Visitor Question

Can I file malpractice or an official complaint against the hospital?

Submitted By: Linda (Virginia)

I was a patient at the hospital for Special Surgery and had a serious operation. In the Recovery Room afterwards I had terrible treatment, nurses ignored me, one male nurse was threatening (I complained about him), and I was in terrible pain for 10-12 hours before I was allowed out of the Recovery Room.

I expected so much more from a hospital with such a good reputation. It was the worse experience I ever had in a hospital. I am a 72 year old woman in good health. Can I sue them for malpractice? If not, is there anywhere I can file an official complaint against them?

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 Linda,

Unfortunately, rudeness, even extreme rudeness is not compensable. Your experience was quite understandably unnecessary.

Anyone who has gone through surgery can empathize with you. The feeling of helplessness after surgery can be overwhelming. Adding callous behavior from nurses and other hospital attendants can make a hospital stay unbearable. There is no reason for rudeness, especially at your age. As a patient you are owed special care, above a person whose medical problems are not as serious.

From the facts you present there doesn’t seem to be any grounds for medical malpractice against the hospital, doctors, or nurses. To have the basis of a malpractice claim you would have to be able to prove not only that you received inappropriate care, but the inappropriate medical care resulted in an injury.

You are certainly well within your rights to file a formal complaint against the hospital. There is a process for doing so. Go to the Virginia Department of Health’s complaint page.

If you would like to file a complaint over the telephone you can call the The Virginia Department of Health’s Toll Free free number at: 1-800-955-1819. In the Metro Richmond area you can call: (804) 367-2106.

Learn more here: Hospital Error

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!


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One comment on “Can I file malpractice or an official complaint against the hospital?

  1. Rita says:

    On January 6, 2016 I was admitted to Mease Countryside Hospital to undergo treatment for kidney stones. I have stones on both my right and left kidney. My right kidney has been extremely painful. After arriving at hospital for pre- op I was informed by the pro-op nurse that Dr. Richman would be removing my left stones. I questioned the nurse and asked why the Doctor was not removing the right stones (because of the the severe pain I was experiencing on my right side). He did not have an answer for me! I then told him I would like to speak with the doctor prior to my surgery and question him as to why he was not doing the procedure on my right side first. My surgery was scheduled for 12:30 pm that day but I was not taken at the scheduled time because a problem arose with the patient before me and it had taken the doctor longer than expected before getting to my procedure.. to say the least I never did get to see my doctor pre-op or post-op; My daughter was with me the day of my surgery and while driving home she asked what was wrong with my voice. It was abnormal and high pitched. I figured it would go away after a few days but unfortunately my condition is the same.

    I have difficulties when speaking. While talking I have to repeat myself, sometimes losing my voice completely. It’s been very frustrating for me to carry on a conversation. I did follow up seeing 4 ENT’s specialist since my surgery and was told I had a bruise on the left flap of my vocal cord and that the muscles were swollen. I have undergone speech therapy and my voice has not changed. I have many unanswered questions as to what happened in the operating room while under general anesthesia. Some of my questions are……was the operating room staff in a rush during my procedure because the doctor was behind on schedule (resulting in damaging my larynx…….Did the anesthesiologist use a large tube when he inserted it. If my glands were swollen why would he continue on with the procedure. Was I moved while under anesthesia….Was the doctor in a rush to get onto his next patient, did the doctor have to large of a caseload while preforming surgery was (while my daughter was waiting for a long period of time she went to the desk and asked why it was taking so long, the secretary’s response was that Dr. Richman had a large caseload…..she showed my daughter the clipboard of patients scheduled that day and my daughter said it was a long list)

    It has been over 2 years since my surgery and my statute of limitations has expired. I have contacted numerous lawyers over the past 2 years and all of them agreed that I did have a case and to continue searching for a firm that would take on my case. I was unsuccessful in finding a firm. The reason being was the cost involved. I was also told not to give up! Since I have gone past the time limit I would like to know if I go after the hospital? I was told I have 6 years to do so. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Please do not post this message for public use.

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