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How to Know When to Sue for Medical Malpractice

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I’m in a quandry. Ya’ll know how I sort of spiraled into a depression a few months ago? And I’ve been struggling to get out of it. Well, I’m mostly on the other side of the fence and I’m starting to feel and be me again, and that’s fantastic. But now I have to face the things that brought me to the point of being depressed, or else I risk it happening again. And writing things out is one of the ways I work through things in my head. So here’s what’s going on right now with me, and at the end, I ask for your opinion on it, so please read this and give me a considered opinion. I would really appreciate it!

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I don’t know if I should sue for medical malpractice for several things that happened to me at one facility that caused harm to me and resulted in surgeon-2-391476-mPTSD and other physical trauma as well, which persists some to this day–including a scar that will never go away. It was, in my opinion, obvious malpractice. I’m running close to the statute of limitations on this, so I have to decide if I want to move forward soon. But how do you know when it’s right to sue versus when you’re just ‘sue happy’ as many Americans accuse others of? I don’t want to be one of those people that others blame for rising healthcare costs because I’m suing for something, but at the same time, I was emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically damaged due to incompetence and error–as well as a marked lack of compassion–and I do believe I deserve some sort of a recompense for that. Note I didn’t say compensation, because really it’s paying me back for the damage caused, not giving me something in exchange for it.

After it first happened, I could barely even talk about it. I was wheeled out on a gurney and burst into tears the moment I saw Lynn standing there. She held me, hugged me, cried with me in the recovery area. I mentioned it at the time and was assured nothing like that should have happened, but I was unable due to my emotional state to stand up for myself. I know that sounds like a cop out. Anyone who knows me online would think that I am this strong, outspoken person, and for the most part, I am. But when YOU are the VICTIM, it changes things. You are in a vulnerable situation, and you feel raw and exposed and violated. And it’s hard to stand up for yourself when you’re like that. And for months after I COULD talk about it, I couldn’t talk about it without crying. To this day, I have to choke back tears whenever I tell someone the story, and I’ve tried to write it on this blog several times and I can’t get through it.

I can’t write it….

That’s how you know it was REALLY traumatic for me. I can’t write it.

But then, about two years later, I decided to allow them to do a second procedure, something different this time, but something I was assured would be very easy, in and out, everything would be fine.

And it wasn’t. It wasn’t fine at all.

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Yep, they did this to me….

I was left feeling exposed and violated again, used, lied to, manipulated… I feel they made me sign things with the promise of doing things one way just to get me to sign the papers, but then once you’re in the operating room and strapped down to the table, anything can happen and you are literally powerless to do anything about it. Once they have your legs and arms and belly strapped to the table, arms out at the side, unable to move, difficult to breathe or talk, they can do just about anything to you they want–and I liken it to being tortured in my brain now.

And for a long time after the third and final time things were bad, I decided that it was just me. I mean, when I talked to anyone about it and started to cry, I was almost instantly invalidated. They don’t understand me though. I cry when I’m angry. I hate it. I hate it because everyone misunderstands and wants to comfort me, and I want to punch them for it!

But when I would tell people, I was get the consolation, “There, there…. it’s all right… everyone is scared during medical procedures, that’s just how it is…” and they actually convinced me that this was just how it is, that I was just dealing with my own active imagination and anxiety, and that I was the one being unreasonable.

They almost made me believe it.

Until I finally decided enough was enough, that I deserved better. I went to a new facility, a whole new facility with all my treatment, and I had the same three procedures done there with absolutely flawless precision and zero complications and a hell of a lot of understanding and compassion for my anxiety AND my past trauma. They talked me through everything, just like I asked them to, they gave my anxiety medication to help relax the anxiety I had about the procedure, and they did everything they could to make it as easy on me as possible. And when I realized how easy it really WAS and was supposed to be, I got even angrier at the other place for the trauma I had experienced.

If I’d never known anything better, I’d have never known the difference, and I would have died thinking *I* was the problem.

I sometimes wonder if that’s the case with some domestic violence situations too. The victims just don’t know that it’s supposed to be better than that. They just don’t know an difference. There’s a line in a song that is poignant to me about that… it says, “She never even knew she had a choice/ And that’s what happens when the only voice she hears is telling her she can’t…”

Anyway, that’s for an entirely different blog and different theme, but that’s where I was. I was a victim, and I finally KNEW that. It took me a while to get there, but now that I’m there, I’m angry.

But it’s worse than that. You see, after getting the results from all these tests finally being done at the new facility, it becomes increasingly clear that the REASON I have CTEPH and had the PEs that caused it in the first case is THEIR FAULT! THEY MESSED UP and I nearly paid the ultimate price for it. I’m fortunate that I lived through it, but in exchange, my life, my body, my existence has been radically altered in a nega924207_angrytive way.

I’m fucking angry… you have no idea. And I want them to pay. I want them to pay for every medical procedure I have to have from now until the day I die. And if I die early, which is pretty easy to do with a chronic terminal illness, then I want them to pay my family for the loss of my life.

But it’s not about money. I don’t need or care about money, though I’d take it if they offered it to me. What I want is for them to fix it–to take me back in time and make me well again and fucking listen to me when I tell them something is wrong and not just pat me on the back and tell me that I need to lose weight! When I tell them I think I’ve thrown another clot, don’t just patronize me and tell me that the warfarin (which I failed on) is at therapeutic levels–fucking test me! When your own x-ray doctor tells you the V/Q scan shows active NEW clots, don’t send your patient HOME and blow them off and say they are nothing, while the other doctor looks at the patient and says he won’t be responsible for sending me home! I was sent home! I could go on and on… but the clencher is, I am 100% certain that I and a good malpractice attorney can prove that I did not have to get CTEPH, that I could have prevented both the first and second and third round of clots that were thrown, and I if I hadn’t prevented the PEs, I could have easily treated them and had them resolve instead of getting CTEPH, if the doctors had listened to me at several key steps along the way and actually TESTED me for the things I said were wrong instead of blowing me off.

But I can’t go back in time and going to court and suing will never make me whole or healthy again.

So what I care about now is this: This place was a TEACHING facility. THIS TRAUMA I experienced is what they are teaching the students there. THAT is what’s going out into the world and one day might treat you, your children or grandchildren, and they are learning to be with them the way they were with me. And this is a world-class facility that people would come to from all around. It’s a public university system, which also means it treats some of our poorest patients too, people who don’t often have a financial leg to stand upon and fight from.

But I have that financial leg to fight. I can do that.

puzzle-heart-1440815-1-mWhat I wonder is if I have the strength to fight.

And it’s more than just the emotional strength, because in a normal world, I am emotionally strong enough to withstand what they throw at me. But it will be HARD. I mean, damned hard, under the best of circumstances. But I’m sick. Physically, I have to have oxygen 24/7. Some days, getting out of bed is hard, and I don’t think court is going to care that I am not feeling well–I’ll be expected to be there. It means being called dramatic. It means them using all my weaknesses against me, such as blaming the difficulty of the procedure on ME for things like the fluid overload (lifestyle) or my weight (I’m obese–most people are there days), or they’ll blame it on my ‘anxiety disorder’, which I didn’t actually ever have until this first procedure failed so miserably. I can prove my case, I know it, but it will mean having to defend myself.

That fight will take a lot out of me. And I don’t know how much time I have left or what the quality of that time will be. It’s already deteriorated quite a bit this year, and I worry it will just keep getting worse from here. Do I want to spend what’s possibly the last years of my life fighting in court systems? Is my life worth saving other lives along the way and will it really make any difference to hold them accountable for what they did? Will it change anything for the positive?

I don’t know how to answer these questions. I don’t know what to do.

My family is no help. My mother basically was the one who told me she thinks I have a lawsuit. But RT & Lynn both say that they worry the fight will take too much of me and too much out fo me. They worry for my sanity through it all when the other side begins to tear me down. Arguably, it will be hard for them too, especially Lynn, since she’s really the one who supports me through all the medical stuff. She’s my rock, my shoulder, my crying partner, my squishy hand during procedures, my advocate and my caregiver extraordinaire. I would be dead without her, she’s that amazing.

So I don’t know what to do and I would seriously love to hear your opinions. I know you don’t have all the facts, but just try to imagine yourself in my shoes–then imagine you have the flu, all the time, every time you have to go to the attorney or court or whatever they require. Now… can you fight for yourself while you have the flu?

What are your thoughts? Opinions? ideas? worries? concerns? Things I might not have considered? Attorney referrals? lol

Love and stuff,
Michy

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2 Responses to “How to Know When to Sue for Medical Malpractice”

  1. Buffy says:

    I know I’m not who you wanted to hear from, exactly, but here goes. I will support you in whatever you decide to do, straight up. That being said, because you day it’s not about the money, but rather about making the point, about educating the public as well as the educators, then I think there are more powerful, if not provocative, ways of doing that, especially add a writer. Nothing you would say would be factually incorrect or untrue, so it could not be libel… So tell your story, promote it, name names, write scripts, life really is stranger than fiction and you have a compelling story… Compare your case to mine: two women with blood clots and PEs, one recovers, one doesn’t, contrast the differences in treatment, even by the SAME doctors! Rake them over the coals of public opinion and let their peers pressure them into changing for the better. We know there’s a better standard of care out there, now. We know that other, better doctors would never condone what was done to you. We know even many of the students who were there st the time didn’t condone what was done to you at the time because it was part of the reason we decided to change facilities and doctors. Yes, you absolutely can sue, but at what additional cost to you and your health and abundance? No, my vote is that you take this to the court of public opinion in the largest possible way. Get a TV miniseries from it and give them the finger.

  2. Lea Ann says:

    I think Lynn has a good point, but I would still try to talk to an attorney, the best malpractice attorney you can find. It’s just disgusting how you have been treated and because of that your life has been forever altered.

    Is there any kind of advocacy group for things like this?

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