QUESTION

Can the person sue for negligence if there were issues after surgery?

Asked on Jan 17th, 2012 on Personal Injury - Western Australia
More details to this question:
Someone recently had gallbladder removed. The doctor could not get the dye to flow to test liver blockage. The person was sent home a week later with stitches. After a week, the liver began to fail due to blockage. Can the person sue for negligence?
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15 ANSWERS
Answered on Feb 01st, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Yes but must prove negligence.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:56 PM
What you describe is a potential medical malpractice claim. The primary question is whether or not the surgeon breached the standard of care. To answer this question, you need a qualified physician to establish the applicable standard of care in the medical community and then opine as to whether or not the surgeon failed to meet that standard and thereby proximately caused injury. Such claims should be reviewed by an experienced medical malpractice attorney (almost all of whom are happy to provide a free initial consultation and evaluation of a potential case).

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Francis Paul Hajek
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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:41 PM
Medical malpractice answers are rarely obvious. A review of the medical records may reveal an obvious breach of the standard of care, but it is unlikely. It always helps if the victim of medical negligence has a theory as to why they were injured. If we think there is a potential case, we obtain the records and have a medical specialist in the field look them over to see if there is negligence. So, the first step is to sit down with a medical malpractice attorney and go over the facts.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:36 PM
There are often issues after surgery, but that does not mean that a doctor was negligent. From the facts you have given, there may or may not be a case against doctor. You should consult an attorney, and the attorney will need the medical records to review. The attorney may well need to consult with an expert before giving you an opinion whether or not the doctor's treatment fell below the standard of care for the doctor's specialty. From the limited facts given, it seems very possible that the doctor acted appropriately but simply could not complete the desired test due to the physical condition of the patient.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:36 PM
Anyone can be sued for negligence. The issue is whether the case has merit. In order to help determine this, you would need to have a medical expert review the medical records to see if there was substandard care. My best advice is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area immediately for a free consultation. Good luck.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:30 PM
We caution all potential clients that medical malpractice claims are very difficult to win - few settle and those that are tried are won by the doctor 9 out of 10 times. Those cases which have the best chance for a good outcome for the plaintiff are those where a clear act of negligence, or omission of appropriate care, are clearly apparent in the medical record. If your surgeon attempted to determine proper flow to the liver but was unable to do so, and you suffered liver damage because of the compromised flow then you may have a med mal claim.

The information provided to you in this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:25 PM
Yes. If the surgeon that did the gallbladder surgery should have determined during the surgery that there was a problem with the liver and he failed to take appropriate steps to treat the condition, there may be a cause of action. If the liver failed resulting in permanent damage that would have been avoided if the blockage had been discovered during the gallbladder surgery then there may be a cause of action. In order to prove that the surgeon was negligent, you will need to establish, through expert testimony of another surgeon, that a reasonable surgeon, under similar circumstances, should have recognized that there was a problem with the liver . You will next have to prove that the failure to treat the liver problem was a deviation in the standard of care and that as a result the patient suffered permanent injury to the liver. If you are unable to prove that the injury to the liver, due to the short delay, would have been avoided then there will be no damage as a result of his negligence. You should have the patient discuss the specifics of the surgery so that he or she can be advised whether this type of case has merit and whether the surgeon can be held responsible for the outcome. Hope this helps.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Medical Malpractice cases are very difficult and there has to be a bright line between negligence and the liability of the surgeon. You have not provided enough information to establish negligence. There is a two year statute of limitations.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:20 PM
In order to prove a medical malpractice case, a claimant must prove a failure to conform to accepted practice, resulting in an injury. A bad result is not enough, and if it is a "judgment call" by the doctor, there is no malpractice, even if the doctor made the wrong call. In order to determine whether there was malpractice here, you will need to get a complete set of medical records and have them reviewed by a doctor in that specialty.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 5:19 PM
The aggrieved party should consult with a plaintiff's medical malpractice lawyer for specific legal advice and direction.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 2:35 PM
You can try to sue for just about anything. The question is whether you have sufficient evidence to prove that the person you are suing did something that was negligent and you can prove that negligence was the cause of the resulting injury.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 1:00 PM
You can always sue. The problem is: can you prove your case? Was there an equipment failure as you suggest? If so, did that failure cause the liver to fail? Or would the liver have failed anyway? You need a doctor to review your chart in full and answer those questions. You can't start a malpractice case or hospital products case without a medical opinion that supports your position.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Certainly the person can sue. It is called medical malpractice. Certain lawyers specialize in representing people with claims against doctors. Look for a medical malpractice plaintiffs attorney on the internet and in the Yellow Pages. It is very expensive to do those cases so the lawyers take only ones with really serious injuries.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Only if you have a Dr. who will give you a written pinion that negligence was committed by the treating physician. This is a complicated area of the law and you need an experienced attorney to make a valid claim.

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Answered on Jan 31st, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Medical malpractice is a highly specialized area of the law, and your question needs more details in order to determine if the doctor met the standard of care. I suggest calling an attorney with medical malpractice experience.

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