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Your spouse has medical problems, do you legally have a right to take over decision making if their's are harming their health?

Saint Louis, MO |

My spouse over went a hip replacement operation. The method used for attaching replacement joints was cement. The cement didn’t set properly and the artificial joint began to move. It broke through the skin and is now sticking out of the leg. We are in our late 70’s and my spouse refuses to sue for malpractice or do anything at all about it, just sitting around waiting for a sign from GOD on how to handle the situation. So much time has gone by and I’m afraid the situation will eventually become fatal. I desperately need to know if I have any decision making rights? Can I sue? Can I get forced medical help based on the fact that the decisions are harmful to their health? Please help!

Sleepless in Missouri

Attorney Answers 3

  1. No, not usually. Unless you can prove (to a court) she is mentally unable to make these decisions. Remember that you have a limited time to pursue a medical malpractice claim. You need to have a heart-to-heart discussion with her, and perhaps engage 3rd parties who have her best interest in mind. I with you both the best.

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  2. It sounds like the first thing you need to do is to take her to a doctor to see if the situation is dangerous.

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  3. Your situation sounds dire and you need to get back to an orthopedic hip specialist right away, who can determine what is wrong, why it went wrong (e.g., product defect, improper medical procedure, etc), and what needs to be done to fix it. When did the operation occur and did the doctor continue to see you for complications and ongoing care? Medical malpractice under Missouri law has a short 2 year statute, with what is called a continuing care exception to that rule that may or may not apply depending on the facts of your case. If this is also or instead a products liability claim (e.g., Johnson & Johnson DePuy defective hip implant) a different statute of limitations will apply. You also need to make an appointment with a medical malpractice attorney in your area as soon as possible. Advice from the best in the business is free and with no obligation to retain the lawyer and no obligtion to proceed no matter what you are advised by the lawyer, or lawyers, so if you sit on your rights any longer and fail to obtain proper legal advice and inform yourself you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. ACT NOW! Best of luck!