Who's liable for my numerous inpatient stays for infections?

by Linda
(Blackduck, MN)

On March 21, 2014 I had outpatient surgery for release of right trigger finger. One month later 4/21/14 I suffered a severe infection of my hand which required 3 days of hospitalization, excision and drainage of right hand, and massive doses of antibiotics.

On 5/6/14, I went into sepsis and ended up in ICU for another inpatient stay of 3 days...with more massive doses of antibiotics. On 6/13/14 I had another I & D for another severe infection of my right hand. I had several visits to ER, and C. difficile infection was found. On 6/19/14, I was admitted again for another inpatient stay for 2 days...diagnosis C diff.

I like my surgeon who did a reverse total shoulder replacement on 9/6/13, and I was pain free since 6 days post op. Do I have to come with a suit against him for this, or can I bring a suit against the hospital, or another entity?

Currently I have a contracture of my right ring finger which interferes with basic daily activities, and I also developed numbness in my pointer, middle finger and ring finger. I have mounds of hospital bills coming in. Can I talk to the billing dept at the hospital to see if some of them can be forgiven, or do I have to file suit?

Any perspective you can give for my situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Who's liable for my numerous inpatient stays for infections?":

Linda (Blackduck, MN):

While your hospitalization, infections, pain and discomfort is unfortunate, from the facts you present you have not offered proof that your pain and discomfort (and/or repeated visits to the hospital) were the result of medical malpractice.

Antibiotics normally stop infections from occurring or worsening. They do not work 100% of the time. Moreover, you did not state what activities you were involved in during your time away from the hospital. It is always possible your infections worsened as a direct result of an outside factor.

Absent proof that your injuries and repeated hospital stays were the direct and proximate result of medical negligence, you do not have the basis of a viable malpractice claim.

You can certainly speak with the hospital's billing department about forgiving some of your bills. They may or may not agree. Regardless, it does not appear you have the basis upon which to sue them to have them forgive those billings. Rather, you might want to talk with them about an extended payment plan.

Most hospitals try to cooperate and work with patients and their families when they are having difficulty paying the bills all at one time. The hospital will likely set up an installment plan for you and will not charge any interest.

Finally, if you believe you have substantial proof that medical malpractice occurred, you should speak with an experienced med mal attorney. Claims like yours should never be handled by the victim alone. Malpractice claims are hard fought by doctors and hospitals, and require filing a lawsuit, pretrial discovery, hearings 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,

Judge Calisi

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