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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39034
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My mother-in law who is currently 85 years old has been readmitted

Customer Question

My mother-in law who is currently 85 years old has been readmitted 7 times within the last 6 weeks to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Her diagnosis has gone from candidate for Open Heart Surgery, to managing her leaking valves and COPD with medication, to some diriticilitis (not sure how you spell that) Intestinal prolem. She was released from Santa Rosa Memorial this Tuesday and sent over per my request to Spring Lake Rehabilitaiton Center. She did not eat for 2-3 days (wed, thursday and today) and was severly dehydrated. I asked the nurse yesterday since she had only taken in as far as fluids 150 cc's on Wed and aprox 360 cc's on Thursday, why didn't they have her an an I.V. ? She also was complaining of severe cramping in her abdomen. They prescribed a pain medication of tylenol and said they had to wait an 1hr before they could administer any other pain medication and the order had to come from the Doctor, who had seen her the day before. She was rushed for an appointment today to see one of the idiot cardiologists for an appt, per my screaming to every Doctor who's seen her, that she needed to see someone NOW. Dr. Santos Domingos who was also one of the cardiac doctors who has seen Frankie in the past 7 days, said that her lungs and heart were fine and that she needed to go to ER today for an examination, tests, etc. She sat in that hospital for over 6 hours before she was seen in the ER. I spoke to the Triage Nurses several times and told them they needed to reacess her pain. She told them on her pain level was an 8 on a scale of 1-10 and gave her nothing. Just the fact that she was severely dehydrated could have killed her. 7 hours later she was admitted to the ER and they are now running labs and will most likely do a cat scan. They also informed us that she could be dischared tonight. I have contacted the case worker tonight on her voicemail that she is not going to be discharged tonight. don't bother calling us back tonight because we will not be picking her up. That they were to admit her in that hospital and she will not be going anywhere until I speak to the Hospital Administrator, or President of that facility regarding the lack of care/communication, etc. Would you recommend that I seek a lawyer?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.

You may have a malpractice claim against the hospital or the ER physician. However, such cases can be very difficult to prove, unless there is a substantial injury to the patient/plaintiff.

ER physicians get considerable latitude in their efforts, because they're duty is to stabilize the patient, not necessarily cure, or determine a specific course of care.

The issue for a physician considering an 85 year old patient's need for something like open heart surgery is that the chance of surviving the operation is probably low, so that it may be less risky to manage the patient on medication, rather than try to repair her heart. This may be something that the patient should consider before trying to force the issue, because at her age, the surgery may really be the last decision of her life.

Typically, jumping to hiring an attorney while the emotional circumstances remain "hot," is not the best plan. Most lawyers will back away from such a case out of a fear of being sanctioned by the State Bar for advocating legal action with a client who is not in a state of mind to make such important and costly decisions.

That said, the decision to seek legal representation is yours (actually, it's your mother-in-law's, unless you have a durable power of attorney appointing you as your m-i-l's representative).

For a medical malpractice attorney referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.

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