Possible negligence suit for missing kidney stone?
Daughter was experiencing major pain on her side, which was worse with breathing. She went to ER & was there for over 4 hours w/out any test being done. After complaining they finally did a chest x-ray & they labeled it as "just back pain" but she knows her body & that something was wrong. She went to family doctor today for a second opinion & was scheduled for a CT scan & blood work; which showed kidney stones. I feel that was complete malpractice. They didn't attempt to do a physical exam to palpate the pain, blood tests, urine test, offer any medication. A chest x-ray after complaining? Any doctor worth their spit would test for kidney or appendix with pain on the side.
If the doctors in the ER violated the standard of reaonable medical care there was negligence. Only an expert doctor practicing in the area of emergency medicial can tell you that. An experienced attorney will need to have the medical records reviewed by such an expert. That said, negilgence alone does not create a right of recovery. The failure to diagnose would have to lead to an injury, not merely delay the same treatment she would have recieved in the ER. Some additional injury must be shown to have been caused by the delay!
I am not licensed in PA and can offer only general advice. In many states the burden for proving neglience against an ER is harder. In addition, even if we assume that the ER was neglient, your claim is likely limited to the time spent in pain since that would have been the damages caused by the failure to treat or diagnose the stones. In retaining an expert to testify, you would likely spend more than could be recovered. I know that is hard to swallow when you are talking about watching your child suffer. Contact a local lawyer for a compete evaluation.
Kidney stones are awful. I am sorry to hear that your daughter was left to feel so ill and in so much pain while not being certain what was wrong. No doubt both of you were terrified. I am glad you took her to your family doctor and found the source of the problem.
Now, to take a quick look at your case. There are several components that are necessary to meet the minimum requirements for a medical malpractice lawsuit and I will briefly explain them to you below. I have also attached a link to an article that you might find helpful.
1. The first component is whether the doctor had a duty to your daughter, that one is pretty easy. Your daughter went to the hospital to seek help from the doctors there. Doctors owe their patients a duty of care.
2. The next component is whether the doctor failed to meet the standard of care required in this case.
3. Next we have to ask, what is the harm your daughter suffered?
4. Last we must ask, was the violation of the standard of care the direct cause of the harm.
Here's the problem. Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive to bring. The lawyer has to retain a doctor who is willing to testify as to the issues I noted above. There are generally depositions and numerous other expenses as well. With these kinds of expenses, the damages need to be high enough to make the case financially viable.
Let's assume for a moment that the doctor violated his standard of care and further, that your daughter suffered harm because of that violation. Of course, it is very difficult to place a value on the pain and fear your daughter suffered, but it is not likely to rise to the level necessary to bring a lawsuit.
We have to also ask though, was your daughter's case emergent? Would the doctor have performed surgery to remove the stone immediately in the hospital, or sent her home for follow-up with another doctor? Or perhaps tell her to go home and wait for the stone to pass. Assuming emergency surgery was not necessary, we run into an issue of causation, i.e. the delay in diagnosis didn't actually cause any harm to your daughter, since she would have had to wait on the stone or an appointment anyway.
Understand I am not saying it is impossible, the only way I, or another medical malpractice attorney, could assess your case is to look at the medical records and analyze what we see.
My recommendation, as with my colleagues, is that you gather the medical records and locate a medical malpractice attorney in York. The attorney should evaluate your case for free. Then you will be in a better position to know whether a lawsuit would be possible in this situation.
Again, I am sorry this happened to your daughter. I hope she is feeling better now that she at least knows what is wrong.
For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security... more
For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability or nursing home abuse, please contact Lowenthal & Abrams, PC at 1-800-876-5299. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, but members of my firm are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me.
If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance.
I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania.