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Old 30.12.2008, 08:57
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Advice needed: Medical Malpractice?

The story, it's a long one, so get comfy:

On the 26th, my dad (60 years old) slipped on some ice and hit his head.

The ambulance came and took him to the nearest hospital (Hospital A). They did some tests, found some bleeding in his brain. He was in the intensive care unit for a couple of days. Hospital A doesn't have a trauma ward, so they were working in conjunction with Hospital B, which does. They told us from the beginning if he were to get bad, they would send him to Hospital B.

In the ICU he slept a lot, but he was aware of almost everything. He knew his name, birthday, where he was, me, my mom, my daughter, etc. All in all, he was improving, albeit slowly. He is also a diabetic and requires insulin, which they were providing. After 2 days in ICU, they moved him to a "normal" ward. He spent one night there. Then yesterday morning we received a call that they transferred him because he didn't know where he was, he was getting agitated, and basically unresponsive. So they sent him to Hospital B to the trauma ward. When my mother and I arrived at Hospital B we immediately knew something wasn't "right" with my dad. It turns out that Hospital A stopped giving him the insulin which sent him into a diabetic coma and triggered Acidosis. Symptoms of not receiving insulin include all those that Hospital A staff reported which lead them to send him to Hospital B.

He's been in Hospital B since yesterday afternoon, and they are still working on getting his blood-sugar regulated, then they will worry about his head. My question is: do we have any legal recourse with Hospital A over this? Not only did they move him to another hospital under the wrong conditions (incurring more charges), but they could have killed my father by stopping his insulin.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 30.12.2008, 09:11
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Re: Advice needed: Medical Malpractice?

A sad story! Have you seen this thread?

What happens when a Routine Operation goes wrong?
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Old 30.12.2008, 09:17
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Re: Advice needed: Medical Malpractice?

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A sad story! Have you seen this thread?

What happens when a Routine Operation goes wrong?

Actually, I did last night. I got kind of lost in the all of the jibes about vasectomy from the resident smart-arses .

This case also differs in that it's emergency care, and not a scheduled procedure, and there's really no way to get a second opinion.

Thanks again.
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Old 30.12.2008, 09:36
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Re: Advice needed: Medical Malpractice?

Ignore the vasectomy remarks and focus on my post on page 1

I think chances are good that you won't have to pay for the full treatment in hospital B. Compensations for immaterial damages however are lower and rarer than in the US. Nonetheless I think you are doing the right thing by investigating your options because the stay at hospital B probably is expensive.

In the Saldo article linked in my other post, they among others recommend this advisory center.

Is your father insured in Switzerland, and does the insurance know about the malpractice? (I'm not sure if they can help but you probably don't want them to pay.) Have you talked about compensations with hospital A, surely they didn't just inform you that your father is in coma and hospital B now?
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Old 30.12.2008, 10:54
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Re: Advice needed: Medical Malpractice?

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I think chances are good that you won't have to pay for the full treatment in hospital B. Compensations for immaterial damages however are lower and rarer than in the US. Nonetheless I think you are doing the right thing by investigating your options because the stay at hospital B probably is expensive.

Is your father insured in Switzerland, and does the insurance know about the malpractice? (I'm not sure if they can help but you probably don't want them to pay.) Have you talked about compensations with hospital A, surely they didn't just inform you that your father is in coma and hospital B now?
We're not interested in punitive damages (much). We just don't think we should pay for them screwing up. And they did screw up...badly.

He's not insured in CH. He has US military insurance (disabled Vet.) and we are already talking to them. We are about to go to Hospital A to discuss the billing. We are still unsure about lodging the complaint. The doctor at Hospital B said he wanted to review the case file overnight to see if there were some medical reason they would have stopped the insulin. He did say on a cursory review that he does not know why they did. Only after he's had a chance to look into it will we go after them.

Since he isn't insured here, we're having to pay everything up front...at 2 hospitals now. Then my folks will make the claim when they get back to the US.

Hospital A transferred him then informed us after he was already gone. Had we have known, or been there, we would have been able to tell it was the insulin. Hell, when Hospital A called and told us about the transfer and the symptoms the first thing my mom said was "have they checked his blood-sugar?"
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