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Doctors knew I had high blood calcium, never followed up on it. Consequently my baby died in utero. Can I sue?

Atlanta, GA |

In Jauary 2009 I had a seizure, the doctors only found high blood calcium. They sent me to a neurologist and cardiologist. I called to follow up on the high blood calcium and wwas told it could not cause a seizure. I later found that that was untrue. I became pregnant in March 2009, my ob/gyn had my file that I had had a seizure and that I had high blood calcium, never followed up on it. I delivered my baby in August 2009, she dies in utero because of hyperparathyroidsm which causes high blood calcium. A simple operation could have been done in January or even in the the beginning of my second trimester and my baby would still be alive today. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I trusted the doctors to know what they are doing.

Attorney Answers 2


A physician has duty to use that degree of care and skill which is expected of reasonably competent practitioner in same class to which physician belongs acting in same or similar circumstances. This means that a neurologist is required to possess the skill, knowledge, and judgment of a reasonably competent neurologist, a cardiologist is required to possess the skill, knowledge, and judgment of a reasonably competent cardiologist, etc. An endocrinologist is the specialty of medicine that would normally deal with a symptoms of high blood calcium. This means that your doctors may use the defense "I'm not an endocrinologist." However, high blood calcium is a medical symptom that should be recognized by either of these two types of doctors and an argument can be made that they should have either known what was wrong or referred you to an endocrinologist for an examination. Speak to an attorney in your area that specializes in medical malpractice to see what you can do. As a side note, I was a doctor for 20 years before I became a lawyer and I can tell you that the health insurance companies are, in my opinion, causing this type of poor medical care to happen more and more in the U.S. Health insurance companies have been paying doctors of all specialties less and less for 20 years. Generally, you can assume that your doctor is being paid about 75-85% LESS than he or she was being paid 20 years ago for the same procedure. The doctor is paying her employees more money now, the doctor's rent is more than it was 20 years ago, and the doctor's food costs three times what it did 20 years ago. While the doctors personal and business expenses are going up like the rest of us, the doctor's pay had gone down 75-85%. The end result of this is that doctors must cut corners and simply cannot afford to spend enough time with you to adequately assess your medical conditions. I don't say this so you feel sorry for the doctors, just that this is bad public policy to let the health insurance companies take all the money, deny your claims, enrich themselves and their CEO's personally, and drive good doctors out of business. No doctors I know are sending their children to medical school because doctors talk among themselves and say, "you just can't make good money as a doctor anymore." Why should the smartest children in the country spend $200,000 for a medical degree and spend 12 years in college so they can make the same money as a fireman or paramedic? The smart ones are smart enough to go into another line of work and that is why the World Health Organization rates the U.S. 37th among the countries of the world for our health care. Despite all this, your doctors are still responsible for accurately diagnosing your condition so long as they remain as doctors, so you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney in your area.

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I am very, very sorry to hear about the loss of your child. Under Georgia law, a physician is liable for any injury caused by a deviation of the standard of care. The issue is whether the standard of care required intervention in your cased based upon the finding of high blood calcium. The law in Georgia requires, in general, that a physician with the same background and expertise review all the medical records surrounding you and your late child's care and treatment to determine if a deviation of the standard of care occurred. We have handled cases where children have died as a result of the negligent care of obgyn physicians and would be happy to meet with you and discuss your case in more detail at no obligation to you if you so desire. Again, I am very sorry to hear about your loss.

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