A caller to our office was looking for a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago. They had a routine surgery that itself went well. For whatever reason, the doctor kept the patient sedated for a couple of days after the surgery. During that time his hand and fingers swelled up. It’s to be determined what went wrong, we suspect it was an IV error, but the bottom line is he spent days in that condition. Sadly he had to have multiple fingers amputated.
This occurred during peak Covid time when visitors were limited to the hospital. Things are changing at most places, but even if we were to go back to limiting visitors, there’s one pay to prevent a post surgical error like this that shouldn’t happen. Your family and/or friends must advocate for you.
By that I mean if they are in the hospital, they need to talk to the doctors and nurses and ask a lot of questions. If they have concerns they need to raise them. If they see something that appears off, they have to ask about it. You might see bruising and be worried. It could be normal or it could be the sign of a huge problem. I’m sure had his wife or kids seen his hand swollen up so badly, they would have asked a doctor to check on it. Had that been able to happen perhaps his fingers could be saved.
You may feel like doctors always know what they are doing. They don’t or aren’t always monitoring things. They don’t know what “normal” is like for your loved one. You may worry about bothering them. Don’t. You are the customer. You have a right to ask questions. And you need to do this every day until your loved one is in the clear.
You also need to advocate for yourself when you can. Of course my caller couldn’t do anything while sedated, but he sure raised an alarm when he came out of it. Unfortunately it was too late, but at least he tried. You can do this in pre-operative meetings by asking questions. I had a colonoscopy and raised concerns about my colon being nicked and asked how they check for that. My doctor is great and I’m sure he’d be careful anyway, but I felt good knowing that I had raised that issue in his mind. After the procedure he let me know that they were sure nothing bad happened. Not every doctor is this considerate, but it’s worth raising your fears ahead of time. That doesn’t guarantee a result, but does at least put it out there.
Your advocacy for yourself should continue as long as it’s needed. If your doctor says it’s going to take six months to a year for something to heal and you don’t feel right, get a second opinion. You have to look out for you.
And of course if you suspect a medical error occurred and want to discuss it for free with an attorney, you can contact us any time at 312-346-5320. Time is usually of the essence in these cases and we will try to help you figure out if there is a case at all.