Medical Malpractice/ERCP and EBSL

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Question
My mother had 1 or 2 ERCP done after removing her gallbadder. A temporary then permanent stent was put in between bile duct and small intestine. She could not speak due to previous stroke 8 yrs ago so we were by her side everyday to be her voice. During this time she contracted EBSL superbug and was quarantined and given some antibiotic. But she never really recovered from this procedure. It was a difficult 6 month battle for her. Pain, vomiting, jaundice. Some of her time was spent in rehab facilities but I believe her doctor should of been observing her more then his once a month visit (state required only 1 visit/mo for rehab patients).
From all the posts I've read on the internet I believe this ERCP procedure is risky and have heard of warning of these devices being contaminated and causing possible infections in patients. My mother passed away 1 day after her 87 bday.
Day of passing she was very jaundice then went into cardiac arrest. The ER doctor did mention she had a major infection going on...pus...and was shocked that she was under care at the time and her regular doctor did not know this infection was going on.
In fact her regular doctor was discharging her within the week. Of course he never came in to actually observe her since the state requirement are that the doctor is only required to visit rehab patient once a month, and that is what he did....no more.
Her caregiver stayed with her in rehab and documented the doctor came in late at night (after 11pm) to satisfy this 1 visit/mo.....but never did he reach out to the family for consultation.
My mother deserved better care.
Do we have any legal recourse? If anything we want this not to happen to anyone one else.

Karen

Answer
Karen:  Sorry about you losing your mother.  I will get right to the bottom line and give my answer (meaning other laywers might have a different answer) to your question re "legal recourse".  Standing alone as a medical malpractice case, absolutely not.  Even if there was a case to make that either the doctor, the hospital or the manufacturer of the scope was negligent somehow, your mother was quite elderly with a significant medical history and simply could not be expected to go on for many more years unofortunately. Typically people in the end stage of their lives like this do contract infections such as pneumonia or undergo invasive tests or surgery where they can be exposed to things like MERSA or EBSL and due to their already compromised immune systems, succumb to these infections.  She apparently had some difficult abodominal problems and the doctors had the choice of giving her pain medication and sending her home or, trying to see is something more aggressive could be done to ease her discomfort.  Again, any type of invasive procedure to someone like your mother would be risky due to infection, perforation of organs, etc. etc.  If she was 47 and not 87 some laywer might look at the case because the death of an otherwise healthy 47 year old is worth enough to pursue maybe.  Not so with an 87 year old disabled stroke victim.  If a med mal case is not worth well into the 6 figures, no lawyer would be interested.

The reason for that is that if the providers were sued, they would defend vigorously.  They would never admit and settle a case that implied that their negligence caused someone's death. A lawyer for you mother;s family would have to spend out of pocket many 10s of thousands of dollars and at best maybe have a 30% chance of winning anything or even getting the costs paid back.  Defense would be that they did everything appropriate to help here but she was in a very debilitated fragile state near the end of her life and since they can't do miracles, she slipped away due to no fault of their own.  Whether this is true or not, I can't say.  But again, even if their argument was not valid, her age and infirmity would dictate against the award of large enough damages to make the case viable.

Incidentally, in the news just this week has been a story about a SUPER BUG being transmitted to patients by a particular type of endoscope nothwithstanding proper sterilization.  This may not at all apply to your mom's case but do this:  go to google and search something like:

Endoscope Super Bug attorney/lawsuit
ERBC EBSL attorney/ lawsuit          and so on

To make the contact worthwhile you would need to have the medical records to be able to know exactly what type of scope was used, manufactured by whom, etc.

If there are any lawyer in the country interested in this area, you will find them.  At the least you should get some very educated legal outlook but at end of the day, your mom's age etc. will probably be the deciding factor.  Exception:  if by chance they used the particular scope that has been in the news and no doubt to be subject of litigation.  In that event, there might indeed be some recourse.  Hope this helps.

Medical Malpractice

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Glenn A. Dorfman

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Thirty-four years experience in personal injury, medical malpractice and medical product liability law. Qualified to answer all questions regarding injuries and the law, except for worker`s compensation. Also wide experience in medical product defect cases ie current litigation regarding the Johnson&Johnson (DePuy)defective hip implant cases and Mirena IUD issues

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Thirty-four years experience handling cases involving auto accidents, trips and fall, fires, dog bite,medical malpractice and defective medical product cases with particular emphasis in 2012 and beyond with the DePuy ASR (Johnson&Johnson) defective hip implant cases. Twenty-five years of experience with defective IUD issues as well

Education/Credentials
Jurisdoctor Degree 1976 and Member in good standing with CA State Bar Assoc. since 1976

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