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Medical Malpractice Settlement: Good News and Bad News

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Altadena, CAGreg recently won a medical malpractice lawsuit and he welcomes this opportunity to talk with LawyersandSettlements about his settlement, along with some words of advice: " I want to warn men to get their prostate checked and don't let my story deter you," Greg says, "and if you have a choice of health insurers, don't go with Kaiser."

Prostate SurgeryGreg was insured with Kaiser, which he now regrets. His problems started with a high PSA count after a routine checkup in 2007. He was sent to a urology specialist, had a prostate biopsy and prostate cancer was discovered. After consultations, Greg weighed the pros and cons and elected to have surgery, albeit a lesser invasive procedure.

But something went terribly wrong during surgery.

"They didn't connect the dots afterward—my bladder and urethra weren't connected properly," says Greg. "This caused severe urine leakage which caused a lot of scar tissue and blocked my urinal passage."

That was the premise of the medical malpractice suit. Greg tried to get Kaiser to " fix my problem". Instead, he had 4 procedures to open his urinary tract—2 without an aesthesia." I was so blocked they had to enter the bladder," says Greg." After the first 2 procedures, I said I would never suffer through that again.

Two interns told me they didn't know when or if I would recover and doctors said it was not caused by surgery-- they denied any wrongdoing and claimed the surgery successful. And recovery was supposed to take 3 days: it took 8 days because I experienced major problems. They couldn't figure out why I wasn't recovering normally. They also noted massive interior leakage (which came out later in the records).

At that point I contacted an attorney.

My attorney immediately subpoenaed Kaiser's records and determined who was at fault. Kaiser fought back with their experts; our experts determined this could only have happened by malpractice or somebody not doing their job. We had 3-4 days of testimony during mediation (when you are a Kaiser member you must agree to mediation versus a trial with a jury so we went before one judge). Unfortunately, mediation saves Kaiser money but it is not in favor of the client…

After the mediation it took about one month for the judge to read all the testimony and make his decision. The settlement was based on Kaiser being at fault but I didn't have a permanent disability so they awarded enough money to perform certain surgeries and if I chose to have those operations I would eventually be well. But the problem is that nobody knows what will happen after more surgeries. What if I get worse? I can't go back to the mediation table because I have settled. And because I settled, I don't want to give the doctors another chance of harming me so I opted not to have future surgeries.

I received the settlement in May, 2009. The judge awarded my wife $75,000 because she was a suffering partner—it is called loss of consortium because I can no longer perform sexually. We received a total of $356,000...

I now have incontinence and can't have adequate erections. With this leakage it damaged my erectile nerves. I'm only 60 and we may never have "traditional" sex again.

In retrospect I wish I could have had a jury—they would have seen my side. Kaiser insists upon mediation and they also insist on signing a consent form. In essence you lose all your rights. Agreeing to mediation means that you limit your damages to $250,000. And signing the consent form means you agree something can go wrong during surgery. In other words, something can possibly go wrong during surgery and Kaiser is off the hook.

Of course that is why Kaiser agrees to mediation. Medical Malpractice means it has to be outside the standard of care and it is up to the patient, and their lawyers, to prove it. Kaiser had one ball in one hand and one ball in the other: I was damned if I signed and damned if I didn't.

As for the good news, I am cancer-free. And I am able to work; I am a writer and I work at home but I have to wear Depends and I still can't have a full erection. Two last things I want to say: Medical malpractice is hard to prove so get a good lawyer. And if you have a choice, don't go with Kaiser."



Posted by

how do I find a good medical malpractive attorney who cn who is famillure with Dis abled by va care?


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