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But yet none of the firms I’ve contacted will take his case. The reason I’ve gotten is primarily his advanced age of 82. We had a private autopsy preformed that found the cause of death to be a pulmonary embolism. The negligence of both the hospital and the nursing home is they did nothing to prevent it. He contracted pneumonia and sepsis while in their care, and was immobile for a whole month before his death. He was a prime candidate for this. We only found out the extent of his immobility after his death.


My question is, does anyone know if it’s possible to do this myself? Can I act as my own lawyer in this case? I am just an ordinary girl that loves her father. I can’t breathe... so I can’t just let this go. He was my family’s superman! He was so resilient and overcame obstacles his whole life

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Suing in the case of an elderly person will never work. A lawsuit now is limited in recovery. That is to say there is often a 250,000 limit in damages and that makes a difficult suit such as this not worth the time of an attorney. Hopefully they were honest with you. The only kind of lawsuit that works now is if a relatively young mother or father with dependents and an excellent job is injured DIRECTLY and WITHOUT QUESTION by a hospital and has not DIED, but has lived and will be in need of care the rest of their lives. That suit will win but the money will be sorely needed for the care and will never be enough. That is the truth of it. Laws for recovery in malpractice were changed more than a decade ago. Also most places have arbitration clauses built in. There is no way to tell that a pulmonary embolism is imminent, hence there is no way to prevent one before a patient has one. In the aged all bets are off with anything at all, because they are so fragile. So common is sepsis and pneumonia in the aged that pneumonia was once called "The old person's friend" because it is the most common way the elderly were ushered from life. As to immobility, that is a part of aging also, and no one can ever PROVE in a court of law that more mobility in an elderly person would have prevented pnemonia.
I am so sorry. You are grieving. But I can assure you as a lifelong nurse who has witnesses MANY lawsuit attempts, that there is honestly no case here. Moreover I have personally learned just how difficult such a case is when you have ALL THE GOODS and the person IS injured for life, and is young with dependents.
Save yourself the grief and anger. Thank goodness for the good long life of the person you loved, who is now at peace. Again, I am so sorry. You are free to be told no 1,000 times, but no lawyer will ever take such a case on contingency, and there may be vultures out there who will TAKE YOUR MONEY, make promises, and they will fail as well. So be certain if a lawyer promises to take your case it is on contingency.
I hope you heal, and that your future holds more happy memories to overcome this pain. My Dad was my hero, as well, our family's superman as well. I miss him to this day. But I thank goodness I had such a decent and fine and loving man to guide me through life for so long. Best wishes to you.
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Alonna, if you want to make a difference, here are some suggestions.

1.  Research the specific doctors,  hospital, nursing home and hospice company involved to determine if there is a history of med mal lawsuits against any of them.  

2.  Look specifically for class actions lawsuits, by code.   Court clerks in my experience use a system of 2 letter codes to indicate the type of lawsuit.    W/o checking my local clerk's office, I don't remember what the codes are, offhand.  

But if you can access complaints through your local county clerk, or department that maintains court cases and access, you can ask someone what the code is for med mal suits.

3.    If you find other med mal suits, note the plaintiff's attorneys and contact them.    You don't mention in your post that you SPECIFICALLY contacted med mal attorneys, although I'm assuming you did.  If not, that's WHY your case wasn't accepted. 

Law practice has been divided into many "practice areas", and attorneys outside those PAs don't take on cases in which they have little or nominal experience.  The learning curve doesn't validate that action.

4.    If you locate class action suits, contact the plaintiff's attorney and ask if they're still accepting "party plaintiffs."  There's a possibility you could become one, and participate in the lawsuit that way.

5.  As to the nursing homes, check their Medicare "report card", as well as clerk records for malpractice suits.  

6.   If you haven't gotten your father's medical records, you can do so, but the costs will be high.  For a month's stay, you're probably looking at several hundred dollars to get the records, and if the hospital isn't very responsive, the request can drift into piles or down to the bottom of requests.  

7.   The age issue is factored in with the computation of loss; actuarial tables are used and sadly, older people have less remaining longevity and therefore less value to their lives.   Again unfortunately, ours is not necessarily a country which values elders, as some less technological cultures do. 

8.  Sanhora provides excellent advice for action.   That really is the best thing you can do, as government intervention affects and helps protect other patients as well.

9.   Contact local advocacy agencies with ombudspeople who help others become more aware of their rights.  AARP may have some like this in various states.   It's a way to reach out and educate people so others can be alert to alarming symptoms.


I can understand how painful this is, and how much you want and need to take action.    But as you adjust to this new life, consider ways you can leverage this experience to make others aware of precautions to take, and alarming situations to address.

And may you find more peace each day as you travel down this difficult path.
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anonymous981049 Feb 3, 2020
Thank you so much for giving me such concrete advice. Oh and I still haven’t given up on looking for a firm. I have contacted medical malpractice firms that specializes in nursing home abuse and ones that don’t
. Dealing with a mother also that’s a narcissist with dementia. Finally think we are going to be able to get her seen by a neurologist. I got her a nurse and was able to get her doctor on board. It’s a hard time for me right now.. but my daughter and I will make it through somehow. Again thank you so much for your kindness
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Alonna--I a sorry for your loss. Just yesterday it hit me that my own daddy died at the age of 75, which seemed 'old' to me, but as my Dh and I approach our 70's--he'll be 70 in 2 years--I realize that our bodies are tired and wearing down.

82 is good, long life. We seem to never want to let our parents go, for whatever reason. But the truth is, they do die, and we need to come to grips with it.

Now, having said that, you need to grieve and it seems you need to place blame on dad's death on someone, who may or may not have contributed to it through negligence. Sadly, you probably will never really know.

My son is a lawyer and he often says that the person who tries to represent themselves in court have terrible lawyers (themselves). I know enough about law to know that a med mal case is nearly impossible to win. And you would be going up against some real sharks, as it were. Med mal attys on either side have to be tough and no nonsense. The hospitals have deep pockets and the patience to wait out lawsuits.

I would suggest you seek some counseling for your grief. And try to let this go. People die...that is a part of life. The fact that you weren't there as he became so sick may be part of you inability to get through this.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I, too, was a daddy's girl and losing him so young has been sad and lonely at times. But he was sick and miserable and was never going to become well again.

However, you most assuredly CAN act as your own attorney. Know in advance, it will be brutal and depressing.

Good Luck, with whatever you choose to do.
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MAYDAY Feb 5, 2020
Yes, I should have taken pictures of my mom, bending over onto her bed, naked, asleep... when I walked into the hospital one morning.. I didnt. I wanted mom, put into bed, and warm and comfortable....And that is what the front desk of the hospital saw, when I walked from her room 2 steps away from nursing station.. I was so upset, never thought of taking video.. Heck, I could have probably, gone from room to room and video taped every patient on that floor..They too probably were in the same situation.... :(

Suing was and is not my intentions... I can't focus, expecially when I see mY MOTHER DEFENSELESS... Just wanted to make her comfortable, and relaxed///// God, she had gone through so much....
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Alonnastorm,
I'm so sorry for your loss!
I understand how painful this is.
I want to share and will try to be brief, but it's complicated.
In early October I got a call that my beloved Uncle was in the hospital and wasn't expected to live thru the night. He was still hanging in there when I got to the SNF. It was a Sunday and he had Kaiser insurance. They don't seem to work on the weekends.
I wanted hospice involved. I have a medical background and my husband is a physician. I knew my Uncle was on his way out.
I saw a lot of things that I felt were neglect. I felt the facility could have done more.
My Uncle passed away 6 hours after I got to him.
The coroner's report said it was pneumonia and sepsis. Sounds familiar.
After speaking with his friends, I came to realize that my Uncle was tired. He was just plain done!
He gave up!
Nothing anyone could do could have fixed that.
I don't know if that was the case with your dear father. I just know that sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for death. Maybe there wasn't anything that could have been done to prolong your father's life.
If you truly believe that your father would want you to take on the hospital, then honor that. It might be very costly to you.
Just make sure that like my Uncle, this isn't what he wanted.
God bless and keep you in your quest! Praying for a speedy recovery for your heart!
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anonymous981049 Feb 4, 2020
Thank you for your kind remarks
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I am so sorry about the death of your father.

You have been given advice from experts that they could not win this suit, so if you think about it how could an individual without a legal background win it? Also what are you hoping to achieve, a financial settlement?

What sort of grief counseling have you had since he died? I think at this point that concentrating on getting emotional support will be more beneficial to you. You are still raw from his death and need support in processing it.
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anonymous981049 Feb 3, 2020
Realistically I knew all the responses you gave. I just can’t accept it yet. In order to move on I have to do something...to affect some type of change. I just don’t want these institutions to get away with being so careless with people’s loved ones. Thank you for taking time to answer me and wishing me well 😢
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I’m very sorry for your loss.

If you had any chance at winning a lawsuit, then one of the firms you’ve contacted would have been willing to take the case. So no, I don’t think you have a shot at winning if you represent yourself. You also need to consider how much a lawsuit costs even if you do it yourself, as well as what you would be putting yourself through emotionally.
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I'm very sorry for the loss of your dad...
Ditto to what Tothill posted. They only take winnable cases. I was recently in jury selection for a case where an individual was taking on the IRS by themselves. It was painful to watch him flounder around in the courtroom. I read later in the paper of his guilty verdict. Hospitals and doctors have very experienced lawyers and lots of funds. The judges expect you to know what you're doing when you come into the courtroom. Tothill asks a very clarifying question: what do you hope to achieve? May you receive peace in your heart over this painful loss.
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Sometimes people have a difficult time accepting a loved ones death. Perhaps grief counseling would be a better option for you to pursue. Your father was sick, he had issues. To prove Negligence would be very difficult at best and what exactly would this accomplish, as, it will not bring him back. Even Superman died, we all will.

I am very sorry that you are suffering.
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Alonna, if you have the time you can absolutely represent yourself in a lawsuit.

Do some research and see if it is something that you feel comfortable doing.

We just represented and won in a lawsuit. Feels pretty amazing when you go up against a professional with the intention of harming your life and beating them at their own game.

It would be rewarding for you to take on the establishment and win, this is how change happens.

Best of luck holding the parties responsible for their actions.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I am very sorry for you loss.  I think it is harder to find lawyers for older loved ones and the loss of life or mobility will be for a shorter period.  I don't know what state you are in, I think this is almost impossible in Florida
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anonymous981049 Feb 3, 2020
Yeah it’s hard.. I’m in Maryland. I know I can do this myself.. But I have to make a difference some how
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