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Old 05-19-08, 07:01 PM   #1
Mordred
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Medical Malpractice and You (To Sue or Not to Sue)

As a few of you might know/remember, my dad died about 18 months ago. If you read the end of that post you'll see that the cause of death turned out to be what the doctors called an "inverse reaction" to the drug heparin which caused massive clots to form (instead of keeping them from forming) which stopped his heart and killing him during a "routine" catherization. We were told this is extremely rare, but not unheard of and there wasn't anything they could do. We came away feeling that the doctor's did everything they could have in the situation.

A few months ago, reports came out that Baxter was recalling some of their Heparin due to contamination caused by Chinese manufacturers which were causing adverse events in patients, and, on rare occasion, death. My mom contacted a lawyer who had the hospital send over all the information which they then sent off to a doctor in Houston for review.

A few weeks later we got back information from the doctor in Houston telling us that Heparin had nothing to do with my dad's death. According to him, my dad had a serious lesion on one of his arteries and that the intra-coronary sonogram should never have been performed because it was obvious that the artery was too tight. When the IVUS was inserted, it dissected the artery cutting off all circulation to the heart and killing him rather quickly. When I watched the video of the contrast die you can easily see the blood pumping through the heart regularly then suddenly expelling out into nowhere. Once it was explained to me, it was rather obvious what was happening.

So basically my dad, who was in reasonable health, was killed by a mistake two doctors made, who then proceeded to lie to us multiple times.

Now, the question becomes, what would you do in this situation? Sue the doctors, or just let it go?
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Old 05-19-08, 07:04 PM   #2
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I'd talk to a malpractice attorney and sue if only to get it on those doctors' records so they might not do it again. And enough to pay the attorney.
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Old 05-19-08, 07:12 PM   #3
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I would get a 2nd and 3rd opinion from additional lawyers and go from there. If there are solid grounds for a lawsuit, I just might go for it.
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Old 05-19-08, 07:14 PM   #4
Mordred
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X
I'd talk to a malpractice attorney and sue if only to get it on those doctors' records so they might not do it again. And enough to pay the attorney.
There is the option of taking it up with the state licensing board as well though, if you aren't interested in the monetary gain.
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Old 05-19-08, 07:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
There is the option of taking it up with the state licensing board as well though, if you aren't interested in the monetary gain.
That might be a good way to go.

Is getting money out of doctors who didn't intend to make that mistake what you want? That won't really help to replace your father. Or do you just want to make sure they can't do it again?
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Old 05-19-08, 08:02 PM   #6
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When someone (under hospital care) dies unexpectedly, don't the other doctors at the hospital convene to look over the case (morbidity and mortality report)? Did that happen in this case?

I would first get a second opinion from another doctor. Perhaps the Doctor in Houston is wrong? Just worth another opinion there.

If the two doctors did screw up, I would file suit (especially if they are or did attempt a coverup). And I would, since your father was 60, ask for 5 years of his salary plus lawyer expenses. The amount will be decent, and enough to impact their malpractice insurance premiums, but not outrageous.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
As a few of you might know/remember, my dad died about 18 months ago. If you read the end of that post you'll see that the cause of death turned out to be what the doctors called an "inverse reaction" to the drug heparin which caused massive clots to form (instead of keeping them from forming) which stopped his heart and killing him during a "routine" catherization. We were told this is extremely rare, but not unheard of and there wasn't anything they could do. We came away feeling that the doctor's did everything they could have in the situation.

A few months ago, reports came out that Baxter was recalling some of their Heparin due to contamination caused by Chinese manufacturers which were causing adverse events in patients, and, on rare occasion, death. My mom contacted a lawyer who had the hospital send over all the information which they then sent off to a doctor in Houston for review.

A few weeks later we got back information from the doctor in Houston telling us that Heparin had nothing to do with my dad's death. According to him, my dad had a serious lesion on one of his arteries and that the intra-coronary sonogram should never have been performed because it was obvious that the artery was too tight. When the IVUS was inserted, it dissected the artery cutting off all circulation to the heart and killing him rather quickly. When I watched the video of the contrast die you can easily see the blood pumping through the heart regularly then suddenly expelling out into nowhere. Once it was explained to me, it was rather obvious what was happening.

So basically my dad, who was in reasonable health, was killed by a mistake two doctors made, who then proceeded to lie to us multiple times.

Now, the question becomes, what would you do in this situation? Sue the doctors, or just let it go?
you have 2 years statue of limitation in Texas. You need to decide quickly.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:25 PM   #8
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I might be more inclined to sue if it is true the doctors lied to cover up their mistakes.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:16 PM   #9
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Lying is always a bad thing. I'd seriously talk it over with an attorney to see if you have a case(you have a case on the lying if it is documented in the chart that they told you it was because of the heparin).
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Old 05-19-08, 09:30 PM   #10
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I will echo the above. It is the lying that would have me suing with no hesitation. Otherwise, I would not be inclined to.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I will echo the above. It is the lying that would have me suing with no hesitation. Otherwise, I would not be inclined to.
I'll echo his echo.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:45 PM   #12
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three echoed. the fact that they appear to have been in CYA mode would have me inclined to at least investigate the potential for a lawsuit. I would have it all sent to another doctor for a second opinion immediately.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:02 AM   #13
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The lying really pissed me off. There were two doctors who sat down and talked to us. The cardiologist who sent him in for the procedure and the guy who did the procedure. The cardiologist was the kind of pompous arrogant asshole Doctor that gives the rest of them a bad name. He was in 100% CYA mode and if I remember correctly did most of the explaining about what went wrong.

The doctor who actually did the procedure seemed like a really good guy. You could tell he was pretty shaken up by what happened. He even started crying at one point when my mom was talking/crying to them. Knowing what happened it makes me wonder if it wasn't what went wrong, but possibly lying about it that was making him feel so bad.

Anyway, this was more a hypothetical situation because we aren't sueing. I probably should have tossed in a poll My mom, who is an incredibly devout Christian, told the Doctors that she didn't hold them at fault and wouldn't sue them and she intends to stand by her word, even though circumstances have changed. I fully support her in this, because she's not destitute and doesn't need the money (although she's by no means rich). The general emotional pain that would be caused by dragging this through the legal system probably isn't worth it for her, or the rest of the family in this case.

I'm still not convinced the doctors were negligent, despite what the doctor from Houston said, but they certainly screwed up. Lying about it makes me want a measure of revenge, but it won't change anything.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:12 AM   #14
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I would sue they for every damn penny.
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Old 05-20-08, 01:01 AM   #15
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I'm vindictive, so I'll abstain from this vote, but you could probably guess my vote.
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Old 05-20-08, 01:40 AM   #16
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Terrible situation. I'd explore the potential for a successful lawsuit. The (alleged) lying is the reason why I'd want to pursue that course of action.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
Anyway, this was more a hypothetical situation because we aren't sueing. I probably should have tossed in a poll My mom, who is an incredibly devout Christian, told the Doctors that she didn't hold them at fault and wouldn't sue them and she intends to stand by her word, even though circumstances have changed.
She promised not to sue and did not hold them at fault based on their lies. If the opinion of the Houston doctor can be substantiated, I would sue.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:31 AM   #18
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Sue for every penny! It'll be an insurance company that pays and insurance companies own this country. Get them for everything you can.

BTW, did this piece of information go by too fast ---

"A few months ago, reports came out that Baxter was recalling some of their Heparin due to contamination caused by Chinese manufacturers which were causing adverse events in patients, and, on rare occasion, death."

China again...? Oh boy.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
The lying really pissed me off. There were two doctors who sat down and talked to us. The cardiologist who sent him in for the procedure and the guy who did the procedure. The cardiologist was the kind of pompous arrogant asshole Doctor that gives the rest of them a bad name. He was in 100% CYA mode and if I remember correctly did most of the explaining about what went wrong.

The doctor who actually did the procedure seemed like a really good guy. You could tell he was pretty shaken up by what happened. He even started crying at one point when my mom was talking/crying to them. Knowing what happened it makes me wonder if it wasn't what went wrong, but possibly lying about it that was making him feel so bad.

Anyway, this was more a hypothetical situation because we aren't sueing. I probably should have tossed in a poll My mom, who is an incredibly devout Christian, told the Doctors that she didn't hold them at fault and wouldn't sue them and she intends to stand by her word, even though circumstances have changed. I fully support her in this, because she's not destitute and doesn't need the money (although she's by no means rich). The general emotional pain that would be caused by dragging this through the legal system probably isn't worth it for her, or the rest of the family in this case.

I'm still not convinced the doctors were negligent, despite what the doctor from Houston said, but they certainly screwed up. Lying about it makes me want a measure of revenge, but it won't change anything.
I understand your Mom's position (and your support of it), but the only other thing I could think of for you to consider is this... you could setup an appointment with the two doctors and present them with the info from the doctor in Houston, asking them for their opinion on the new information. or it might be even better to just setup the appointment with the doctor who you perceived to be genuinely upset about the matter. But then I'm sure he would be obligated to inform the hospital of the appointment, and they would intervene with legal representation to make sure that the doctors could say nothing significant (essentially lawyering up). It sucks that you might do something like this merely to get the truth and avoid a lawsuit, and their only concern would be the lawsuit.
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Old 05-20-08, 09:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
The lying really pissed me off. There were two doctors who sat down and talked to us. The cardiologist who sent him in for the procedure and the guy who did the procedure. The cardiologist was the kind of pompous arrogant asshole Doctor that gives the rest of them a bad name. He was in 100% CYA mode and if I remember correctly did most of the explaining about what went wrong.

The doctor who actually did the procedure seemed like a really good guy. You could tell he was pretty shaken up by what happened. He even started crying at one point when my mom was talking/crying to them. Knowing what happened it makes me wonder if it wasn't what went wrong, but possibly lying about it that was making him feel so bad.

Anyway, this was more a hypothetical situation because we aren't sueing. I probably should have tossed in a poll My mom, who is an incredibly devout Christian, told the Doctors that she didn't hold them at fault and wouldn't sue them and she intends to stand by her word, even though circumstances have changed. I fully support her in this, because she's not destitute and doesn't need the money (although she's by no means rich). The general emotional pain that would be caused by dragging this through the legal system probably isn't worth it for her, or the rest of the family in this case.

I'm still not convinced the doctors were negligent, despite what the doctor from Houston said, but they certainly screwed up. Lying about it makes me want a measure of revenge, but it won't change anything.
did your dad go to his regular hospital when this happened?

someone on my wife's side died in a hospital from a heart attack. what happened was that she went to one of the best hospitals in NYC for cardiac care. my guess is even though her charts went, the doctors didn't really know her and the entire medical history and a mistake was made
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Old 05-20-08, 11:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
did your dad go to his regular hospital when this happened?

someone on my wife's side died in a hospital from a heart attack. what happened was that she went to one of the best hospitals in NYC for cardiac care. my guess is even though her charts went, the doctors didn't really know her and the entire medical history and a mistake was made
He was seeing a cardiologist for about a year and apparently had had a mild heartattack while mowing the lawn a few months previously. The cardiologist had done some preliminary tests to determine what had happened and then recommended the heart catherization to diagnose exactly where the problems were and then schedule him for surgery if needed, or do an angioplasty right there if they could. The hospital where the procedure was done is brand new and is supposedly the best heart hospital in the area.

According to the Houston doctor, they never should have done the procedure, instead immediately scheduling him for bypass surgery. I'm not sure at what point they should have been able to tell this though, if it was the cardiologists fault, or the surgeons.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:01 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
She promised not to sue and did not hold them at fault based on their lies. If the opinion of the Houston doctor can be substantiated, I would sue.
The thing is, hindsight is 20/20, and who knows whether the cardiologist or surgeon should have caught the problem. If they had come out two days after he died and told us exactly what had happened, I still don't think we would have sued. Mistakes are made, and patients die, and no heart procedure is routine. Sure it would be great if doctors were 100% perfect all the time, but that obviously isn't the case. My feeling is that you should only sue when there is wilfull negligence. The doctors lying to us certainly gives the impression there might have been, but who knows.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:35 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Shoveler
I understand your Mom's position (and your support of it), but the only other thing I could think of for you to consider is this... you could setup an appointment with the two doctors and present them with the info from the doctor in Houston, asking them for their opinion on the new information. or it might be even better to just setup the appointment with the doctor who you perceived to be genuinely upset about the matter. But then I'm sure he would be obligated to inform the hospital of the appointment, and they would intervene with legal representation to make sure that the doctors could say nothing significant (essentially lawyering up). It sucks that you might do something like this merely to get the truth and avoid a lawsuit, and their only concern would be the lawsuit.
Maybe if Mom agrees to sign a release prior to the meeting (as long as she doesn't sign anything agreeing to confidentiality - Mom may not to take the hospital's money, but if they fucked up they should be held publically accountable).
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Old 05-20-08, 12:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordred
He was seeing a cardiologist for about a year and apparently had had a mild heartattack while mowing the lawn a few months previously. The cardiologist had done some preliminary tests to determine what had happened and then recommended the heart catherization to diagnose exactly where the problems were and then schedule him for surgery if needed, or do an angioplasty right there if they could. The hospital where the procedure was done is brand new and is supposedly the best heart hospital in the area.

According to the Houston doctor, they never should have done the procedure, instead immediately scheduling him for bypass surgery. I'm not sure at what point they should have been able to tell this though, if it was the cardiologists fault, or the surgeons.
in my wife's case they had the body exhumed for another autopsy. not sure whatever became of it or if the hospital settled or what.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:42 PM   #25
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The doctors lied, so your mom can go back on her word.

Bando's smart you should take his advise
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