Doctors unable to diagnose hernia?
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)
I had a c-section in 1994. In 2002 I got in a car accident and had internal bleeding, my liver was lacerated and I got a hematoma. After I got out of the hospital I experienced abdominal pain really bad for years. I went to different doctors, gastro-intestinal and OBGYNs, and they all said the pain was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
I've been taking a lot of medications for IBS but they never worked for me, so they started giving me pain medications which ended up giving me an ulcer. I then got an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and started taking new medications, but they were also no help.
All these years up until now I've been going to the emergency room like once a month, just to find out what's wrong with me. My abdomen is always bloated and people ask me if I'm pregnant, even though I'm very tiny. I was always depressed.
So finally I decided to go to a general surgeon just to get his opinion. He found I have a hernia and "diastasis recti", and for all these years the doctors couldn't find it and had me taking wrong medications. So now I'm wondering if I have a case.
Can I sue for all the abdominal pain and suffering I've had over the years since these doctors were unable to diagnose my real problem? How about the ulcer caused by the pain meds? Thanks for any information.
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ANSWER for "Doctors unable to diagnose hernia?":
Laila (Philadelphia, PA, USA):
Technically you may have a medical malpractice claim against one or more of the physicians who misdiagnosed your injury. The statute of limitations for personal injury medical malpractice claims in the State of Pennsylvania is 2 years. This means if you haven't settled your personal injury claim or filed a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of your injury you will be barred from legal action.
There are some exceptions to the statute. They apply when the injured person wasn't able to reasonably discover the injury within the 2 year allotted period. You may fall under that exception.
All medical malpractice claims should be handled by an experienced malpractice personal injury attorney. Do not try and represent yourself. You won't get very far. Physicians are loathe to admit malpractice and their insurance companies will fight ferociously for them.
To succeed in your claim, your attorney will have to file a lawsuit and conduct pretrial discovery, including taking the depositions of the physicians, subpoenaing medical records, and more.
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,
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