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Do I have a malpractice claim; if so, is it against the hospital, surgeon, or anesthesiologist? What would my damages be?

Charlotte, NC |

After gastric bypass surgery in 4/08, I had a complication that caused me to be out of work for 7 weeks instead of the scheduled one week. For most of the week post-op, i had been vomiting bile and was initially sent home from the hospital on day 4 post-op even after explaining to the nurse i was having abdominal pain (she said it was normal gas). However, ireturned later that day completely dehydrated. the doctor determined during a second surgery (1 week after surgery) that he had pulled a portion of my intestine through my incision. he dislodged the intestine, but I aspirated gastric bile during surgery and ended up with aspiration pneumonia. I was in the hospital a total of 14 days and critically ill for a good part of it. I have no long-lasting effects that i know of.

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Attorney answers 3


I am not licensed in NC and can offer you only general advice. If you have no long term physical damages, it would be very difficult to pursue your claim due to the expense of expert witnesses and the increased costs of litigation in medical negligence claims. You may, however, want to report the surgeon and anesthesiologist to the local medical association.

Betsey Herd
Tampa, Florida


As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot offer you specific legal advice as to North Carolina state law. However, generally, your situation reflects those of many others who find that they have sustained some injury, but not permanent or lasting significant injury. Without a substantial injury which could justify a substantial jury award, the expense of bringing forth a medical malpractice case is not often warranted. Medical malpractice cases are among the most expensive to litigate.

You may wish to lodge a complaint with the medical practice board which oversees your surgeon. You may also be able to get your doctor and/or hospital to waive the fees for your surgery or hospitalization, although they may not wish to do so voluntarily.


Whether you have a case depends on if you could establish that the doctor was negligent when he performed the procedures. This means that you would have to show that the doctor deviated from the proper standard of care. Your damages could include medical bills, lost wages, etc. Conceivably, your case could be against the doctor and the hospital that was responsible for your care after the operation. I can't say for sure whether you have a case, but it wouldn't hurt to consult an attorney experienced in medical malpractice. I'm in Illinois, but I know attorneys near you if you'd like a referral.

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