"I just got out of the hospital and I feel worse than I did when I was admitted. Should I sue my doctor for medical malpractice?"
Everyone wants to feel better after a stay in the hospital. After all, that's why you sought treatment there, right? But just because your condition didn't improve, or even if it got worse, does not necessarily mean that you have a claim for medical malpractice.
In Connecticut, in order to win a medical malpractice case, certain things must be proven. These elements include:
(1) the requisite standard of care for treatment:
(2) a deviation from that standard of care: and
(3) a causal connection between the deviation and the claimed injury.
In layperson's terms, this means that there is a standard to which doctors are held when performing any type of care to a patient, whether that is a diagnosis, a surgical procedure or even a prescription for incorrect medication. The plaintiff must then prove that the doctor did not meet the standard care as understood by others in his profession.
After establishing that plaintiff does indeed an injury or some other consequence of the doctor's actions or lack thereof, e.g., the patient dies because the doctor failed to find a malignant tumor, there must be sufficient proof that the doctor's error caused the consequence.
Once you present all of your evidence, the defense then has a chance to refute what you think you have proven. Generally, expert testimony is required to establish both the standard of care to which the defendant is held and the breach of that standard. So if an expert, who would likely be another doctor in the same specialty, testifies that no doctor could have seen the tumor because it was obscured by another organ, the doctor may win the lawsuit.
Obviously, winning a medical malpractice claim is much more complicated than just showing up in court and telling a judge or jury that you feel worse since the doctor treated you than you did before you sought help. That is one reason that an attorney experienced in trying medical malpractice cases can be a valuable resource to help you determine whether you have a case and what evidence you would need to win and collect damages.