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Potential Medical Malpractice

RT800RT800 Registered User regular
edited July 2023 in Help / Advice Forum
So my mother has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

She's been complaining of digestive and bowel problems for well over a year. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic Insufficiency Syndrome and Irritable Bowl Syndrome at one point, though I'm not sure by which doctor.

Months prior to this recent cancer diagnosis, she'd been seeing a gastroenterologist to try and figure out why she was having problem like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

According to her, every time she went to this doctor, she would only get to speak to his Physician's Assistant - the doctor himself would never deign to come into the room and speak with her in-person. In multiple visits over multiple months, she never once got to see this asshole face-to-face.

As far as I know, his took stool samples and blood samples and ran a few tests. Eventually he concluded (without ever actually meeting her) that the problem was her gallbladder and that she should have it removed. He relayed this information through his fucking PA, of course.

My mother was rightfully skeptical, since none of her symptoms seemed consistent with gallbladder problems. For instance, the pain she was experiencing wasn't even on the same side as her goddamn gallbladder, and she would often tell the PA that the pain felt more gynecological than intestinal. When she questioned his diagnosis of her having a bad gallbladder, he even had the nerve to get a little pissy - as though my mom was just being stubborn in not having it automatically removed.

Some months later, she sought a different doctor who performed a CT scan and found an almost football-sized tumor originating from one of her ovaries. When we asked how long it had been there, he said it had probably been growing for months.

I am not privy to all the details regarding interactions between my mother and her gastroenterologist and will need to seek more details, but from what l've been told, he sounds like a negligent piece of shit who shouldn't be practicing medicine.

I realize that most people here are neither medical professionals nor lawyers, but I wondered if this seemed like a situation in which it might be worthwhile for me to seek a lawyer to try and address this gastroenterologist's apparent utter fucking incompetence.

RT800 on

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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    well you probably need a lawyer who will pretty quickly give you their take

    ordinarily a missed cancer diagnosis is not going to trigger a malpractice suit if the correct tests were done

    i think its a little suspicious that they only did blood tests and did not do any sort of physical scan, along with no direct physical examination by a doctor definitely seems like a smoking gun to me worth at *least* a consult with a lawyer

    i once went to a gastro *specifically* complaining about my gallbladder but with much less severe symptoms and they still scoped me

    if your case is good, you'll find a lawyer to take it, that's pretty much all it comes down to

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    AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist The Skies of HiigaraRegistered User regular
    A medical lawyer definitely is the route to go.

    Also, see if you can get ahold of all the visit summary documents - ideally the original printouts, or the records in the health system's archives. Every time I go to a doc, I'm given a few pages of documentation summarizing the visit, comments, etc. Theoretically modern health service systems should have a record of any alterations/edits, but having the physical records creates a trail of behavior.

    He/Him | "A boat is always safest in the harbor, but that’s not why we build boats." | "If you run, you gain one. If you move forward, you gain two." - Suletta Mercury, G-Witch
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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited July 2023
    It's free to talk to a lawyer. You do get lawyers who will charge for a consultation it's the exception (especially in medical malpractice where so much is done on contingency) and when they ask you for a check it's because the case is at least worth doing the due diligence on.

    Gather up everything you can and get a consultation. You'll want records of all tests done and all visits, if there's some kind of electronic patient portal you might be able to just log the lawyer in and let them access files directly (ask when you call, and if in doubt print it out).

    Get everything - malpractice is complicated, and even if you only ever meet one doctor there's a dozen other potential defendants depending on the exact details of the case. And if by some chance there's something in there that would diminish you case, it *will* come up if you don't bring it up, do not hide things from your potential lawyer.

    As a layman, your case shares some aspects with my own successful malpractice case from a few years ago - lack of direct attention on the case, incomplete test sets, and diagnoses not supported by presentation.

    Hevach on
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    RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    Thank you.

    I will definitely be gathering as much information as I can regarding my mother's visits with this doctor.

    I'm not sure if it will make a difference, but she's complained for months of his inattentiveness and dismissal of her complaints.

    For him to have completely missed a tumor so fucking large (or his PA since, again, this fucking doctor would never even meet with my mother) is just kind of mind-boggling to me.

    But as you guys have said, I still need to gather all the specific information I can regarding each of her interactions with his office.

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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited July 2023
    A reminder for future reference (will obviously not help here at this stage): you always have a right to a second opinion. You can ask your doctor for a referral, which is easiest. They are allowed to refuse this referral, but that's not the end of the road. If they were a specialist your GP can give a SO referral to a different specialist, or your insurance can do this, or you can just call around and ask (but this may require going through a new GP, making this potentially quite slow, but faster than this cae took!).

    If a doctor refuses a second opinion referral and is found to be at fault, a malpractice lawyers eyes will actually do the Looney Tunes dollar sign thing.

    Hevach on
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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Hi, nurse anesthetist here with over a decade of experience.

    Not meeting the doctor is more or less the normal now in general care. I don't think that's actionable other than him being an asshole.

    Now, not scanning a patient with chronic abdominal pain after all that other diagnostic work... That's much more suspicious.

    If I were you I would do the following.

    1) Contact the hospital medical records department and request all medical records to be printed or copied for you. Depending on what electronic record system these places use that could take months.

    2) While waiting, contact a local lawyer to get a referral for a medical legal specialist. Some of these people are sketchy as hell so use your intuition.

    My overall take is if you had gotten a scan and it was missed, well, everyone's human and things get missed. But the fact they never did a scan is more of a problem to me.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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