Legal Question in Medical Malpractice in North Carolina

A family member had surgery that resulted in a MRSA infection in her chest lining. She "lived" for 1.5 years with a chest drainage tube but (as predicted) she ultimately died as a result of the MRSA. Can the family (estate) be compensated for medical malpractice?

Asked on 5/25/11, 2:41 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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I don't know as you do not provide enough information. A person's heirs have 2 years to bring a wrongful death claim. You do not indicate when the family member died so I do not know if you meet the time limits. NC also has a statute of repose which cuts off actions after 4 years from the time that the malpractice was committed. I assume your family member lived in NC and that NC law would govern; if not, consult a med mal attorney in the area where your family member resided as each state has different laws.

Assuming you can overcome this hurdle, the next difficulty will be in proving malpractice. Just because your family member got MRSA does not mean that the hospital or doctor did anything wrong. Your relative's medical records must be reviewed by a medical expert familiar with the standard of care employed at the hospital where your relative had surgery. If they opine that their was medical negligence, then you can sue. You cannot bring suit unless a medical expert certifies that in fact there was negligence under NC Rule 9j.

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5/25/11, 4:41 pm

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