Medical Malpractice/Surgery Complications
Thank you for reading my question. I had a parastomal hernia repaired on Sept. 24th and the doctor neglected to put a drainage tube in. I've had two other abdominal surgeries, and they've always put in a drainage tube. About ten days after the surgery, What I thought was blood started seeping from the incision. I went to see the doc and he took one look at my abdomen and proclaimed "ahh, shoulda put a drainage tube in" He then opened the area up and packed it with gauze sending me home to change the dressing myself (without showing me how) for the next three days. I then had an appt. at a wound clinic to have a wound vac applied. I have been wearing this wound vac ever since and it's not healing correctly. The wound nurses are concerned. When I asked my doc what we might do, he waved a hand saying "the wound gets smaller the longer you wear it, no problem" But, the nurses measure and take pics of the wound 3 times a week and it's not getting better. What type of case, if any, might I have against this lackadaisical doctor??
If there were a "case" against the doctor, it would of course be for medical malpractice/negligence which means that what he did or did not do FELL BELOW THE STANDARD OF CARE. That essentially means that other surgeons looking at your case would say something like "what the heck was the doctor thinking??? The standard of care requires a drain to be used in all such cases. Failure to use a drain is negligence and that negligence is the direct cause of Cindy's damages".
Let's say the we could find surgeons to say something like that. Of course to do this, your lawyer who has tentatively accepted the case has already spent about $5,000 out of his/her pocket. You file and serve the lawsuit. Add another $1,000. First thing, defendant doctors insurance company hires a very strong law firm to defendant the case. They hire their own experts who are sure to say that "no, a drain is not always required and although it might have prevented some of Cindy's problems, it was WITHIN THE STANDARD OF CARE TO NOT USE ONE. IT WAS A MATTER OF REASONABLE MEDICAL JUDGMENT BY THE SURGEON". You lawyer must take the depositions of those doctors. Add another $5,000 in costs. The case drags on for many months. Defendant surgeon will not agree to settle. Why should he? His insurance company will cover any verdict against him. He doesn't think he did anything wrong although sorry about your complications. If you get within 90 days of trial add another $5,000 and hundreds of hours of attorney time. If it goes to trial, add another $10,000 in costs your lawyer has to pay out. And what does your lawyer get in return. A small chance of getting a percentage of what you get. Probably a 70% chance you will get nothing and the lawyer not only loses a ton of money but months and months of work. So Cindy, you can see, no lawyer in his/her right mind would take on the case unless the negligence was very very solid and your damages were at least 500K or more. Not worth the risk otherwise. Thousands of these cases like yours fall thru the cracks and never get to first base for precisely these reasons. In your case, you would need something very very severe to happen. Complete failure of healing, no chance of healing, major surgery or death. Something like that to make the case worth pursuing and of course we wouldn't want to see that. The defense will also say that even if you had a drain, you still might have had the healing issue. Go try to prove otherwise. Almost impossible. So, get real good medical help and hopefully things will improve and you will get back 100%. Hope so. Good luck.