1. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    If someone dies on the operating table? Mistakes were made...can they be sued?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Infinitytruth, Jun 14, 2011.

    Curious for a new piece I'm writing which will involve something along those lines.
     
  2. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    I'm going to assume that you mean the doctor and not ther person who died getting sued... ;)


    Yes, heck, doctors get sued so much even when the person lives its not even funny

    But yes if the doctor makes a mistake they can be now it can deepened on the mistake and whats going on
    if there is a bomb about to go off or the guy is bleed twnet gallons a second
    then maybe not

    It depends on what is hapining
    but you can sue them for anything
    doctors have been sued for saving someones life even!
     
  3. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Well ****, someone bash me over the head a couple times...I need a doctor. :)
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the doctor. A) It's why they only let the person going under the knife or their next of kin make decisions about surgery, and B) it's why you have to sign forms that say you can't sue them for loss of life, et cetera.

    Obviously, if the doctor leaves a scalpel or something inside you, sews you back up, and you die, you can sue for... I forget the term. It's along the lines of reckless endangerment, but it's called differently. However, when going into brain surgery (my brother is actually in hospital with a brain tumour at the moment. He might still be in surgery now, but I don't know. Haven't gotten a call yet, so I assume things are pretty alright) or other potentially risky surgeries, the doctors will get the patient or their next of kin to sign a document that says that they accept the risk and have had it explained to them and all that.

    Basically, if you die and it's not actually the doctor's fault, you can't sue, like if you gave them permission to try some radical new surgery on you. But if you die because the doctor did something dumb, you sometimes can.
     
  5. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I would think that so long as they do not break their Hippocratic Oath (No no more harm) then no. If the doctor does nothing the patient will die but if he does something the patient may die. I personally prefer the later. As for being sued, you can sue any one for any thing, that does not mean you are going to win.
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless, as I said, you're contracted against it through Non-Disclosure Agreements and that sort of thing. That makes suing them illegal which can, in turn, allow them to sue you for wasting their time, loss of income, et cetera.
     
  7. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got something even better. Many decades ago if you had performed CPR on someone that nearly drowned and they suffered brain damage because you weren't fast enough, their family could have sued you.

    And it did happen several times.

    Good Samaritan Laws exist for a reason, although they do vary by state and country.
     
  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on where you live, I guess. In the US, a woman sued a restaurant because she tried to balance on the toilet and keep the door shut, then fell down. And in Germany, a guy wanted his neighbor to get his wife pregnant. Then he suied him when he found out the neighbor was sterile. Not to mention a man who sued match.com (an online dating service) because all the prettiest women there are unavaliable or not subscribers anymore.

    In other words, you can sue people for just about anything. :D
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Negligence is the term you're looking for. :)
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    These agreements do not make suing someone "illegal."
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. In general terms, you typically need to show a duty of care, some breach of that duty, and some kind of damages resulting from the breach.
     
  12. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes negligence. Basically the court must determine whether the doctor acted reasonably despite the death of the patient. This is ascertained by a panel of doctors in a similar field. If they can confirm that their management of the patient would have been similar or at least what they would deem 'reasonable', then the charges won't stand.

    No indemnity or consent form can protect the doctor against negligence.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In the U.S., a jury will generally determine this (or a judge in a non-jury trial; but plaintiffs often want juries). Doctors and other experts may be called in to testify, but they don't get the last word on what is "reasonable."
     
  14. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    We don't have exciting things like juries here. But yeah the court's final decision ultimately rests on the judge. But his decision is largely dependant on the opinion of other doctors.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Theoretically, the juries should give a lot of weight to expert testimony from doctors or other experts. In practice, you have dueling experts, where both sides put doctors on the stand - one who says the acts were reasonable, one who says they were not.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    When both sides trot out their experts, it often comes down to which ones "sell" their opinions best to the jury. In other words, the better presenter, rather than the one with the most salient facts on their side.
     
  17. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Doctors can be sued even if no mistakes were made and someone just died due to an unforeseen circumstance.

    The situation with U.S. Medical Care and how often our Doctors wind up in court is very scary. Actually, if you have deep pockets and someone trips in your house and breaks an arm, you can be sued.

    These are normally referred to as: "frivolous" lawsuits. Similar to when a lady won millions after spilling a cup of hot coffee on herself while driving and receiving burns. She stated in court that she wasn't informed that the contents of the cup were...in fact 'Hot'.

    Unfortunately, when suing a hospital, most juries will take a... "Oh, well they have a lot of money and we feel bad for said person" and reward damages even if the doctors had done everything they could.

    The percentage of win/loss is actually in favor of the Hospitals, but the sheer number of lawsuits is astounding.

    The answer is yes though.
     
  18. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pfff...those people are small time. Here in the US years ago an old lady ordered cup of coffee from McDonalds via th drive through, spilled it on herself, then sued them for the coffee being too hot.

    Also in the US, there have been several cases where a burglar tried to break into a house, fell off the roof, and broke his leg. He then sued the owner of the home he tried to break into. And won. :confused:
     
  19. Forest Girl
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    Actually, you can sue just about anybody for anything.
    Really, you can go on and sue your neighbor because his ugly dog makes you sick.

    The question is, will it get tossed out or not.

    Frivolous lawsuits are filed everyday.

    And yes, doctors, nurses, hospitals, and paramedics can and have been sued.
    The patient or patient's family do not always win. Plenty of those cases are frivolous too.
    That's why malpractice insurance cost so much.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the judge declares it a frivolous lawsuit, he or she can heavily fine the plaintiff and attorneys for wasting the court's time and the taxpayers' money.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you die, how can you sue anyone?
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By proxy.
     
  23. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Your family sues for wrongful death.
     
  24. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I believe First Responder is covered by "Good Samaritan" law but I think that is at a State level not Federal.

    Here I don't have time to read it. I just remember it from my CPR class...

    P.S. I believe the person has to be dead (Not Breathing) before you start. If you did CPR on alive person and killed them then I think it is another story.
     
  25. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Via possession.
     

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