Downey, CA asked in Wrongful Death for California

Q: My grandpa had a successful foot operation and the day he was to be released from hospital we get a call saying he died

The nurse said the found him with no pulse and not breathing, they did not know how long he had been like that and that they were able to shock him back to life but fractured both sides of his ribs and chest and also he has no signs of any brain activity

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2 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I am sorry for your family's loss. You haven't asked a question but I assume you are interested in inquiring about whether the doctor/hospital had a role in his passing. That will require an autopsy, and a review of all of his hospital records as well as medical records from any health care provider he saw before he entered the hospital. You should expect to pay for the medical records. Most attorneys will also require a retainer to help pay for a review of the medical records by a qualified physician to help identify any potential malpractice issues.

Gerald Barry Dorfman agrees with this answer

John Karas
John Karas
Answered
  • Temecula, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I generally agree with Mr. Light's response. If, as you said, your grandfather had foot surgery and he much later (1-2 days later) went into cardiac arrest due to post-surgery complications, some attorney's have sufficient medical knowledge to make an assessment (without expensive medical record reviews) whether the hospital, its staff, attending physician did not properly treat your loved one leading to his untimely demise (death).

A thorough autopsy will be required (not just by the county coroner) so take proper steps to preserve his remains (no burial or cremation).

Be aware that you and other relatives who wish to participate in a wrongful death action, there is a statute of limitations (generally 1 year) to file a lawsuit against medical professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.). Also, if the hospital is run by the County or other public entity (state or federal), a pre-lawsuit Notice Government Tort must be given within 6 months of your discovery of the death.

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