I had surgery to remove hardware from a previous injury. The day after removing my stitches (2 weeks after surgery), I was in extreme pain, unable to walk, and nauseated. I went to the ER were they diagnosed me with an infection in my leg. They gave me an antibiotic, pain medication and sent me home. I continued to be in extreme pain, unable to walk, and nauseated so I went back to the ER the next day. This time they used a marker to outline the infection. In 2 hours it had already grown outside of the outline. They admitted me to the hospital and performed surgery to remove the infection. I was there for 3 days. Could I sue for failure to timely diagnose the infection? I am able to walk now but with some pain. I feel a more timely diagnoses may have not resulted in additional surgery
Speak to a local attorney who specializes in medical negligence cases. This is a common occurrence and unless some circumstance is present that I am unaware of you probably will not find an attorney to represent you.
A claim for medical malpractice under Utah law requires showing, first, a breach of the standard of care [i.e. somebody made a mistake]. Next, there must be a showing that the mistake caused harm. Both of these things require expert testimony. Additionally, medical malpractice actions under Utah law must go through a 'prelitigation screening' panel prior to filing a lawsuit. An affidavit from an expert is almost always required to get through the screening panel process.
Here's where your case gets difficult. Although somebody may have made a mistake, and that mistake may have cause the infection to be worse, it will cost a tremendous amount of time and money to investigate and to retain the necessary expert witness reviews. Not to minimize what you have endured in any way, the problem becomes one where an attorney might be spending more to work up the case than they can hope to recover. So, you will have trouble locating an attorney because they worry that they cannot (1) get a recovery for your medical expenses; (2) pay the expert witness costs; (3) get an attorney fee; and, (4) put money to you for pain, suffering and other losses.
Infections typically are known risks, but a local malpractice lawyer can order the records to investigate. Avvo has a great lawyer finder tool to locate an attorney close to your home. Good luck.
I agree with Mr. Summerill - his answer hits all of the problems with your case. I just want to add that Utah is a very conservative state and the burden to prove your case is what is called by the "preponderance of the evidence" or in other words the greater weight of the evidence. Although that is the law, Utah jurors are reluctant to find doctors and healthcare facilities responsible for their mistakes, even when they cause severe harm. I have had juries tell me "well ... he (the doctor) was not drunk or anything" ... so you start to get a view of your true burden to proving your case in reality. IMHO medical malpractice cases must be severe mistakes that result in severe harm. We can thank our legislatures for slowly closing the courthouse doors on people just like yourself that even though harmed by malpractice the costs of proving the case are so onerous they are oftentimes not economically feasible.
This communication does not create an attorney / client relationship.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline