Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in California

My mom went into the ER with stroke symptoms, when she was admitted she was able to walk, talk and eat. ER doctors knew her medical conditions diabetes, hypertension and high-blood pressure. They also knew she had stopped taking her high blood pressure medicine. They did a CT and found only an old stroke from a few years back but nothing new. As the day progressed her conditioned worsened, but the doctors made it seem to my parents as it was no big deal (note both of my parents don't speak english well), so neither my brother or I was ever contacted. By the next morning she was not able to talk, walk or eat and it wasn't until that morning that they had the MRI done. And it was until mid-morning towards afternoon that the hospital was able to confirm that she had a stroke and was then administering stroke medicine. Can I sue the hospital for delay in treatment?

Asked on 12/11/10, 6:49 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services
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Mr. Anderson earns the label he gives himself. The delay was, of course, not the cause of the stroke. The question is whether the delay in diagnosing and treating the new stroke was negligent and whether it caused damages. Your question does not provide enough facts to even begin to guess at the answer to those two key questions.

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Answered on 12/16/10, 7:48 pm
Herb Fox Law Office of Herb Fox
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The only way to answer the question of causation, as Mr. McCormick lays out, is by the opinion of an expert that the delay fell below the standard of care and caused damages. Your mother would need to consult a good medical malpractice (not legal malpractice) attorney to get the process underway.

But a caveat - you ask if "I" can sue. and if you are seeking money for yourself for purposes other than taking care of your mother's needs, forget it. She is still alive, as far as your question suggests, and the doctors did not have any duty to call you if, as it appears, your father was at the hospital, unless perhaps the hospital received a durable power of attorney for health care that named you as the responsible party for health care decisions. Even then, it is not you who would be entitled to damages. If she is not now competent to handle her affairs, as appears likely, you need to get a conservator appointed unless you or someone else already have those powers.

Again, you should consult a good med mal attorney in your area.

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Answered on 12/16/10, 10:44 pm

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