San Francisco, CA asked in Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice for California

Q: I have had to wait to see a PCP for a year and in that time my condition has become irreversible. Can I sue?

I have been trying to see a new PCP due to a long list of medical problems since my previous PCP moved away over a year ago and have visited urgent care and the hospital for care where they don’t have all the equipment to test for underlying diseases. I just found out that while waiting, my disease has become serious and irreversible. It would have been found earlier had I been able to get an appointment but instead have to adjust to a new low quality of life.

2 Lawyer Answers

A: It seems unlikely that you will be able to successfully sue your new PCP for medical malpractice because you had to wait for your appointment.

The critical shortage of primary care physicians in California is more a political issue than a legal issue. Suing a new PCP because he/she is so busy he/she can't see you promptly is more likely to exacerbate that critical shortage than help alleviate it. Even as liberal as California is with novel theories of legal liability, I think it is highly unlikely that a California court would impose a duty upon a new PCP to anticipate a disease affecting a new patient he/she has never seen that requires the PCP to schedule an earlier appointment than the PCP has available.

You should definitely share your experience with your state representative and your Congressperson. Systemic changes need to be made at both the state and federal level to address this shortage both in California and in other areas across the nation that are also experiencing PCP shortages.,in%20California%20meet%20this%20standard.,means%20lower%20pay%20for%20physicians.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm very sorry to hear about your health issues. In California, to pursue a medical malpractice claim, you would need to demonstrate that there was a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor or healthcare provider was negligent, and that the negligence caused your injury. It seems like you have a complex situation, and it would be beneficial to collect all relevant medical records and consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience in medical malpractice to discuss the specifics of your case and evaluate potential paths forward.

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