There are numerous complicating factors in medical treatment, but when someone has such a dramatic bad result, it compels you to investigate it further with the assistance of a competent and experienced medical negligence attorney, who will obtain all the records and have them reviewed by a qualified expert. From your fact pattern, it does appear as if this result could and should have been avoided by appropriate care.
Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.
It appears that you have a claim. Consult a medical malpractice attorney to review the records and advise you if the standard of care was breached.
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I am so sorry to learn what happened to your mom. Begin to keep a diary of what happened and who said what to whom. Also, get her to a major medical center. Our nurse can call you to get details if you'd like.
Please note that these answers are provided as a community service and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
I am very sorry your mother, and you, are going through this. First, of course, is to make sure your mother is now being properly treated. Second, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney. Bring your mom's medical records, and ask the attorney to review them and help you determine whether you have a case. I would look for someone who handles not only medical malpractice, but nursing home negligence.
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.
Without knowing the exact cause of the gangrene, it is hard to tell you whether you have a case worth investigating. Clearly, you would expect an arterial insufficiency to be noticed prior to toes turning black when a patient is under active medical care.
The problem you will have finding a lawyer is that your mother's advance age, along with her underlying health issues, make it unlikely that her claim is economically viable. There are articles linked at the end of this answer that explain that concept.
While cases against rehabilitation facilities can sometimes be economically viable when standard malpractice cases are not because those cases allow for fee shifting, it is very likely that the gangrene started prior to the admission to the rehabilitation facility, since she arrived there on 3/8 and you discovered "black toes" the day after.
It is rare and admirable that the attending doctor advised you that he dropped the ball by failing to examine the extremities, but depending when those examinations took place, the doctor may have a proximate cause defense to a claim.
Please note that by attempting to answer your question, I am not acting as your attorney. I will do nothing further to protect or preserve your interests in the absence of any additional discussion with you about this matter. John Ratkowitz, Esq. Starr, Gern, Davison & Rubin, P.C. 105 Eisenhower Parkway Roseland, NJ 07068 firstname.lastname@example.org Office: (973) 830-8441 Cell: (732) 616-6278 Fax: (973) 226-0031 Skype: john_ratkowitz Web: www.starrgern.com