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As a lawyer will not charge you, generally, to consult over medical malpractice, there is no reason not to pass your case past one. But here are a few things to think of. Just occasionally a "lawyer letter" will cause a hospital to "settle" a small amount in arbitration to make a case "go away" and to avoid the nuisance of having to be reported to JCAHO (Joint Commission for acreditation). Don't, imho, ever "Hire" a lawyer to sue if he will not take malpractice case on contingency, as a lawyer will sue anyone in the phone book if you would like to sue and pay him or her to do so; but you won't win. You may want to pass your injury past a lawyer just to help you feel you have done everything you can.

In general, medical malpractice suits depend on the level of actual "injury" done to the patient. If there is no lasting injury then there is no suit. Even when there is a lasting injury it must be severe, require ongoing care, and etc. There are now laws that limit recovery in malpractice, and they are set so low in terms of cash recovery that lawyers often will not take any but the worst cases where there is terrible injury to a young person who is a salary earner with dependent family and a need for ongoing care lifelong or a long period of time.
You have an underlying Congestive Heart condition, I am guessing? That would make, as others have said, it a bit more difficult to balance the enough and not too much fluid. CHF means that you either have an heart that is a "somewhat impaired pump on left of heart (shortness of breath) or on right of heart (fluid in periphery, legs and etc). Some people have both problems. The level of impairment in the heart is measured by "ejection fraction" tests. CHF is a scary word, but you can look on it as the pump simply isn't as efficient as when you were a youngster.
Some here report fluid from the IV causing the arm or hand to swell. This usually can mean that the needle has become dislodged out of the vein (from movement or some other reason) and is feeding fluid into the tissue of the hand. This usually is not dangerous, as CHF can be, though hand will need elevation until fluid is absorbed and in rare instances nerves can be damaged. So if you are hospitalized and notice this do ring the bell at once.
Good luck and hope you are feeling recovered now.
Hoping that you are now fully recovered.
Helpful Answer (1)

I would not think fluids cause CHF but they would aggravate the associated problems CHF presents. Were your fluid levels brought back to acceptable levels after this episode?
Helpful Answer (3)

My husband needed IV fluids a few years ago, in hospital.  Suddenly he noticed his hands getting puffy - He rang bell, I got nurse, and it (fluid) was turned off.  Later, his own doctor said that it is really tricky to get that balance between not enough fluids, and too much.  He'd been hospitalized with CHF a long time before that, so that is always something to consider and watch. 

Garden Artist has some good ideas on helping your hospital to prevent it with others, if possible.  Good luck.  This is not an easy journey.
Helpful Answer (1)

First, I have a somewhat different experience based on my father's situation after pacemaker replacement surgery.

He was set for discharge; when I arrived at the hospital I was informed by the NP that he had developed CHF and now was not ready for discharge.  She surmised that he was overinfused during the pacer surgery.   I was surprised she admitted that, but she wasn't at fault, and I credit her for her honesty.

He stayed another, perhaps few, more day(s); I don't remember now.   

But I do remember the overinfusion issue.   I was pretty mad too, and disgusted.  I informed the surgeon of my dissatisfaction; I don't recall if I did anything else.    So I'm writing from hindsight, on what I perhaps should have done to follow through, hoping this may be of benefit to you.

Second, as to your questions, there are several issues which would be considered by MedMal attorneys:

1.    What are or were the lasting consequences?   This is for potential damage assessment.   As tort reform has taken place and MedMal practice evolved, attorneys have looked more to  permanent incapacitation and other long term consequences.   If those don't exist, the attorneys might not be able to find other experts in the field to testify, something that's been critical to prove the claims.

2.    Lesser quality attorneys might take the case anyway, just to see what can be wrung from the hospital's, doctor's and anesthesiologist's MedMal insurance.  They're greedy.

CAVEATS:   I haven't worked in the MedMal field for years, so there may be other changes of which I'm unaware.   A consultation with a MedMal attorney could offer insight into the current environment, especially in your area, as juries in some counties are more generous than in others.

3.    What did the CHF cause you to experience?    Anxiety, pain, discomfort, emotional distress?   And how can you prove the effects of this on your life now?  Do you have treating physicians who can AND will testify to this in court? 

4.    You can always try, get an interview with a MedMal attorney, but please don't get your hopes up.    Fronting the costs for litigation, reports, etc. can become costly, and attorneys want to have a good chance of recovery before spending a lot of money for data discovery.

Third, there is another way to pursue this to try to ensure it doesn't happen again, if the hospital is a good one and has a quality administrator.   Contact the hospital administrator, explain the situation, and suggest that (a) the hospital chart be reviewed to determine how and why over infusion occurred  (b) what preventative measures (i.e., refresher education, counseling, etc.) will be instituted to prevent a similar occurrence, (c)  that the hospital consider its liability and potential liability in such a situation and (d) that the specific individuals be counselled as to errors made and how they can be prevented in the future.

It may not bring you a feeling of restitution, but at this point that might not be available unless you have permanent damages.   

I would, though, consult a cardiologist to determine if there are any other issues with your heart that should be addressed.

I can imagine how frightening and frustrating this must be, and do understand the feeling of needing to take action.   I wish you luck and success in whatever option you choose.
Helpful Answer (1)

After surgery, my mom was retaining a lot of fluid and was not on IV. It's taken a long time for her to get rid of it.
Helpful Answer (1)

I believe CM is right. I don’t think being given fluids will cause CHF, but if you already have it, it could make it worse.
Helpful Answer (1)

Um. I am not medically qualified, but I have been close to congestive heart failure issues for a long time now, and I am pretty sure that's not how it works.

What makes you think that your congestive heart failure was triggered by ?an IV infusion? a transfusion? around your hand surgery?

I wonder if you are possibly thinking that the problem with excess fluid in your body's tissues, which is caused by heart failure, began when you had the IV fluids. But I promise you, that won't be the case. The heart failure causes the fluid build-up, it's not the other way round.

It is true that some procedures can put a strain on the heart; but that's a different matter. What risk assessment was done prior to your hand surgery? And what do you think the surgical team did wrong?

Many medical negligence lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis, and it isn't usually difficult to get a free initial consultation with one of them. I wouldn't, though, if I were you. If you really have a case, then a reputable lawyer will negotiate compensation for you and not take excessive fees.
Helpful Answer (6)
GardenArtist Aug 2019
CM, your advice is good and raises some issues in and of itself.     From experience with my father, he already had a compromised heart function, was prone to pneumonia, and didn't the capacity to tolerate a lot of extra fluids.  Pneumonia and CHF became regular threats throughout the rest of his life.

I'm thinking this might have been the situation with Hunner, that there already was some level of cardiac compromise, and the extra fluid was more than his/her body could handle.   

And I hope your own cardiac situation remains as stable as possible.   I've always enjoyed reading your responses and wouldn't want to learn that you've been sidetracked by some water!
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