Couple seeking to sue Vidant for malpractice running into challenges

WINTERVILLE N.C. (WNCT) – A Winterville couple is running into obstacles trying to find an attorney to take on their malpractice lawsuit against Vidant Health. They said they believe it is because of the state laws putting a significant burden on the plaintiff in malpractice suits.

Linda Cella said her husband, Dominic, nearly died in Vidant’s care, after she said surgical mistakes and lack of nurse care led to further medical complications.

“I was devastated. I fell on the floor, they had to pick me up. They called my sister in Florida, she came here on a plane right away,” Cella said.

Her husband was seen at Vidant Medical Center multiple times and was put in the ICU unit. She said when he was finally sent home, he was only 93 pounds and had infections from the care.

They were referred by another doctor to the UNC hospital, where he underwent four more surgeries. Cella said she wants to sue for malpractice to cover wages after she lost her job caring for her husband, and pain and suffering.

However, state laws make finding an attorney to take on a malpractice suit very difficult.

“It has to be a significant case for us to take on the risk of a new filing,” said Darren Dawson of Dawson & Albritton,P.A.

He said the cost of getting a malpractice suit to trail can easily exceed $100,000. State law requires a medical expert to confirm malpractice did take place before a suit can even be filed. Laws also limit non-economic factors like pain and suffering to $500,000.

“If we got 100 files in our office to review, we would probably take on maybe 10 of those 100,” Dawson said.

He said if someone does believe they have a malpractice case, they still should get it looked over by an attorney.

Cella said because of this, she has lost her car and her house in in foreclosure.

Vidant released at statement to 9 On Your Side saying, “At Vidant Medical Center, we are committed to provide a system of care that ensures the best-in-region access, exceptional patient experiences and optimal outcomes. All complaints from patients are followed-up on and reviewed by our Patient and Family Services and Operations teams.”

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