Bettendorf, IA asked in Medical Malpractice for Iowa

Q: Can I sue a hospital for misdiagnosing me and almost causing me to die?

Near Christmas time I enter the hospital with an excruciating migraine, by ambulance. I was misdiagnosed and admitted to the hospital with a small lung infection. The doctor refused to see me, even when I begged the staff to get her bcuz I knew something more severe was going on. She absolutely did not believe me nor would she see me. I was finally so sick that I pulled out the IV, went home and by that night I was in another hospital with a hundred and 4 fever, fighting for my life because the missed diagnosis of the super flu was left to fester for an additional 24 hours after becoming so sick the night b4 and going to an ER that did nothing!

As a result of this, I was in the hospital for 8 days it took me nearly two months to fully recover. When I went to the first hospital I was also overdosed on fentanyl for pain and they had to bring me back with Narcan. I'm just wondering if I have a lawsuit.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
  • West Des Moines, IA
  • Licensed in Iowa

A: Quick Answer: Anyone can file suit. But can you win? Probably not. Maybe, but probably not.

Why not? There are so many things wrong with the facts of which you described, that I am not even sure where to begin, but let's limit the issues and see if I can shed some light on why-not.

Long Answer: First of all you didn't die. You lived. You are alive. And therefore you have no wrongful death suit for almost dying. In the eyes of the law, sort of dying is sort of like being almost pregnant. Either you are or your not pregnant. And the same goes for death. It is like what Miracle Max said in The Princess Bride. You're not dead, your almost dead and almost dead is not the same thing as actually being dead.

But let's keep going on with answering your question.

And why did you almost die? Well, you do admit to having pulled out the IV, going home AMA (Against Medical Advice) and then getting a fever. What was in the IV? Meds? Medication to control the fever? You don't seem to know. An IV usually is for dehydration. Were you dehydrated? When you pulled out the IV and left the hospital AMA you sort of took matters into your own hands and with it you assumed liability/responsibility for the outcome. At that point you became your own doctor.

Things only got worse with you acting as your own doctor.

So then 24-hours later you are back in the ER, admitted into the hospital, apparently becoming sicker, get very ill and required powerful pain medication - Fentanyl.

That's part of what killed Prince.

You next say you overdosed. But did you? What is the proof of overdosing? What did you overdose on, assuming you did overdose? What other medications were you taking and while at home acting as your own doctor did you take any other drugs?

That would make a big difference.


Nothing is as easily proven as saying it outside of a courtroom. Practicing law is tough. Litigation is not for the weak of heart or mind.

So do you have a lawsuit? No one can say without reviewing the medical records, speaking with an expert and getting all the facts from you. But that's not really the question you should be asking. You should be asking: Will any lawyer take my case?

Erik Luthens
Erik Luthens
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
  • West Des Moines, IA
  • Licensed in Iowa

A: The primary issues in any medical malpractice action are:

(1) Did a health care provider (doctor, nurse, etc.) make a mistake (breach the standard of care owed to the patient)?

(2) Did that mistake result in an injury to the patient?

(3) What is the extent of the injury to the patient caused by the health care provider's mistake?

In order to win a medical malpractice suit, you (as the patient) must have expert witness(es) who can do the following:

(1) testify that the mistake made by the health care provider in question was in fact a breach in the standard of care of a health care provider in a similar situation (i.e., an emergency room physician);

(2) testify that the mistake made by the health care provider in question caused an injury to the patient (you); and,

(3) testify as to the extent of the injury to the patient (you) caused by the health care provider's mistake.

In your particular situation, you must have expert witness testimony stating that had the health care provider in question not made a mistake (i.e., timely recognized and treated your condition), you would not have been in the hospital for eight days and/or it would not have taken you nearly two months to fully recover from your illness.

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