Leeseberg & Valentine

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Can I Sue My Physician for Failure to Diagnose a Serious Esophagus Issue?

Q: Can I file a medical malpractice claim against a physician I used to see? The reason I ask is that while I was in his care I had some issues with strictures in my esophagus and at one point couldnt even swallow my own saliva. He told me I was getting better but I ended up seeing a specialist and had to have 3/4 of my esophagus removed. Plus numerous other procures and surgeries due to this problem. I still have to go every 2-3 months to have my remaining esophagus stretched so I can swallow solid food. My doctor said I will probably have to have this done for the rest of my life.

A: The condition of esophageal stricture you are describing can be caused by a number of underlying causes. It is very unusual for an esophageal resection (removal of the esophagus) to be necessary to treat the problem. That raises serious questions about whether you were properly treated.

The physician whose care you are questioning may have been negligent in failing to properly diagnose your condition and its cause, or in failing to properly treat it (it is necessary to properly diagnose the precise condition and its cause because that impacts the proper treatment.) Mechanical dilatation used to be the preferred method of treatment when strictures resulted in severe dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. Newer medical studies have discussed the benefit of medical therapy (using medicines to treat the underlying problem, which is usually esophagitis.

Your question does not mention what diagnosis or treatment efforts the physician arrived at, or how long you treated with him before the specialist eventually diagnosed and treated your problem. Your attorney would have to be able to demonstrate not only that the physician failed to treat you properly, but that also that the delay in receiving proper treatment is what resulted in your having much of your esophagus resected. These issues can only be addressed by highly qualified medical experts, who would be required to support your malpractice claim as expert witnesses.

The period of time within which a malpractice claim can be filed in Ohio is extremely short, so it is imperative that you contact an experienced malpractice attorney as quickly as possible in order to protect your legal rights to pursue such a claim.

- ATTORNEY GERRY LEESEBERG

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