Medical Malpractice Leaves More at Stake Than Lost Time

Staff Writer | February 4th, 2013

Medical-MalpracticeIn late January, The New York Times published a blog post on medical malpractice – but from the standpoint of a physician. The sob story detailed the emotional toll a medical malpractice lawsuit can have on physicians, who on average spend more than four years involved in malpractice litigation. A radiologist interviewed for the piece complained, “I lost a year of my life [to a malpractice lawsuit].”

But another piece posted in The New York Times that same week shines a different light on the situation: malpractice as seen from a patient’s eyes. For victims of medical negligence, the nightmare lasts far longer than a year. So goes the story of Connie Spears, who was profiled after alleged medical negligence resulted in the amputation of both her legs above the knee. Spears has lost a lot more than a year of her life to litigation, as have all victims who seek a medical malpractice lawsuit settlement in New York and throughout the U.S.

Plaintiff loses legs due to alleged misdiagnosis

In 2010, Spears reported to a Texas emergency room with severe leg pain. With her history of blood clots, she was scared. But the ER doctors diagnosed her with something much less severe, and sent her on her way. Days later, a delusional and swollen Spears was loaded into an ambulance to return to the hospital. There, doctors realized the severity of her situation and identified a severe clot and resulting tissue damage. To save Spears’ life, doctors amputated both her legs above the knees.

Tort laws deadlock plaintiff’s legal battle

Spears contends that a medical mistake – misdiagnosing her condition, even with the knowledge that she suffered from blood clots – is the reason she lost her legs. And a jury might agree. The problem is, reformed tort laws in Texas make it nearly impossible for her to argue her case against the deep pockets of wealthy doctors – and the insurance companies that stand behind them.

According to new Texas expert-witness rules, Spears must prove that the ER doctors’ actions were both willful and wonton, and must also find “a practicing or teaching physician in the same specialty as the defendant to serve as an expert witness.” Furthermore, Texas law states that if the plaintiff and her medical malpractice attorney fail to meet these requirements within 120 days, the plaintiff will be liable for the defendants’ legal fees.

Medical malpractice lawsuit settlement in New York

Spears was unable to meet this tight timeframe and now, some defendants are using the law to exact financial revenge. States the Times, “With [Spears’] retirement savings tapped and her husband out of work, she is afraid they will lose their home.” Which brings us full circle back to the newspaper’s other story, which admits that only 5% of all medical errors ever make it to the litigation stage. In fact, studies have shown that most victims prefer immediate recognition of the error and a subsequent apology. And yet doctors still complain and insurance companies still hold on tight to their dollars. It seems obvious that the real victims here are the patients and not the perpetrators.

NY Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have been injured by a doctor’s mistakes or negligence, don’t hesitate to seek a jury award or medical malpractice lawsuit settlement in New York. You have a right to recover compensation for your needless injuries, pain and suffering. Remember, you should never have to pay the financial penalty for your physician’s mistakes. So don’t wait: contact the NY medical malpractice attorney team at The Sanders Firm. We are conveniently located in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens and Staten Island. Call us for your free consultation, toll-free at 1-800-Fair-Play (800-324-7752).

  1. Medical records and issues in negligence. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles

  2. Why Doctors So Often Get It Wrong. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/22/business