Opinions wanted regarding malpractice & also a question?

  1. I hope I am not intruding on your board. However, I feel most comfortable talking to nurses regarding medical issues, because I feel that about 99.9% of the time, it is the nurses who make everything work.

    I posted a while back regarding the situation with my former OB. To make a long story short, he and his colleagues did not believe me when I showed up at the hospital with extreme pain and nausea. He eventually accused me of being a drug seeker, but finally agreed to give me an ultrasound of my abdomen, which showed that I needed immediate surgery to remove my gall bladder. I was in the hospital for days and days before he finally relented and gave me the ultrasound. I found out from the surgeon that not only was it full of stones, but it was enlarged and infected, and could have burst at any time.

    I continued to have nausea and some pain, and extreme fatigue. He also knew that I had recently had a thyroid scan and biopsy done, and that my thyroid levels were just barely in the normal range when they were tested a month before my pregnancy. However, he kept blowing me off and telling me that my nausea, pain, extreme vomiting and fatigue were all a normal part of pregnancy and that I was just bellyaching again. Now I find out from my new OB that I am hypothyroid, which can cause 2nd trimester miscarriage.

    So here is my question. Everyone is telling me to sue this doctor for malpractice, since he has twice endangered the life of my baby. In your opinion, should I?

    My other question was this.....what is a SED rate, how significant is it when it is really high? (should I worry that mine is very high?) My new OB did a CT scan on the abdomen to make sure I don't have appendicitis, pancreatis, kidney stones, etc. So far nothing was of huge concern, except that my ureters are really smushed by the baby. Could this cause kidney inflammation/pain? We still can't find the source of this pain in the right side of my abdomen.

    I'm sorry to write such a long post.......I just wanted your opinion on the malpractice thing because I'm very uncomfortable about doing it---but yet, I don't want another woman to lose her baby because of their lack of care.

    Thank you in advance.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   whipping girl in 07
    From a legal standpoint, there has to be an injury in order for you to win a malpractice case. So if you actually lose your baby, you might have a case if it can be proven that your doctor's negligence caused you to lose the baby. If no harm is done, no malpractice exists.

    Example: a diabetic patient has a blood sugar of 300 and an order for 10 units of insulin when the sugar is at that level. The nurse makes a mistake and gives the patient 20 units of insulin. The patient has no injury from the mistake. Therefore, malpractice does not exist, even though a mistake was made.

    In order for malpractice to be proven, there must be three circumstances.
    1) There must be a duty. In the above case, the nurse had a duty to take care of the patient and treat the high blood sugar.
    2) There must be a breach of duty. In the above case, the breach was that the nurse treated the high blood sugar incorrectly (too much insulin).
    3) There must be an injury. In the above case, the patient was not injured. So no malpractice.

    The best thing you can do is find another doctor, which it sounds like you already did, and maybe file a complaint with the state about the doctor. I'm sure if you looked hard enough, though, you'd find a lawyer willing to pursue your lawsuit.

    Why is it everyone is always looking for something to sue over?!
  4. by   RN2B2005
    Ditto what Konni said. It sounds like your first OB was a real (swear word), but it doesn't sound like a malpractice case, unless and until something goes wrong that is directly and irrefutably related to the care, or lack of it, provided to you.

    You might also (as Konni said) file a complaint with the state licensing board; this ensures that if a future patient files a similar complaint, a pattern can be established and possibly lead to disciplinary action. For right now, though, focus on getting through the pregnancy as healthy as possible, and on delivering the healthiest baby possible.
  5. by   GPatty
    I'm glad you're ok and you're baby is too.....
    I'd report him to the state board.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    File a complaint.....a well-articulated, specific one. Then move on.....to a healthier pregnancy and state of mind. I am truly sorry for what you went thru. I only have one piece of advice for you:

    Try being a "glass half full" person now....look at from the positive side of things...

    You are intact...your pregnancy is intact....you are on the road to recovery. You survived a hellish situation. Many of us have. It could have been MUCH worse...trust me, but it wasn't. I know, having had the "worse", of late. A lawsuit will not do you or your unborn baby any good and WILL cause stress and emotional upset you just do not need. Likely you would lose, anyhow.....be glad you are ok!. Best wishes to you.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 22, '02
  7. by   KaroSnowQueen
    Everyone is right, malpractice is hard to actually sue over. Had a friend who had pre eclampsia, and her dr. was ignoring it. Finally a nurse in the dr/s office called the girl's husband and told him to take her to the hospital in another town. He did, they treated her, she had a premature baby, but eventually both she and the baby were healthy. No one would sue the hometown dr for her, saying there was no real negative outcome.
    Again, my son had a ruptured appendix, one er doc sent him home with sedatives and said go see your real dr tomorrow. I took him back to the er, got a surgeon called after I pitched a fit, they operated, kid had peritonitis, he was sick as a dog, but lived through it, no case they said. No real damage.
    Sad to say, although you might be upset and want to shake this guy by the ears, there's not much to be done.
  8. by   Dr. Kate
    Don't discount the customer service aspect: the unhappy customer (patient) tells everyone she knows about the poor care she received.
  9. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    The sed rate or erythrocyte sedimentation rate, is a lab test to determine the rate at which red blood cells will settle in a test tube. The rate elevation could be caused by your pregnancy, or the inflammatory process from the surgery/gall bladder from protiens released from that that cause the cells to clump together.

    The point was very well made about terms of malpractice. Just because a doc isn't very good or is an a$$hole and put you through needless suffering, is not grounds for malpratice...........................If that was malpractice, nurses could sue doctors just about every shift:roll
  10. by   Sick&Pregnant
    Thanks everyone for your replies!
  11. by   deespoohbear
    originally posted by peeps mcarthur
    the point was very well made about terms of malpractice. just because a doc isn't very good or is an a$$hole and put you through needless suffering, is not grounds for malpratice...........................if that was malpractice, nurses could sue doctors just about every shift:roll

    funniest thing i have heard all day. most truthful, too.....:d :roll
  12. by   jemb
    The only actual loss you may have had was the cost of the extra days of hospitalization. If your insurance paid 100%, and you did not lose wages from work, the loss is nil. If you were out cost-wise from the doc's procrastination, small claims court might be a better option.

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