Neglect and mismanagement of severe pain related to ovarian cyst...

by Lisa
(Tracy, CA, USA)

I went to my local ER with intense pelvic and lower back pain. My pain was an 8-9 out of 10, and I have never been to an ER for pain management. I am not a "frequent flyer." After an evaluation by an RN, then the MD, I was to receive some fentanyl IVP for relief of my increasing pain level. It was 3 hours later and 3 RN's coming in and out of my room with a variety of excuses before I received my first dose.

By then I was moaning, crying, and writhing in physical and mental anguish. I then went off for a US which showed bilateral ovarian cysts, one being 6.5 cm in diameter, "impressive" per the US tech. Pain was returning by the end of the US and I was sent back to my room, left alone with my husband with rising pain levels again and not one RN entered my room for another 45 minutes. By now I was a 10-10 again on the pain scale.

The MD finally walked in again, 5 hours after his first evaluation, surprised I was still in pain since the US results only showed 2 cysts with neither twisting, so therefore no eminent harm happening. He explained his treatment plan to include a dose of dilaudid and discharge home, and to further evaluate with my PCP the next day and return to ER if pain increases.

I questioned the discharge plan since my pain levels were nowhere near acceptable or well controlled, hence not stable, but was discharged anyway within the hour, with the MD stating he would "feel really bad if my pain lead me to return to the ER."

I was at home for 2 hours with pain levels now beyond comprehension, becoming out of control with pain, barely able to walk, moaning, screaming and writhing in agony. My husband drove me back to the ER where I was quickly placed in a triage room then bedded for further eval with pain management. I was begging and pleading with the RN/staff not to leave me alone and to "help me please" over and over again.

I was eventually admitted and later that evening had surgery for what turned out to be the large cyst/ovary twisting back behind my uterus. My question is this... was my pain and suffering in excess, and was the staff/MD at fault for failing to treat me fully and delaying proper diagnosis? Were they negligent in sending me home, only to worsen my condition and cause undo stress and mental anguish? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Neglect and mismanagement of severe pain related to ovarian cyst...":

Lisa (Tracy, CA, USA):

While the amount of pain and discomfort you may have needlessly suffered may have been unbearable, it appears at the most, you may have needlessly suffered that pain for no more than 24 hours. That factor alone might diminish any medical malpractice claim you might bring.

Moreover, to prove malpractice occurred you will have to prove the actions (or omissions) of the hospital, doctors, and nursing staff fell below the medical standard of care practiced by other medical providers in the community.

Under the circumstances, to have the basis of a medical malpractice case you will need to prove the failure of the hospital, doctor, and/or nursing staff was more than subjectively inappropriate, but objectively determined to be inappropriate by another hospital, doctor, or nursing staff in the local community. To do so takes evidence.

This means you will need an attorney. Only an attorney can get the medical experts required to prove the hospital, doctors, or nursing staff committed malpractice.

Additionally, you will have to be able to convince a jury that the limited amount of time you needlessly suffered is worth a substantial amount of compensation. Because of the relatively short period of time you suffered, that amount of compensation may be limited.

You can’t handle a medical malpractice case on your own. You will have to contend with pretrial hearings, depositions, and other litigation tools which will surely be used by the hospital, doctors, and nursing staff’s attorneys. Speak with several med mal attorneys in your area, they should offer a free initial consultation. See what they have to say.

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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