'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

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Latest post Sat, Mar 8 2008 4:34 PM by adjuster jack. 4 replies.
  • Sat, Mar 8 2008 1:44 PM

    Question [=?] 'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

    I'm an Female with Epilepsy. I fell and broke my nose, cut my lip and forehead. The fall was caused by convulsions that occurred one right after the other. Laying helplessly on the floor, aware of what was happening, but unable to control my body, I was unable to get to the phone to call for help. After my roommate returned home from work, 911 was called and I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. At first, the physician was stumped, but after testing, my diagnosis was "Dilantin Toxicity". Can I sue my neurologist? The E.R. doctor said there was no way blood levels of 350% above the recommended levels could have occurred from taking one or to extra doses, on my own, by accident. He told my roommate and I that this had to be a prescribed overdose over a long period of time. Blood levels were taken two months ago, I saw my doctor one month after that for a follow-up of the blood tests. The day of the "overdose" was one month after follow-up. I had been complaining, to my neurologist, that my eye sight has been deteriorating at an extreme rate for a year now. Other complaints include all the symptoms of overdose, but he "Blew me off". He told me my eye sight deteriorating was probably due to old age. Dizzy spells, nausea, loss off bodily functions such as urinating & defecating, dark urine, thick tongue, the works! Evidently the doctor thought this was all in my head. That's the impression of both myself and my roommate. Went to try to get a consultation with one lawyer and I couldn't get past the shark of a secretary. The second lawyer said there's no doctor on the face of the earth that is going to state , in court, that my neurologist overdosed me. I have the Hospital's records that note, "Diagnosis: Dilantin Toxicity". Can I sue? What are my chances of winning? How can I find a lawyer that actually cares? What, exactly can I sue for, because all the lawyers ask me, "what do you think you are going to get out of this. I don't know! Isn't that their job?! Maybe I should get a lawyer from a far away part of the state?
  • Sat, Mar 8 2008 4:32 PM In reply to

    re: 'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

    "Can I sue?"

    "What are my chances of winning?"

    There's no way to predict that.

    "How can I find a lawyer that actually cares?"

    Keep calling lawyers. Go in for consultations. Keep calling lawyers. Go in for consultations. Eventually, you'll find one. Make sure you are talking to medical malpractice lawyers. They sue doctors every day and find plenty of doctors that testify against other doctors.

    "What, exactly can I sue for, because all the lawyers ask me, "what do you think you are going to get out of this. I don't know! Isn't that their job?!"

    Sure, it's their job. They are supposed to evalute your condition and your records and your damages and guide you. Sounds like you've only talked to morons so far.

    "Maybe I should get a lawyer from a far away part of the state?"

    That may be a good idea.

    But there's a couple of things you have to realize that may make this a little complicated.

    You already had epilepsy. You allowed your neurologist to blow you off for a year while you had serious symptoms. Don't know why you just didn't go to another neurologist and the reason isn't important. You have to deal with the situation as it exists.

    There may not be a lot of money in this. Assuming you recovered, got your symptoms and your dosage under control, you'd obviously have your medical expenses (you don't mention loss of income) and some pain and suffering, but maybe not much unless you suffered some permanent or long term debilitating conditions for which you require ongoing treatment (other than the epilepsy).

    The big question is: How are you now? Do you have another neurologist? Did you get your dosage adjusted satisfactorily? Have you recovered from all those symptoms? How long has it been since the seizure? How much have your medical costs been?

    Has anybody else diagnosed Dilantin Toxicity? The value of the ER doctors diagnosis is of little or no value. ER doctors are typically generalists, and not experts in any particular field. Believe me, I've had experience with ER doctors misdiagnosing conditions.

    You'll need an expert to confirm the diagnosis and relate it to the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

    Experts cost money. Attorneys don't like to pay for experts unless there's good money in the case. And we don't know yet whether there's good money in yours yet.

    Answer my questions and I'll see I can provide any helpful comments.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Mar 8 2008 4:34 PM In reply to

    re: 'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

    Oh, the answer to "can I sue?" is obviously yes.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sun, Mar 9 2008 4:15 PM In reply to

    • carol3
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Aug 10 1999
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    Feedback [*=*] re: 'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

    Have you consulted another neurologist for a 2nd opinion since your ER visit, if you believe the first doctor erred? I certainly would not take the word of an ER physician and would consult another specialist before you consider malpractice occurred.

    I note that hospital release instructions are that you consult your own doctor within either 24 or 48 hours following release. Have you done so?

    "The E.R. doctor said there was no way blood levels of 350% above the recommended levels could have occurred from taking one or to extra doses, on my own, by accident. ..."

    That is incorrect. Dilantin toxicity can occur as a result of taking a daily dose of the drug that is too high or a single Dilantin overdose (either intentional or accidental).

    "Blood levels were taken two months ago, I saw my doctor one month after that for a follow-up of the blood tests. "

    Assuming you were on the meds for some time, it appears that your doctor was following the recommended blood tests.

    The literature referenced states:
    " Your healthcare provider will most likely measure the amount of Dilantin in your blood and adjust your dose as necessary."

    "He told me my eye sight deteriorating was probably due to old age. Dizzy spells, nausea, loss off bodily functions such as urinating & defecating, dark urine, thick tongue, the works! "

    Nothing in the list of side effects lists eyesight deterioration or loss of bodily functions. (However, loss of bodily functions, changes in bowel or urinary habits can indicate other potentially serious problems which you should have checked.)

    According to the literature, the most common side effects of Dilantin include:
    Unusual eye movements, muscle coordination problems, slurred speech, confusion.
    Other possible side effects can include:
    Dizziness, Insomnia, nervousness, twitching
    headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation, larger or fuller lips, problems with gums (swelling, tenderness, unusual growth) excessive body or facial hair.
    REF: http://epilepsy.emedtv.com/dilantin/dilantin-side-effects.html

    "Can I sue? What are my chances of winning? How can I find a lawyer that actually cares? What, exactly can I sue for, because all the lawyers ask me, "what do you think you are going to get out of this. I don't know! Isn't that their job?! "

    Only a medical malpractice attorney can answer that.

    Have you recovered from this episode? If so, you have no injuries--a necessary element of medical malpractice.

    You might want to consult a couple of more attorneys but absent serious injury, it is highly unlikely you will get an attorney to take a 'case' considering that testimony from a medical expert to review and offer testimony costs many tens of thousands of dollars in pursuing malpractice.

    If you need help locating a medical malpractice attorney in your state, the Find A Lawyer feature is an excellent resource.

  • Tue, Apr 8 2008 12:03 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: 'Dilantin Toxicity' Can my doctor be held liable?

    the prescription that you have should give what the doctor ordered, dosage and frequency. Maybe he gave you too large of a dose and didnt monitor all lab tests, such as liver functions.

    an attorney can look into all that. i would contact one
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