If the perforation occurred during surgery, that can be a risk of the procedure. However, the failure to recognize the complication may constitute negligence for which you have a cause of action. If the negligence occurred in Florida, I would suggest you contact Scott McMillan, www.floridamalpractice.com.
I am licensed in Nevada, but this license should apply in Florida as well.
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case you need to show that the doctor performed his duties below the applicable standard of care. What this requires is another doctor (perhaps the one who rendered the second opinion) to state that the doctor gave your loved one substandard care. In many cases, the malpractice attorney will have to go out of the state to find a doctor who will testify against another doctor.
The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractices cases is 2 years as stated in Florida Statutes 95.11(4)(b) which states:
(b)â€ƒAn action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. An “action for medical malpractice” is defined as a claim in tort or in contract for damages because of the death, injury, or monetary loss to any person arising out of any medical, dental, or surgical diagnosis, treatment, or care by any provider of health care. The limitation of actions within this subsection shall be limited to the health care provider and persons in privity with the provider of health care. In those actions covered by this paragraph in which it can be shown that fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of the injury the period of limitations is extended forward 2 years from the time that the injury is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but in no event to exceed 7 years from the date the incident giving rise to the injury occurred, except that this 7-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. This paragraph shall not apply to actions for which ss. 766.301-766.316 provide the exclusive remedy.
Do not waste time. Get to an attorney as soon as possible as these cases can take time to develop and prepare for suit. Also, you need to talk to the attorney about who has standing to make a claim. Not all "loved ones" have rights (or the same rights) to recover for damages for wrongful death, negligence and/or loss of support from a decedent.
Unlike the first answer, I hope I was able to give you some useful information.
/s Donald Kudler
This answer does not create an attorney client relationship and does not constitute legal advice, but is solely the opinion of a Nevada Attorney.
I am sorry for your loss. I am an attorney in NY and while I could not take on your case I can give you a bit of practical advice. Get the hospital chart, and review it with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice. A perforated bowel sounds to a common person as a clear cut case, it's not. It really depends on how the perforation occurred, how it was managed by the surgeon when it occurred, and what the surgeon did after the surgery to minimize the complications. I hope my advice has helped. All the best to you.
The Levin firm is outstanding as noted, as is my colleague James McKenzie. They will help get you through this difficult time, and give you a candid assessment as to whether the doctor's action/inaction rise to the level of medical malpractice. Good luck to you and your family.
I'm sorry for your loss. I too would encourage you to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your State. Medical malpractice laws are different from State to State but most medical malpractice cases are very difficult no matter what the jurisdiction. These complexities and legal issues are too much to expand upon in this limited forum. For general information purposes only, I am attaching a link to a 7 page report on Medical Malpractice cases in Alabama published by our firm and available through our web site. While this paper is written based upon Ala med-mal laws, I think it may give you a better understanding of general issues such as the standard of care and burden of proof and legal causation which are common isssues to all med-mal claims. I also think a rev'w of this would be helpful in advance of your consultation with an attorney. I am also attaching a link to our firm's Life Insurance Claims Resource Ctr which you may want to visit if you have a life insurance claim or need information on locating life insurance policies. Again, my sympathies in you loss and I hope you find this information helpful.