Would you ever sue for malpractice?

  1. I don't want to give details about my case, because I'm not sure if that would be wise given that it is a current lawsuit. Suffice to say that I was in the hospital, at the doctors office, and in touch with my doctors' office multiple times throughout a week leading up to the 6month loss of twins. Whenever I was in the hospital I was rehydrated and sent home, told I had food poisoning, etc... Well, it turns out I had a very easiliy diagnosed, commonly known cause of premature labor. Right under their noses. On more than one occasion.

    I am not a vengeful person, and I understand that people make mistakes. I'm about to graduate from nursing school and I'm terrified of making a mistake and hurting someone. However, I do feel that my case was VERY negligently handled (I was 18 y.o. on government medical insurance, if that might be a reason). So, I sought out a lawyer just to ask him about it.

    A lawsuit seemed like my way to participate in the justice system. To make sure that something like that didn't happen again. I could think of NO other way to make a difference. In fact, if I was shown that I was mistaken and that, I had in fact, received good medical care then I would happily accept it and move on. I would like closure and what is right and good to be done through this.

    Looks like they're going to settle the case (3 1/2 years after I met with the lawyer). I have VERY mixed feelings. Even though these suits are part of the justice system, it seems like its a broken system. Am I only contributing the problems plagueing the system? If I let them settle without bringing it to court will the REAL CASE pass unnoticed by the medical community within that system?

    What would you do? I loved my kids. I'm not interesting in making a buck off of their deaths, thankyouvery much. What is right? What makes a real difference?
    Last edit by MarySunshine on Jan 13, '05
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  2. 36 Comments

  3. by   begalli
    Would I ever sue for malpractice?

    Yes, without hesitation.

    It's not about the money, but can be when the negligence results in the loss of income or expenses, or loss that would not have otherwise occurred without the negligence. It's about making negligent healthcare providers accountable for their dangerous practice.

    What other choice is there?
  4. by   Jess-RN in 2006
    yes, and especially if it led to the death of my child(my son was stillborn, but it was nothing that anyone did wrong).....I know many mothers who have lost children who have had excellent reason to sue...and they have.......

    people do make mistakes, and in the end its sometime the innocent ones who have to suffer. I hope I dont offend anyone.....
  5. by   MarySunshine
    Thank you both for your affirming words. I am sorry for the loss of your son, Jess. It's a very difficult thing to experience.

    What if a settlement was enough money for us to by a modest house? Would that be wrong? Would I be haunted by living in a home that cost my childrens' lives? What would I tell friends and family who notice that we bought a home when we previously have said we could not afford to do so for 5+ years? Should I give it all away to a good cause? This is very personally and morally confusing to me. What is the right outlook for this kind of financial gain? I'm having trouble seeing it in a good light.
    Last edit by MarySunshine on Jan 13, '05
  6. by   live4today
    Yes, I would sue in a case like yours, and not feel guilty about doing so.

    No, you should NOT settle for a piddly amount under any circumstances because what happened to you happens to other women, so this should be brought to light publicly as a wakeup call to physicians or anyone else in the business of assessing pregnant women who miss something as important as "premature labor"..........:angryfire

    Let us know the outcome. I'm rooting for you to get the max! :hatparty:
  7. by   walkaman
    ok,maybe if it was me then i would, but can't be sure. I love my children and would do anything for them. I was sent home when I was when i was in labor and told I was just having premature labor. went back and had my son 4 hours later, as far as i understand you are checked when you come in the hospital and again 1 hour later. if you do not progress then they send you home. I was sick and everything, well my son had used the bathroom. they also said it could have been something i ate. Is it really their fault they did not get me in there right then, no, my water was not broke, i was early and everything.


    I know a family who's son died by a forklift. They sued and got a few million. They held on to it for a while and 8 years later what do they have, new cars, houses, the whole family is taken care of NOW and because they lost their son. I told my husband there is no way someone could ask me how did I afford my car and I would say "that son of mine" I could not do it
  8. by   ?burntout
    I have actually considered a lawsuit against the radiologist that read my U/S the day my son was delivered and missed a major CHD :angryfire . But after talking with my ob/gyn and some other doctors, it probably wouldn't have made a difference if we had known before his birth.
  9. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    If I believed in my heart it was an accident, then no. If it was out-rite negligence, and there was a loss of life? YES!

    Sorry for your loss, btw.
  10. by   MarySunshine
    Walkaman, it's not really up for discussion whether or not it was the medical professionals' fault in my case. It was. I totally understand your feelings in regards to the nice new homes, cars, etc of the family you know. Kindof hard to stomach. However, you must keep in mind that if I had all the riches in the world, I would trade them back in a heartbeat for my boys and the family you know would probably do the same to see their son back. It's a very inadequate system, but what system would be adequate?
  11. by   hypnotic_nurse
    You are right -- all the riches in the world don't matter. What does matter is that you get acknowledgement that someone made a huge mistake -- and maybe then it won't happen to someone else.

    And walkaman -- my best friend's son died of brain cancer at age 21. Unbeknowst to his mom, he had a very large insurance policy through his job with her as the beneficiary. Her house is paid off now and she only works part-time -- but she'd MUCH rather be working her a** off with bills out the wazoo. As it is -- she tells everyone that her house was a gift from her son.
  12. by   talaxandra
    While I disagree with frivolous lawsuits, including medical malpractice, I also think that there are a lot of cases where we really have done wrong, and that's why litigation exists.
    It sounds, from the limited information here, as though you have a genuine cause for complaint, and I wish you luck with your case. I'm also sorry for your loss - there's nothing more painful than losing a child.
    I don't think you have a moral obligation to give away the results of a large settlement, though if you can afford to, it would be a good thing. While i appreciate that you could feel as though this was somehow tainted money, it's not as though the case caused the deaths of your children, or that you have somehow agreed to the money in exchange for them. It's also not as though you went into litigation with the primary aim of receiving a large settlement, as though money would make your life perfect, or compensate you for the loss of your children.
    Some mistakes are genuine, and people are flawed and therefore make mistakes. However, it sounds as though you may have received different treatment if you had had insurance, and there is a difference between negligence and an accident. Sometimes financial penalties are the only way to facilitate a change for the better.
    I wish you luck.
  13. by   Tweety
    My condolences on your loss. I think you're probably doing the right thing, for those who come behind you this practice is now going to be more attuned to the diagnosis that will apare someone else the pain you're feeling.

    I know what you mean, I'm not one to sue either, but if it truly is malpractice, there needs to be some justice and closure.

    Best wishes.
  14. by   CrunchRN
    I can only say based on my experience as an office Ob/gyn nurse in the past that we never treated a medicaid patient differently. When someone calls with issues the only reason I would care about the insurance is if I needed to get an auth. or something to get them the care they need. The other staff/providers acted in the same way.

    If they did something grossly negligent I think it should be exposed, and maybe a lawsuit is the best way to do that, and be sure it doesn't happen again. If what they did was due to a very unusual circumstance or minor human error which can happen to anyone then it needs to be learned from and you could require them to do education etc...

    Perhaps you can use some of the settlement to help ill or under privileged children? That would certainly do some good.

    I think 97% of the providers and staff I have worked with in the past would be absolutely devestated if they thought they had caused or not prevented this loss through inappropriate action or inaction.

    I must say I am very, very sorry for your loss. I am also extremely sorry that you have to deal with all of this in addition to your loss. I feel strongly that you will do the "right thing", and whatever that is, only you can decide.

    Whatever the outcome, you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty for whatever actions you now take. You were never the one that did anything wrong.

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