I recently had a heart attack can I sue my family doctor

Asked 9 months ago - Philadelphia, PA

I recently had a massive heart attack Im 39 and in good shape I eat rite and exercise daily I had a blood workup done after about 2 yrs of complaining and he said my cholesterol was a little high but just take more fish oil and dont worry about it so about a yr later I had the heart attack can I sue him for this if he would've diagnosed this earlier I could've prevented this with medicine

Attorney answers (12)

  1. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Whether or not your Doctor has committed malpractice will need to be determined by an expert in his field. You will need an attorney to investigate things, using an expert qualified to render testimony about your doctor.

    You may find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com, one of which deals with medical malpractice and what it is. If, after reviewing the Guide, you believe you are the victim of malpractice, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney in your area for a consultation.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  2. James E. Girards

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A failure to follow-up on cardiac risk factors leading to a heart attack is a viable claim but the details of what was known to the family doctor is critical. Also, you describe your heart attack as massive. Your attorney will need to know the extent of heart muscle damage.You will want to contact a lawyer who is experienced in cardiology malpractice cases.

    This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is provided after receipt of very limited... more
  3. Samuel Cohen

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need a medical malpractice attorney. The attorney will have to get your records reviewed by at least one physician of a like specialty to the doctor you are trying to sue. S/he may need a second physician who can testify that the failure to prevent your heart attack was due to negligence. Good luck.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can certainly have one of the other attorneys above investigate.

  5. Josh P Tolin

    Contributor Level 19

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . With the facts you provided, not likely. If you were having chest pain, and he did not do an EKG or cardiac enzymes, then, that would be a different story. Even having high cholesterol does not mean you need to be on medication. The keys on these types of cases is someone having chest pain, indigestion, sweaty, etc. and not ruling out the serious diseases.

  6. Jennifer L. Ellis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, I am very sorry to hear you had a heart attack, especially at such a young age. There are several issues here that a medical malpractice attorney (with the help of a medical expert) would have to look at to see if you have a potential medical malpractice case.

    The first is whether the doctor followed the standard of care in your treatment. If he didn't then the lawyer can continue to look into whether his failure to follow the standard of care directly relates to your heart attack. If not, then you will not have a case. If yes, then you might have a case.

    The lawyer would also need to look into the amount of damages you had. In other words, what was the impact of the heart attack on your life. Are you pretty much fine now, or are you having continuing issues?

    As with my colleagues, I would suggest you contact a medical malpractice lawyer and discuss your case with him or her.

    I have included a link that is an explanation on what is (and is not) a medical malpractice case. You might find it helpful.

    I hope you are doing better now.

    For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security... more
  7. Evan Aidman

    Contributor Level 4

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A medical malpractice lawyer works under a contingency fee agreement. Medical malpractice cases may warrant a higher contingency fee than garden-variety motor vehicle cases or slip-and-fall lawsuits. This is because the amount of work and the lawyer’s own financial investment are usually significantly more.

    Some states have laws that limit the lawyer’s contingency fee. Some counties have laws that limit the lawyer’s fee in cases involving children or in cases where the patient has died.

    No lawyer can properly evaluate or pursue a medical malpractice case without first obtaining the relevant medical records and interviewing available witnesses. If family members or friends accompanied you to doctor visits or were present during any of your interactions with the doctors, they should be interviewed. Your medical records are vital to your ability to prove a case. A lawyer who delays obtaining your records is, more often than not, not giving your case the attention it deserves. Check periodically to see that your lawyer has obtained records from your healthcare providers. However, know that it can take months to actually receive records.

    It is important that your lawyer be aware of your most recent medical care. You must keep your lawyer informed of all the doctors you have seen. You only hurt your case by not keeping your lawyer updated on matters that are relevant to your case. If your medical care continues after the lawsuit is filed, it is the responsibility of both you and your lawyer to communicate regularly to make certain the attorney is up to date with your medical care.

    Lawyers typically rely on their staff, namely their secretary or paralegal, to keep the file updated with current medical records. Typically, the secretary or paralegal is more available during the workday to receive telephone calls than the attorney is. It is a good idea to maintain an open line of communication with the legal staff as the case progresses.

  8. David Ian Schoen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is hard to tell from your post. A heart attack is not something that a doctor thinks of right away for a persona of your age and circumstance. An experienced medical malpractice attorney would need to know precisely what symptoms you had and what diagnostic testing or referrals, if any, was ordered.

  9. David Herman Hirsch

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Medical malpractice cases are expensive to pursue, difficult to prove and highly technical in nature, since you need experts to establish what the standard of care is and that it was breached in some fashion. You need to have a medical malpractice attorney get the files and have them reviewed by a physician to determine if professional negligence occurred and if you have any recourse. Use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find one in your area. Best of luck to you...

    THESE COMMENTS MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as Avvo.com are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer. The only way to determine how the law may apply to your particular situation is to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. . That relationship is established by the execution of a written agreement for legal services. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.

  10. Michael R Varble, Esq.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get your medical chart, find a malpractice attorney and schedule a consultation. Normally, a doctor has to certify that there was malpractice before you can file suit. Good luck with it.

    The information provided herein is for informational purposes and should not be construed to establish an attorney... more
  11. Elizabeth Taylor Herd

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . How are you doing now? Sometimes you can have an attack of pain and there is no damage to the heart or such little damage that it has no impact. If you have gotten back to your usual activities and your heart function (ejection fraction is greater than 50%) you might spend more than you could recover. It also makes a difference to know what you were complaining about. Did you have chest pain, or jaw pain or pain in one of your arms?

  12. Philip Anthony Fabiano

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Why were you complaining for "about 2 years?" The issue will be whether there was some reason a doctor would suspect you might have an impending heart attack. From what you list you really did not have any risk factors for an impending heart attack. I realize you did not include all the facts but with the exception of a "little high" cholesterol what do you feel the doctor missed that should have alerted him to this possibility?
    If you feel strongly about the potential negligence of the doctor you should consult with an attorney.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

28,736 answers this week

3,156 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

28,736 answers this week

3,156 attorneys answering