Question
My son recently had back surgery but now he’s hurt worse than he was before the surgery.  I feel like the doctor failed to do his job properly and I’ve tried to obtain an attorney to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.  However, the attorneys I’ve talked to have reviewed the records and refused to accept the case.  Why is that and what can I do?
Answer
You should get a second legal opinion.  Doctors, just like attorneys and other professionals, have an obligation to do their job with reasonable care based on their expertise and training.  Unfortunately on occasion a mistake is made and all too often in the medical field, serious consequences result because of the risk involved. It is very important to remember that no one, particularly a doctor, can guarantee results.  Therefore, each situation must be evaluated on its individual merits taking into account the risk involved, the expertise required, and the errors, if any, made.

When evaluating a medical malpractice case, the attorney must examine whether the patient was fully informed of the procedures and gave informed consent.  Informed consent requires a full explanation of the procedure to be performed and the risks it involves. If informed consent was provided the conduct of the doctors, nurses, and other professionals involved  must be evaluated.  Although no medical procedure comes with an absolute guarantee of success often a careful review of the records may disclose errors which cause serious consequences for which legal action is appropriate.

If you believe medical malpractice may have occurred, you should try to obtain your medical records and then visit with an attorney who has expertise in that area for an initial evaluation.  Often that attorney will then have the medical records and the information you provide evaluated by another medical professional, usually another doctor, to determine whether the proper standard of care was met.  There are often disagreements about whether the standard of care was met so you should hesitate to seek a second opinion if you have any doubts.

If you would like to submit a question for “You and the Law”, call us at 1-800-833-9151or contact us online. While we will not be able to answer all questions sent in, we hope to answer those that impact the greatest number of readers.  In reading this article please remember we are providing general answers to broad questions,  your individual situation is unique and cannot be dealt with throughly in the space of a newspaper article.

When you are facing a serious legal issue, you should always consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances and how they impact the general principles discussed in this article.  You should not hesitate to call me directly at Waldman Smallwood, P.C. and I will be happy to visit with you.

If you have any questions about a legal matter call Waldman Smallwood at 1-800-833-9151or contact us online.

Tom Oxford, Attorney
Waldman Smallwood Law Firm, P.C.

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