Can I sue for medical malpractice if I was given charity?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Can I sue for medical malpractice if I was given charity?

I had surgery. At the time I didn’t have health insurance. Luckily the hospital gave me charity. During the operation the anesthesia wore off about 6 times and I could feel everything. I was never put under and I was awake the entire time. Can I sue for pain and suffering? I have nightmares about this. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Baltimore County, MD.

Asked on July 28, 2011 Maryland


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit for negligence (medical malpractice).  The fact that you received charity is irrelevant.  Your lawsuit for negligence would be against the hospital and anesthesiologist.  Since you are still having nightmares, it would be advisable to document this by seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist and obtaining that medical report in addition to the medical report and medical bill from the hospital/doctor.  You also want to document any wage loss.  Compensation for medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.

It would be advisable to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers for the hospital/anesthesiologist, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

Medical malpractice is based on negligence.  Negligence is failing to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital/ anesthesiologist would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  The standard of care for the anesthesiologist is that degree of care that a reasonable anesthesiologist in the same community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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