/GYN found placenta left in the uterus. I was diagnosed with postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the placenta had attached itself to my uterine wall, causing the hemorrhage. Surgery was scheduled WEEKS later.

The OB/GYN cut the piece out, damaging my uterus and resulting in a gaping hole. I was put under general anesthesia. When I woke up it was extremely hard to breathe. I had tachycardia and my pulse/blood pressure were elevated. I saw a huge bandage on my abdomen and bloody liquid coming out of it. There was also water left in my body cavity. I had lots of pain and nausea.

Is anybody liable for what happened to me? Are there grounds for a medical malpractice law suit or is there anything I can do to get compensated for this? Thanks for any advice you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Do I have grounds for a medical malpractice law suit?":

Sally:

It sounds as if you have gone through a very difficult time. We all place our lives literally in the hands of physicians and hospitals and should expect to be healed by their actions and not hurt. From the facts you present it appears someone may be liable for all you have suffered, and all you have had to pay for your troubles.

When a person is admitted to a hospital, whether self-admitted, by emergency, or admission by physician, a fiduciary relationship is created between the patient and the hospital, its physicians, nurses, orderlies, other employees (whether full-time or part-time), and even sub-contractors like food vendors, parking lot management, and more.

You may be familiar with the term “Fiduciary”. But for those who are not a Fiduciary is an individual or entity, or both in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect their health, welfare, property or money.

The relationship is one wherein the Fiduciary has an obligation and a duty to act in a manner which will at a minimum protect the person who has entrusted their well-being into their care. The duty or obligation is referred to as a “Fiduciary Duty”.

When you placed yourself literally in the hands of the physicians and the hospitals an agreement was formed. Part of the agreement was that you were hiring the physician, the hospital and those who were directly and even indirectly responsible to provide medical care to you. Thus a fiduciary relationship and duty was created.

The courts have always held the fiduciary relationships between doctors and their patients to be of the highest order. The courts have done this because of the more serious consequences which may occur if the fiduciary relationship between an individual and their doctor is broken.

In your case, and from the limited facts you present it would appear at least one, if not more physicians may have broken their fiduciary relationship with you by omission or commission of actions which injured you.

Additionally, the hospitals broke their fiduciary duty to you as they allowed the physicians who injured you to practice out of their hospital. Almost all qualified and reputable attorneys will not charge you to sit in their office for an initial consultation. They will be able to advise you specifically about your legal rights.

Because the state of Wisconsin has specific time limitations regarding the filing of lawsuits against different entities or persons, it would be in your best interest to seek counsel immediately, or as soon as is reasonably possible. There are times when representing oneself is altogether appropriate. And there are times when it is not. This is one of those times when it is not.

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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