Delayed prolong care

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Delayed prolong care

My husband has stage 4 esophagus cancer.He was hospitalized June 30th for starvation and double pneumonia.I kept telling his cancer doctor 4 weeks prior to his hospitalization my husband wasn’t eating he had continuing cough vomiting diarrhea,and he was seeing the cancer dr. weekly they listen to his lungs and said his lungs were clear when in fact they weren’t He had gone 16 days without eating and when he finally was admitted to the hospital and he had double pneumonia and was in starvation period 3-4 days after admission his cancer doctor came to see him at the hospital and she told my husband they had a shake down at her office and they were changing their policies because of my husband for the better. Why would she say that to him? And my husband was admitted on a Friday in patient and he was not under no doctor care for 2 days. This sounds like delayed/inadequate care. Is there a possible case here?

Asked on September 28, 2017 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are two components to a viable malpractice case. The first is liability, or some medical wrongdoing. If the doctor did not take the symptoms, complaints, etc. seriously enough and delayed care when a reasonable doctor would not have done that, that may be malpractice and lead to liability.
But the second component is "damages," or the costs and harm caused. Even when someone did something wrong, the law only provides compensation for the actual injuries or costs thereby caused or inflicted. If your husband's medical bills have been mostly (or better yet, entirely) covered by some combination of private insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid, and he comes out of this (we hope) little worse for the wear, then the several weeks of physical suffering he unnecessarily experienced may not economically justify the cost of a malpractice lawsuit: malpractice suits are very expensive, because you need to hire doctors to testify and run tests to support the suit, and such doctors do not work cheap; and at the same time, the amount of money you'd get for several weeks of discomfort, pain, or even unnecessary hospitalizatinon is comparatively modest.
(Of course, if have large out-of-pocket medical bills or this caused some lasting or serious harm to your husband, that would be a different story.)
It would be worthwhile consulting with a malpractice attorney: many provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case, and you can confirm that before making the appointment. Just be prepared that if, no matter how unpleasant this was, you and your husband came out of it essentially ok medically (no worse than he'd have been otherwise) and financially, there may be no point to legal action.


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