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Thread: Medical malpractice: Do I have a case?

  1. #1

    Question Medical malpractice: Do I have a case?

    My accident happened on July 24th 2006. I fell down the stairs at my home and broke my spine (which I didn't know right away). I drove to the emergency with back pain and difficulty breathing: the emergency doctor sent me home with a prescription for painkillers without any tests or Xrays. I went back doing all kinds of chores and activities without knowing that I had a broken spine. Two days later, I lost movement in my legs. I called 911, the paramedics took me to another hospital where an MRI showed that I had a broken spine and a compressed spinal cord which caused paralysis from the waist down.

    Had the emergency doctor immediately put me in a cast to immobilize my upper body, my paralysis could have been avoided.

    I also found out later that I had multiple myeloma, which caused my bones to break more easily, hence the the broken spine from a moderate fall.

    Do I have a case against that doctor/hospital?

    I didn't think that that I may have a case until recently, that's why I waited so long. Now there is just one month left in which I can initiate the procedures. (Must be within 2 years in Canada).

    I contacted a lawyer this week and he wants $5,000 upfront to get an expert to testify that the 2 day delay caused my paraplegia and that the doctor was negligent in not ordering Xrays or MRI, nor putting me in a cast. Before spending that money, I want to be sure I have a case.

    Please advise.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Talk to another Lawyer. I am not sure how it works in Canada, but in the US, if it is a good case, the lawyers take it on contingency, and won't require you to pay anything up front. Speak with another attorney and see what they say.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure iif you do..... It all depends on what the Dr did..

    I know of a guy, had a motorbike accident, just dirt scuff on his leathers, thats it. Did go in to ER from scene... Dr checked him, and sent him home. Few days later, like you, had problems.

    Last i had hard, he couldnt sue, cause thew Dr, didnt atually do anything, hence no practice... no malpractiice.

  4. #4
    Standard practise would call for a doctor to order xrays in a fall such as the one you described. That was a huge oversight on the part of the ER doctor and I would say you have a good case. But you need to act fast, and as mentioned before, find a lawyer who works on contingency fee basis. You can also get a feel for the strength of your case that way, because a lawyer isn't going to want to take on a case that doesn't have the likelihood of paying him off for all the work a malpractise case requires. Unless, of course, he's not in the profession for the money.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I think anyone involved would be apt to settle for more than the $5000 this lawyer wants from you.

    I kind of think though that if you're going to follow through with this, discuss it no further on the net and seek other opinions with other lawyers.

    I would think one would take the case with no money up front and then a percentage (a big one) later on.

    How are you handling the Multiple Myeloma? What province are you in if I may ask? I'm sorry this happened to you.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by lynnifer
    I think anyone involved would be apt to settle for more than the $5000 this lawyer wants from you.

    I kind of think though that if you're going to follow through with this, discuss it no further on the net and seek other opinions with other lawyers.

    I would think one would take the case with no money up front and then a percentage (a big one) later on.

    How are you handling the Multiple Myeloma? What province are you in if I may ask? I'm sorry this happened to you.
    I had a stem cell transplant and the myeloma is in remission.

    He says the $5,000 is to pay a medical expert and other documents he has to gather for the case. His big reward would come after the case is settled. I just found another lawyer who is asking only $2,500, though.

    I live in Toronto, Ontario.

    Why do you say not to discuss it any further here?
    Last edited by ricksaint; 06-25-2008 at 05:02 PM.

  7. #7
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    Because it is a public board, anyone can see this. What ever you say here, can be used in court. Say for example you accidently posted XYZ when it isn;t what you meant, later in court their lawyer could say ...."You claimed XYZ ....."
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  8. #8
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    For your sake, but it's your decision, I speculated that a future lawyer - however in some way - might come across this conversation on the net and want to make you out to be in a negative light. Of course, I could just be paranoid.

    Regarding the Myeloma, I was interested because a woman in Windsor died a few weeks ago because OHIP wouldn't pay for her stem cell transplant citing it 'experimental'. Apparently some provinces (3) cover it but not Ontario, and Michigan does ... but because she couldn't get prior approval from OHIP to cover the $200,000 cost, she died from a complication of pneumonia a couple of days after the media got involved.

    How did you get around that or did you have to incur that cost?
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  9. #9
    Yes, I agree that you have a case. No, I wouldn't pay an attorney up front. If what you've said is true then an attorney worth his/her salt would take the case on contingency. In this case it sounds like you've got multiple parts to it: 1. Fell down stairs. Why? When? How? 2. Chores when you came back home. Why? When? Type? Where? 3. Did you call your primary care provider when this happened? etc., etc.

    Lynnifer is right. The more you talk about it publicly the more watered down and diluted the story becomes and the more ammunition the defendant will have. Keep it private, stick to the facts, gather all applicable documentation and pursue it with a comprehensive and detailed account of what happened with smart, reputable counsel.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by KiranA
    Standard practise would call for a doctor to order xrays in a fall such as the one you described. That was a huge oversight on the part of the ER doctor and I would say you have a good case. But you need to act fast, and as mentioned before, find a lawyer who works on contingency fee basis. You can also get a feel for the strength of your case that way, because a lawyer isn't going to want to take on a case that doesn't have the likelihood of paying him off for all the work a malpractise case requires. Unless, of course, he's not in the profession for the money.

    Good luck!

    I very much agree with Kiran! that should have been standard. especially with the pain you had. seems like alot of times hospitals use rent-a Dr's for thier ER's. and it sucks! just one thing, don't try going with the cheapest lawyer, he might be excatly what you get! I had a very good case had to spend over that amount just to get records of mine, and still it went no-where. Because my att. couldn't find a good lawyer to go across state lines in the other st where I was taken, so I just lost out. unless I wanted one of those TV clowns that advertize

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