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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 34960
Experience:  16 yrs. of legal experience.
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I have recently had hip replacement surgery. I have degenerative

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I have recently had hip replacement surgery. I have degenerative arthritis in both hips and my back. I first found out about i years ago. I had to go to a clinic for help because I had no insurance. They had a program called "Orsa" of which they pick up the tab. They had a specialist that sent me to UCLA Hospital to get the surgery. I went there on numerous occcasions and had to be put on a list for the surgery. The situation of the Arthritis got pretty bad. I went back per the clinic's request for them to recheck me because my arthritis was causing me quite alot of problems. They put my surgery out to 3 years after I went back to them. They did that I know because in three years I would be eligible for medicare and they would'nt have to foot the bill.
While I have had to wait that long, my arthritis has gone from my hip to the other hip and to my back. I feel had they performed the surgery in a timely fashion I would not be in the shape I am in now.
Even though I have finally had my surgery in May of this year (2013) I am now still in alot of pain in my back,other hip and my knee. I can't even have the other hip done for 6 to 1year because my bones in the hip that was done had degenerated sooo far that they said that if they didn't do the surgery asap, they wouldn't be able to.
So my question is do I have a case against UCLA Harbor Hospital or are they too big of an organization that it would be impossible to sue them?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

In response to your question

"do I have a case against UCLA Harbor Hospital or are they too big of an organization that it would be impossible to sue them?"

It is not the size of the all. The issue is "can you prove negligence"

The size of the hospital is not significant...even the smallest hospitals and sole practitioner doctors have insurance that will pay lawyers to defend malpractice claims.

Lets back up...

To successfully sue for medical malpractice, you must meet four part test:

1. A duty was owed - a legal duty exists whenever a hospital or health care provider undertakes care or treatment of a patient. They have a "duty" to treat you with "due care". This is typically easy to prove.

2. The duty was breached - the provider failed to conform to the relevant standard of care. The standard of care is proved by expert testimony or by obvious errors (the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur or 'the thing speaks for itself'). This is often the tough part...since you have to prove, with expert testimony, that, basically, the doctor messed this up...that they were "negligent".

3. The breach caused or aggravated an injury - The breach of duty was a proximate cause of the injury. If you can show they messed up, its often easy to the next step...that the mess up caused the injury. Not always, each case is different, but certainly if you can show they messed it up, you are well on your way to show that the mistake caused the injury.

4. Damages - Without damages (losses which may be pecuniary or emotional), there is no basis for a claim, regardless of whether the medical provider was negligent.

This is often the second hardest part to prove, since you need to have serious injury to convince an attorney to bring the case.

Based on your description, it appears you may indeed have a case. If you can show that the doctor misdiagnosed the seriousness of the condition (that it surgery would need to be conducted quickly) OR that the hospital was negligent in getting you in for the procedure in a timely fashion? AND that the delay caused your current medical problems, you would have a strong case.

That second part is is clear you were have to show BOTH that the provider (doctor or hospital or both) delayed this improperly AND that the delay resulted in complications that has left you in a much worse position than you would have been had they conducted the operation in a timely manner.

I understand you have spoken to one may want to try several more.

What you describe it sounds like there may have been improper would need to have an attorney and a doctor (the attorney will be the one to provide the records to a doctor) review the medical records to see if you have a case worth brining.

What I mean by this is you need to prove damages enough to warrant the case. Malpractice suits are expensive to unless there is clear evidence of malpractice and clear evidence of harm to you, it may be you have a case, but it not worth filing (since in order to file the case the attorney will want to be compensated...they need a case worth tens of thousands of dollars to start)

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