Medical Malpractice/Medical Malpractice
Hello Mr. Dorfman,
I have been diagnosed with gallstones and was told that my gallbladder has to come out, all while in the emergency room in my local hospital, state of MD, in June of 2014. Surgeon told me he has done thousands of these surgeries and it should be an easy one. Gallbladder came out (or so I was told and everybody thought). He did it laparoscopically. The main symptom that caused me to go to the emergency room in the first place subsided for some time, but I still had other gastro issues going on and was under the care of a gastroenterologist. Starting this year my main symptom returned and I got new pain in the liver area. Few months ago my gastroenterologist ordered MRCP of the liver/gallbladder area. She determined that I have a stone in my biliary duct and ordered ERCP in the same hospital where I had the surgery done. When I was all ready and hooked up to the IV for the procedure, doctor that was supposed to do it came over and told me that after he reviewed MRCP and consulted with head radiologist that my biliary duct is fine and that I still have a part of gallbladder with stones in place. He told me that the "clip" that supposed to be placed on the duct coming out of the gallbladder is nowhere near where it supposed to be. He said I need another surgery to remove the rest of my gallbladder and that this time it'll probably be an open surgery and it should be done in the university. Now I'm waiting for pre-surgery consultation with a surgeon they referred me to in the university. Do I have a case here? Do I need an attorney or can I file a claim by myself? One attorney office I called told me to wait until I see that surgeon at the university, but can I really wait? I've been unable to work for the whole summer, I'm about to loose my apartment, car, job and unable to feed my family, I was the only one working. Thank you very much for your time and help.
Firstly, there is no way you could start a medical malpractice case on your own. Most lawyers wouldn't get near one because the doctors always defend to the hilt and the plaintiff's lawyer would need to expend 10s of thousands for experts and other costs and hundreds of hours and never with better that a 50/50 chance of winning ANYTHING. Med mal is a very difficult area. You need experts on your side to say your surgeon really screwed up and should have known better. The defense would be that although things didn't turn out as well as hoped for, everything he did was WITHIN THE STANDARD OF CARE and that he used REASONABLE MEDICAL JUDGMENT in the surgery. Also, because of the cost and effort involved no lawyer would take a case unless the damages were at least well into the 6 figures. Just not worth it otherwise. And even if you did have such a case, it would takes at least a year or years to hope to see any results. so you if have find financial assistance from some other source.
The STatute of Limitations in PA is TWO YEARS. So I would give you the same answer: wait to see how you do following the next surgery. If you have a good result and don't have any permanent injury as a result of negligence in the first surgery, then there are insufficient damages and no case. This is the result you want. If however the second surgery has a bad result that cannot be repaired and the first surgeon injured you for life, and it is well in advance of the two years running out (starts to run when you "knew or should have discovered" that you were injured by negligent medical care), then a lawyer might get interest. Lots of cases like yours just fall thru the cracks because even if there was malpractice, the damages must be severe. good luck