After a serious injury to my wife in the hospital that could be malpractice, the doctors and risk management people want to meet with us. What should we say?

Meeting With Hospital Staff After Malpractice

After someone is seriously injured in the hospital and the injury could have been prevented, there is a lot you have to worry about.  Your life has just changed dramatically, and you now are responsible for your loved one's care, since they can no longer do this themselves. 

One of the reasons the hospital staff may want to meet with you is to explain (from their perspective, of course) what happened to your loved one.  Sometimes these "family meetings" as they are sometimes called, are a chance for the hospital staff, especially the risk management department, to try to talk you out of pursuing a malpractice case against the hospital.  They may do this by not fully explaining what happened, or telling you it wouldn't have mattered no matter what the doctors and nurses did, or that your loved one had something unusual or unexplained go wrong.  

Even if this is all true, it is something you should verify independently, and not rely on hospital administrators.  Remember, the hospital will not have responsibility for your wife's care and treatment, and the costs of providing for her, after she is discharged - you will.

Will the hospital administrators apologize?

Sometimes they will apologize for what happened (again, always in the way most favorable to them).  There is some thought that these type of apologies reduce the number of malpractice lawsuits because the people affected are satisfied, or accept the apology  - and this is probably true if the injuries or condition is minor, but we are talking about life changing medical issues.  An apology can be important, but it does not hold the hospital accountable and it does not help provide for the medical care and treatment your wife now needs.

The problem with these meetings is it's very hard to judge the motives of the hospital staff.  Is one doctor upset at a system failure that caused your wife's injury or complications? If so, he may be brutally honest about what happened to try to change that system. Is the hospital staff defensive because they know they did something wrong?  Are they genuinely concerned about your wife's well being and do they have helpful recommendations for the medical care and treatment she needs?

It is always important to bring someone else, other family members, to listen and ask questions to get all of the information you can.

But verify everything - first by getting a copy of the full medical chart and the actual images of any diagnostic tests done (like MRIs).  It will be important to have this information reviewed by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, with his or her own consultants and experts, to investigate this on your behalf - with the best interests of your wife and your family as the focus.

That's what we do.  Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 and we'll help you get started getting the information and analysis you need to make the best decisions for you and your family.