As personal injury law attorneys, we understand that behind every case, an individual or family is deeply impacted by the negligence at hand.
Below, Garmey Law attorney Peter Richard explains firsthand a concern that an actual client brought to our team – and how we have helped resolve these questions or fears.
A Client’s Struggle To Understand What Happened To Her Daughter
A grieving mother asked whether her recently deceased daughter had a medical malpractice case. Her daughter was admitted to the hospital with COVID and began recovering, but then developed significant amounts of large pulmonary embolisms that the mother suspected may have been caused by the ventilator tubes slipping. She passed away on her 16th day in the hospital.
My Client’s Fear
My potential client was hesitant to speak to a lawyer. Still, in her mind, she kept asking whether the hospital had committed medical malpractice since she did not know or fully understand how her daughter had died. She did not know what to do and needed answers.
How Garmey Law Helped
We obtained all the medical records and imaging from the hospital. We assured the mother that we would investigate her daughter’s situation and get her an answer, one way or another, as to whether the hospital committed malpractice. We explained that in Maine, a medical malpractice case means that 1. the hospital, its doctors, or its staff violated the medical standard of care by acting differently than a reasonable medical provider would have acted or 2. treated the patient in a way that a reasonable medical professional would not have acted. These actions would then have had to have caused the patient to be injured. We assured the mother that we would work with an expert, at no cost to her, and figure out if this was what happened.
After reviewing the records and consulting with our nationwide pool of experts, we met with a doctor who specialized in COVID-related deaths, working in at least five countries, including the US, during the pandemic. The doctor informed us that the way this patient passed was an unfortunately common effect of COVID, which was well-known in the medical community but not to the general public. The hospital had done everything possible but could not save this woman’s life.
When I told my client the news, I expected her to be angry or upset. I expected her to be unsatisfied that she had no legal actions to take for her daughter’s untimely death. We delivered the message with empathy and understanding, and when she heard the results, she broke down crying, not with anger or frustration, but with relief. She did not have a case, but that was ultimately unimportant. She knew her daughter’s death was tragic and that everything had been done that could have been done to save her life. This brought her the closure that she needed, and she thanked us for giving that closure to her.
A few days later, I received a card that said, “Peter, to you and your team: Thank you so much for what you do! I am so grateful that you care, I am so glad that I reached out to you, and I feel relieved knowing they did all they could for my Daughter. So thank you again for doing what you do to help people. Just talking with you, you have a great personality and are very professional. I must say this is your calling! You have a blessed demeanor.”
I keep that card on my desk to remind me that lawyers are not here to make money but to help people in need at their most vulnerable times. That is the value that a good lawyer can bring.