Visitor Question

Suffering from congestive heart failure, but wasn’t seen by a cardiologist?

Submitted By: Cathy (Fillmore, CA)

My mother died on 4/15/14 in our local hospital. She went to the ER with shortness of breath and was told she had congestive heart failure. It was a total shock to us. She was sent home the next morning. She returned the next evening, again with shortness of breath.

She was in the hospital 6 days and never saw a cardiologist. They just sat on her status, and then she was sent to the ICU for 2 more days following a severe drop in her heart rate, and still no cardiologist.

They were trying to transfer her to another hospital to have an aortic valve replacement surgery and we felt like we were getting the run around. She was finally transferred at 11 pm on the 14th and she died at 5:30am the next morning. When we arrived, a minister took my sister aside and told her we need to get a lawyer.

He said, “all the nurses in the ICU were saying something was not right with your mother’s care.”

Long story short, our family is torn apart and not talking, and I am the only one local (I lived with her). I just found out I only had 1 year to file a lawsuit. I thought it was 3 years. Needless to say, I’m devastated. I have been in a very deep depression this past year and could not bring myself to contact a lawyer until now.

I have contacted several lawyers and only 1 called me back and didn’t think I have a case… after only listening to me for 2 minutes?

Is there something I can file before I get a lawyer? Some way of getting something started before the statute of limitations runs out next week? I’m sure this is a dumb question, but I’m desperate. Thank you in advance for any light you can shed on this for me.

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 Cathy,

In the State of California, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed no later than three years after the date of injury, or one year after the victim (or victim’s legal representative) discovers, or through reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury – whichever occurs first.

The only way to “toll” the statute of limitations period is to file a lawsuit before the limitations period expires.

Don’t stop after contacting only three attorneys. Keep calling other attorneys until you find one who agrees to file a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations requirement is met. Then the lawsuit can take its time developing until such a time as the case is settled or won in court.

Learn more here: Hospital Wrongful Death Claims

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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