A recent story from Milwaukee, Wisconsin illustrates the frustration and pain some families experience after an instance of medical malpractice. On January 30, 2014, Robert Schmitt was taken to the hospital by his son after Robert complained of shortness of breath. Several days later, on February 2, 2014, Robert was taken into a procedure room to undergo a cardiac catheterization procedure. When Robert’s family next saw him, Robert had injuries to the side of his face. The hospital told Robert’s family that he had fallen during his stay at the hospital. Five weeks later, Robert Schmitt was dead. What happened to Robert Schmitt, and what lessons does his tragic case teach other victims of medical malpractice?
What Happened to Robert Schmitt?
According to hospital records, Mr. Schmitt suffered a fall sometime on February 2, 2014 – around the time that he was supposed to be in the procedure room undergoing the cardiac catheterization. The records of Mr. Schmitt were unclear exactly how this fall occurred: some records suggested that Mr. Schmitt was in the procedure room and on the operating table when he rolled off the table and injured the left side of his face. Another medical record stated that Mr. Schmitt’s procedure was cancelled due to his inability to lie on his back without significant pain, and while being moved back from the procedure room to his hospital room he fell, injuring his hip.
What Does Mr. Schmitt’s Case Say About Medical Malpractice Cases
Mr. Schmitt’s case serves to illustrate several facts about medical malpractice cases:
- Injured patients and their families can expect frustration and confusion. Eight months after Mr. Schmitt’s accident, his family is still uncertain as to how his accident occurred. The hospital has been rather unhelpful in explaining the circumstances. It is not uncommon after an instance of malpractice at a hospital for the hospital to refuse to comment on the circumstances surrounding the alleged malpractice. This feeling of “not knowing” can cause some to become angry and frustrated.
- Injured patients and their families can expect a long process to obtain recovery. The Schmitts have no closure even though it has been almost a year since Robert suffered his injuries. Especially in clear cases of malpractice, the injured patient and his or her family may become upset that the case seems to be taking a long time to resolve. But even where the malpractice is clear, it is still not unheard of for a case to take several months – if not a year or more – to resolve.
- Laws on medical malpractice are constantly changing. The Schmitt family’s lawsuit is complicated by recent changes in Wisconsin’s law. Medical malpractice laws in Massachusetts have also changed in recent years. Injured patients or their families should consult with a constant an experienced medical malpractice attorney to understand their rights and to help them navigate the often-complex procedures that must be followed when seeking compensation after a medical mistake.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help
Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice in Massachusetts? Please don’t hesitate to contact an Peter Ventura today at (508) 755-7535 to learn about your rights and options for recovery.