Visitor Question

Should I stop seeing the doctor(s) who were responsible?

Submitted By: Robert (Redwood City, CA)

I was prescribed 3 concurrent medications (2 from one doctor and 1 from another) that resulted in causing me Serotonin Syndrome (Cymbalta 60mg daily, Trazadone 300mg daily, Zofran 24mg daily). These drugs were prescribed for daily use during 2012 and 2013.

In spite of my complaints regarding my symptoms to the prescribing doctors and exhaustive testing, I remained undiagnosed. The diagnosis of Serotonin Syndrome was eventually made on 12/26/2013 in the Emergency Room. I was discharged from the hospital on 1/03/13. I was told to follow up with my doctors, but I think they are guilty of malpractice for not diagnosing my illness and continuing to prescribe me the same medication.

Should I see the same doctors that caused the problem? How would I get transferred to different doctors? Also, how can I confirm if this does qualify as a legitimate malpractice case? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Robert,

If you have lost confidence in your previous doctors, you probably should seek out new doctors. Serotonin syndrome is defined as, “a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that may occur following therapeutic drug use, inadvertent interactions between drugs, overdose of particular drugs, or the recreational use of certain drugs.”

You may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim. Whether the claim will be worth pursuing will depend on two important factors:

First: Your “damages” must be substantial enough to support a claim. Damages can include medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, hospital parking fees, etc., lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

Second: You will have to prove the legal basis of a claim. Medical malpractice is generally defined as undue harm or injury suffered by a victim, resulting from the treating doctor’s deviation from the medical standard of care established in the medical community. This means you will have to prove your previous doctors’ actions were a deviation downward from established medical procedures and treatment in your area.

Because of the complexity of malpractice claims, victims must be represented by attorneys. It is rare for a doctor to admit he or she committed malpractice. As a result, you can be quite confident a lawsuit will have to be filed, depositions taken, expert medical witnesses hired, and more.

You would be best served by seeking advice from several personal injury attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most reputable attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Gather your medical records, medical bills, receipts, diagnostic tests, etc., and seek out several attorneys. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking legal advice.

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

Best of luck,

Published: January 7, 2014

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