Do I have a medical malpractice case?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have a medical malpractice case?

I had gastric bypass surgery 15 months ago. About 18 month later I occurred an ulcer where my intestines met to my stomach. My surgeon felt that it needed to be removed so he scheduled an appointment to remove it immediately seven days after the surgery to remove the ulcer an infection started and I went beck to the surgeon to have the infection drained. A few days after that I received a letter stating that the hospital knew that there was an infection in the hospital and they apologized. A few days after that i received a letter from my insurance

agency telling me that they were gonna refuse to cover the procedure because they felt it was malpractice. Do I have a case?

Asked on July 12, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There are three hurdles to having a viable malpractice case.
First, you have to show causality: that some act or omission by the medical care provider harmed you. It's not enough that it *might* have harmed or your logically could have--you actually have to have evidence (e.g. medical tests, or the opinion of a medical expert) that shows that the act or omission did in fact cause you harm. Here, you'd have to show that the infection "in the hospital" is the one that you got.
Second, you have to show negligence, or unreasonable carelessness based on what was known *at the time* (not after the fact). So you'd have to show that it negligent to perform a procedure on you then, based on what they then knew, and/or that their sanitary, etc. precautions were inadequate.
Third, the case must have worthwhile "damages," or compensation available. You can only receive compensation for your additional medical costs caused by the infection, any wages lost due to it, and, if you suffered at least weeks, if not months (or longer) of life impairment and disability, some amount for pain and suffering. If you incurred little in the way of additional medical expenses, did not loose much income, and did not have weeks or more of impairment, it's not worth even contemplating a malpractice suit--malpractice suits are expensive due to the need for medical expert testimony and medical tests, so unless it's a large case, you could spend more on the case than you'd win. 

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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