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Cookie Garris
What should I do when a doctor lies to another doctor to hide a mistake that delayed my moms urgent treatment?
My mother had emergency surgery to remove two arterial blood clots in her lower right leg two weeks ago. She had went to her family physician earlier that day and was told that it was probably an arterial clot and that she was in danger of losing her toes or even all her foot. Her foot was purple, cold, she said it was numb, and she could not walk on it. Her doctor said she would try and get her in with a vascular surgeon within 24 hours. The doctor did not tell this to the person setting up my mom's appointment and the appointment was made for 48 hours later. The doctor sent my mom home with only instructions to keep this appointment and elevate her right leg. I am a registered nurse and when she told me what was going on I gave her a choice between two hospitals within a 30 minute drive because she also told me that our local emergency room had sent her home with the same problem 3 days earlier and that her family physician had been called then also. When she reached the emergency room of the choices I gave her they had her in emergency surgery within two hours. The vascular surgeon said if she had waited even a few more hours she would have lost her leg or possibly even had a major stroke and died. Because of the time wasted by local emergency room and her family physician the surgery was much much more extensive she still may have to have part of her foot amputated. Her family physician found out and called the vascular surgeon and told the surgeon that my mom was a non-compliant patient and that my mom had been urged to seek treatment as soon as possible. I later went and got the family physician office visit dictation note and it clearly stated my mom was to see the vascular surgeon the NEXT morning and said nothing about seeking treatment that day.
Her family doctor clearly lied to the vascular surgeon trying to cover her previous mistakes. This is clearly unethical and negligent behavior so how should I proceed?
Additional Details
I need to state this is more about ethics than litigation because since mom's family doctor called the surgeon mom is being treated like a non-compliant patient and the surgeon is more harsh with her. Plus my sister took mom to the ER and I did not know until later.

Hire a good lawyer and file a malpractice suit against that erring doctor.

You could probably sue for malpractice.


That sounds like a big mixed up mess. Glad you knew to bypass the red tape. Why didn't you do anything about it earlier when she had gone to the ER and they sent her home? Why did it take you what 4 more days to take things into your own hands to get her taken care of? Why didn't she talk to you about this earlier or why didn't you check up on her earlier if you knew she was having a problem? These are questions that the lawyers are going to ask you and your mother. I would of thought the thing to do is to have her admitted to the hospital and monitored while setting up the surgery but then again all the info that we have is what you have presented to us. You need to talk to the original surgeon and see if he is going to support you in your attempts to seek retribution. Does she have any cardiac reasons like rhythm problems that would increase the risk of clots that the doctor could bring up that she was non compliant about? How about activity level, even though that's usually DVT's but just playing devils advocate here, trying to help you brain storm of what things you might need to prove. Would heparin therapy of helped? Is she diabetic and non compliant in anyway with that? If so is it controlled with diagnosed treatment? Does the PCP have admitting prevlidges at the hospital that you admitted her to? If not why? If so can you go before that ethics commity?

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