What To Tell A Client A Doctor Told Them The Problem Was Their Fault?

Clients come to me after something bad has happened and they’re trying to determine whether what has happened means that they have a medical malpractice case. Sometimes when they come to inquire whether they have a case, that includes being very upset because the healthcare professional or physician seems to be blaming them for what happened instead of taking the blame themselves.

I think it’s important to understand that Physicians are people too; and there’s not a lot of people who will always do the right thing under all circumstances in this case meaning own up to a mistake if a mistake was mad.  The fact that Physicians are very sensitive about this environment of medical malpractice an about being sued, and so they don’t like to talk to plaintiffs after something bad has happened, they’re not going to really give an explanation.

However it comes to pass if the plaintiff has gotten the idea that the doctor is blaming them, this becomes another source of upset, anger and reason to investigate a possible malpractice case. So now they’ve come to me and the question is, what should I do if the doctor is blaming me for this bad thing has happened to me.  Let’s understand that doctors see a lot of patients and they see patients respond to their treatment recommendations in a variety of ways. Sometimes, patients don’t do what they’re supposed to do, and as a result it actually may be the patient’s fault that an outcome turned out to be bad. Let me tell you about a case we had involving a surgery.  We had a case involving a surgery where after the case the surgical case was done, the patient wasn’t healing and when the lawsuit was brought to the doctor, they blamed the patient saying that the reason why the patient didn’t heal is because the patient was a smoker. Well the patient had told the doctor that the patient was a smoker before the surgery and after the surgery. The patient never hid that from the Physician, and so when the Physician blamed the patient after the surgery and then at the trial as well, we needed to see what our response to that would be.

Our response to that was as follows: If the Physician knew that the patient was a smoker and that smoking was going to impede the healing of this surgery then the surgery shouldn’t have been done until after the patient quit smoking; and ultimately, that’s what prevailed not in the sense of a jury verdict but in the sense of forcing a settlement at the time of trial, during the trial after cross examination of the physician when the jury realized that the doctor couldn’t have it both ways, and so even if a patient is technically non-compliant in that the patient in this case was a smoker, smoking was bad for the healing after the surgery.

Even if that’s the case, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Physician is blameless. And so therefore, even if you’ve been blamed or there has been implications that it’s your own fault; rather than just taking it and feeling bad about it, please call us and let us look if we can possibly help you.

This blog was provided by Marc Chase, an experienced Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyer.

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The personal injury law firm of Goldberg & Chase, LLP. in Brooklyn, New York represents clients throughout the New York (NYC) metropolitan area, including the five boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens. The counties we serve include Suffolk County, Nassau County, Westchester County, and Putnam County.