Still moving slow and with pain from the operation gone wrong my wife and I approached the solid wood door leading to the lawyer’s office specializing in medical malpractice cases. Highly recommended for his success and fat settlements we were more than optimistic.
Less than six weeks prior my wife had been talked into undergoing a stomach stapling operation called gastroplasty. Our doctor friend had referred to her overweight condition as morbidly obese. Not complimentary and totally at odds with her beautiful personality, angelic face, wit and charm. After being lead into the ornate office we found ourselves seated in front of desk suited for royalty. The demeanor of the attorney fit in with the desk.
In an assertive tone he told us to be succinct. Said a lawyer’s time is his stock in trade. My wife began to explain that with the help of a doctor friend she had undergone a surgical procedure at a nearby famous hospital with the surgery performed by a celebrity surgeon. However, due to a medical accident her spleen had been nicked and instead of a short procedure she had nearly died on the operating table. The previously friendly surgeon was now defensive and somewhat hostile.
The attorney had listened and taken a few notes. He seemed to be ignoring us after my wife’s careful and detailed account. When he finally looked up he was brief. He said he was not interested in taking the case. However, had my wife died due to this medical accident it would be another matter.
Walking to the car I couldn’t help but tell my wife how much I loved her and that what we had just experienced was shabby. Before she came into my life I wasn’t too happy. Since our courtship and marriage things had been wonderful. Legal sharks may find another’s tragedy wonderful but I thank God my wife is alive.
When we found another attorney with a different attitude I took the opportunity to speak up and tell some of my side of the terrible experience at the hospital. How when the surgeon finally emerged from the operating room he told me the spleen is an unnecessary organ in the body. How preposterous I thought for a man of science to concoct an excuse for his failure such as that. Any fool knows the human body isn’t filled with excess parts.
Seeing that his explanation was not being received well he turned and walked away. For some reason I noticed that he wore brand new expensive shoes with as little wear on them as you would find on the carpet in a shoe store. Before we collected the small settlement in the form of an inconspicuous check drawn on a private bank, my wife and I had to suffer through several depositions. Public speaking and especially conversing with lawyers has never bothered me. My wife, though, was terrified by the process and could hardly speak. The legal wrangling and lawyer questions seemed to go on forever to her. Only a double martini calmed her nerves.