I had to take work off all this week TO GET SUED for malpractice. Even though I was 99% sure I would win, I still had to miss a week's work and income. And you never know what a jury might do. Well, it's over and I WON!!
Here's the story. In Oct. '95 a 76 year old lady has a heart attack and goes to the hospital. The cardiologist on call goes in and stabilizes her, then does a heart catheterization. She has a major blockage so the next day she has an angioplasty. It works, she recovers from her heart attack and goes home. She has recurrence of chest pain in November, '95 so has another heart catheterization. Things are ok, so no more treatment.
In Feb '96 she sees me FOR THE FIRST TIME to manage her diabetes and cholesterol so she never has another heart blockage. She mentions an OCCASIONAL, momentary sharp pain in the groin at the catheterization site. I find nothing so tell her it's likely from the catheterization, it will probably go away, but let me know if it doesn't. I see her many times over the next almost 2 years. No complaint of groin pain. Then in Sept. '97 she sees me complaining of SEVERE groin pain onset 3 days ago. I examine her carefully and STILL can't find anything. I send her for x-rays and to see a surgeon anyway. HE can't find anything either. He orders some ct scans and while this is waiting to be done, she develops an abscess in the groin, goes to the emergency room, gets admitted to the hospital, has surgery, and low and behold some fragments from the coating of the catheter wire sheered off and were in her groin! She has a complete recovery and all is well.
No it's not. She sues the cardiologist for leaving the fragments in. She starts saying she had "terrible, terrible" pain for 22 months, but no one would listen to her. She claimed that EVERY TIME she saw me, she would complain bitterly of this pain and I refused to listen to her. So she sues me, too!!! This was in about May, '98.
So finally we go to trial this week. We kicked her butt all over the map. We had hospital records from the surgeon, er doctor, nurses in the er, nurses in the hospital that ALL said she told them the pain just started before she came in. Even though she said she was practically an invalid for 22 months, she was able to do 2 full stress tests 9 months apart without complaining of groin pain. Ooh man, she got GRILLED on the stand. I'd have felt sorry for her--if she had not impuned my character by lying.
The jury went out to decide on a verdict, and they had to decide on me, the cardiologist (screwy, but we get tried together), and the dollar amount of damages. They came back IN 13 MINUTES!!!!!!
That's all the time it took them. That's nearly a world's record.
NOT GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE!! That was the verdict today! The only disappointment I had was that she and her husband didn't stick around for the reading of the verdict, so I didn't get to glare at them and gloat. That may sound harsh, but it's difficult to sit there for a week in court and hear total, complete, and indisputable lies being told about you.
Well, just had to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening to what I did on my summer vacation.
P.S. I'm not bitter. I'm over it. Time to get on with "real life" again.