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Lives of Doctor Wives: My husband is getting sued!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My husband is getting sued!!!

I know...your TOTALLY jealous, right?

Try not to be.

Two years ago, while an intern, hubby attended to a patient who had a problem. The patient had a worse problem after my hubby went home for the night. Patient has since recovered with no more problems. Said patient is why our entire health care system is in jeopardy.

Anyone who even breathed near the patients' door is named in the suit...seriously.

Did hubby freak out? Yes
Did hubby spend an entire afternoon going over the papers he was served? Yes, this happened during one of his four days of vacation. Kewl, huh?
Did hubby drink several beers and run his hands thru his hair? Yes
Did hubby spend an entire day going over patient records and rechecking his notes? Yes, another day of vacation burned
Is hubby worried? Yes and No. The program he is in has lawyers working on it. Yes, he is covered by their malpractice insurance.
Did hubby have to fill out many many extra pages when filling for his DPS/DEA numbers? Yes

Was this a pain in the #ss? Yes

Hubby also spent many hours typing out his statement of what happened during the shift. He remembers it quite well.

And of course all this happens on the heels of (finally) signing a contract with his new job that he will be starting in August. They didn't seem to mind, strangely enough.

So...anybody else's hubby/s.o. been sued yet?

I know it will happen to all doctors at least once during their career...but his hasn't even started yet. I'm not worried, just another bump in the road.

cheers! amber (an almost survivor)

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13 Comments:

Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Fully recovered? Why are they suing then? In my experience (as an attorney) people usually sue because 1) they have permanent damage and/or 2) someone was a jerk and or lied to them.

This is what malpractice insurance is for, but that doesn't make it any less nerve racking. Chances are your husband had nothing to do with it but he will most likely have to waste hours being deposed.

May 26, 2009 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger MW said...

Ugh, that sucks!

The legal system, I feel, is a great way to keep companies and individuals in check, so if a friend was wronged in some way where I felt they could win a lawsuit, I would encourage them to talk to a lawyer to find out their options. So far, this has only come up in hypotheticals, but R is really defensive of doctors because of cases like this. Unfortunately for all parties, bogus cases will continue to exist.

Like Marissa, I'm also confused about why the patient is suing if s/he made a full recovery. Does s/he want to be reimbursed for the medical bills?

I'm so sorry he's going through this! I'm sure it will be okay, though.

May 26, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger --Leann-- said...

No, hasnt happened to us yet. But I know it will. Hubby's boss went through a law suit just last year, he made the hearing mandatory attendance for all residents who were not working. It was a real eye-opener for my husband.

It usually (according to what hubby was told) boils down to standard of care. If the doctor did everything within the known standard of care, then he *should* win the case. But it will be long and grueling. Yes, they name everyone whose name is on the chart in order to get a contradictory piece of information. Yes, they will comb over the entire patient's chart. Yes, if called to testify, he will have a lawyer asking him medical questions that they have no clue about (sorry to the lawyers out there).

But, in the end, if you husband practiced the standard of care, and did a little CYA (thorough chart writing) it should be ok.

At least, that's what we were told.

Good luck. Will you keep us posted on how things go? y'know, so we know what to expect from the spousal side when this happens to us.

*hugs*

May 26, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Since my husband is an OB/GYN, I'm just waiting for the day when he tells me a patient's suing him for something. Because OBs care for two people at once, they're malpractice insurance is usually pretty high because of possible complications arising during birth and problems with mom and/or baby. When he was in his first year of residency, he was working with an attending who, apparently, didn't do a C-section right away (I think that's what happened). Anyway, whatever actually happened, the baby died. The attending ended up losing his privileges at the hospital because of that incident and several previous others. The mother eventually sued him and the hospital, and because my husband had been there during the patients' care, his name was put on the suit as a possible witness, I think, although he may actually have been included in the lawsuit. Being in residency, he was covered by the hospital's malpractice insurance and lawyers. In the entire four years of his residency, we heard bits and pieces of what was going on with the suit, but nothing ever seemed to come of it. He's now practicing in another state, so we don't even know if he could be called in to testify against the attending doctor, now. It's a strange situation. For all I know, the suit was dropped a long time ago. Sorry my post is so vague. It's been a while since this happened. I just know that I was more worried about it than my husband, since even though he was there when the incident happened, he wasn't really directly involved. I think if he were ever called in to court, it would be to testify against the attending who was directly involved in the patient's care.

May 26, 2009 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger aj said...

hi and thanks for your responses...i'm not sure why the patient is suing..i assume for medical bill repayment. hubby thinks someone talked them into it and is trying to make money. patient claims certain specialists were not called when they should have been, and then the problem wouldn't have happened in the first place. i am being vague cause hubby doesn't even want me talking about it to anyone..sorry, i wish i could tell you the whole story.

anyway...cheers!

the lawsuit is in the very early stages, so i will keep y'all up to date on anything exciting that happens!

May 26, 2009 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Nothing exciting ever happens to us, hehe, jk! We will keep you in our prayers that things go smoothly!

May 26, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

Amber, You're not alone and this won't be the last time. Unfortunately, some patients are made to think that when they sue a doctor, the money comes from an imaginery pot provided by insurance. You either have to get thick-skinned or have him change careers. My husband was just starting out when he was sued in a similar fashion. He almost left practice when he was sued by a man he diagnosed with cancer he found during a routine visit. It really hurt him more than the patient will ever know.

My advice to you and to all wives is to protect your assets by keeping things in your name, rather than your husband's. I used to think that was a shady thing to do until I dealt with unfounded lawsuits like the one I just mentioned. Hate to tell you, but the MD on the end of the name attracts all kinds of lawsuits, even when it has nothing to do with medicine. Doctors may take an oath to do no harm, but apparently the general public doesn't feel obligated to do the same.

May 26, 2009 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

Yikes. I'm sorry to hear this happened. I'm dreading the day this happens to us, and I'm a lawyer so I shouldn't dread lawsuits! I'm sure it takes an emotional toil on the entire family. Hope things turn out OK.

May 27, 2009 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

So, I just found out I was totally wrong about what happened to my husband. The attending doctor DID lose his privileges because he didn't do a C-section when he should have and a baby died. However, the family never sued him. He actually sued the hospital because he felt he lost his privileges unfairly. My husband was named in the suit as a witness, though he wasn't really there to actually see anything. We haven't heard anything about it since we moved, so I don't know if the attending is still suing the hospital or not.

May 27, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger aj said...

kathi,

good call on putting things into my name...never thought about it before...hmmmm...

and amanda, you sound like me. i'm always getting details wrong, and storied mixed up! the attending is extremely lucky the family didn't sue.

May 29, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

If he is going into private practice, talk to an attorney about setting up a "P.A." This will protect him from any lawsuit that his partner(s) may be involved with, and I believe also protects personal assets.

Not if, but when. Ugh. It's all part of the package, unfortunately.

May 29, 2009 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Not looking forward to that part...

May 29, 2009 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger John Napier said...

Child who has been brain dead, unable to move or breath by himself or any cognitive function is brought in.

Child goes home in same state with parents.
Parents are getting a yearly stipend and 24 hour care and housing paid due to a serious problem 5 years ago. However once child dies, payments stop.

6 months later, the child dies. Parents are suing everyone at every hospital they went to in the last 5 years.

My doctor wife was named as a primary. She didnt even do the work, she was the attending on duty who oversaw the residents work.
There is no way I can adaquatly express the pain, horror, doubt, etc. of our lives. The process is supposed to take up to 4 years and the hospital could fire her at any time.

Is there any support group for people who are going through this?

December 7, 2012 at 10:29 AM  

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