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Does cost discourage patients against medical malpractice suits?

One patient’s recent account of a postoperative infection serves as a dual reminder of:  (1) the very real possibility of being injured by a medical mistake; and (2) the difficulties that an injured patient may face in attempting to hold health care professionals accountable for their negligence.

The patient had volunteered to donate a kidney to his brother, and he was not worried about the routine transplant procedure. A few days after the surgery, however, his incision began oozing green fluid. The fluid turned out to be an infection that lasted for several months and required additional follow-up surgeries.

To add insult to injury, the patient wasn’t able to find an attorney to help him sue the hospital. He was told that a typical medical malpractice lawsuit incurs costs around $50,000. Although that may seem like a large investment, medical negligence often requires extensive evidence gathering, expert testimony to interpret that data, and complicated litigation strategy.

In this case, several attorneys with whom the patient consulted declined representing him because they apparently regarded his estimated economic damages — calculated from his postoperative medical bills, lost wages and other costs — as not significantly larger than the $50,000 investment needed to bring a lawsuit. The patient learned that many attorneys prefer a medical malpractice damages claim to be at least $250,000.

Fortunately, not all attorneys are like. Those that specialize in medical negligence lawsuits will have gained a familiarity with medical terminology, medical records and medical experts. That knowledge can only help to reduce initial costs and make the task of preparing and litigating a medical malpractice claim easier and more efficient. For that reason, a patient who was injured after receiving unprofessional or negligent hospital care should seek out the advice of an attorney that has extensive experience in medical malpractice law.

Source: ProPublica, “Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case,” Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce, Jan. 6, 2014

 

January 10, 2014 / Surgical Errors

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The Eisen Law Firm: Focused on Client Service in Ohio.

With a highly selective practice focused on medical negligence cases, the trial attorneys of The Eisen Law Firm help Ohio families recover from the consequences of a doctor or hospital’s negligent mistakes. Because we work only on a few cases at a time, we’re able to concentrate on the details that can make the decisive difference to the outcome and value of your claims.