A tremendous amount of trust is placed in medical professionals in the United States. While most experience excellent care, medical malpractice wreaks havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children. Approximately 225,000 people die from medical malpractice each year, and many others live with the devastating effects left by medical errors.
Yet only 2% of those victimized ever file a malpractice lawsuit with a medical malpractice attorney. The victims of medical malpractice, along with their families, are entitled to compensation for injuries resulting from medical negligence, and a medical malpractice attorney is the best place to start.
How Can Medical Malpractice Be Identified?
A medical malpractice claim must include a serious, life-threatening, negligent act or series of actions by the doctor, surgeon, or the hospital staff, such as prescription errors, failing to ask about medical history or drug allergies, anesthesia overdose, and hospital negligence leading to the injury or death of the patient. In addition, malpractice may involve failure to diagnose and treat infection, surgical errors, failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent for procedures, leaving surgical instruments in the body, failing to plan a medically necessary c-section, and performing the wrong operation.
Unfortunately, not everyone who suffers from an unexpected or adverse medical outcome can file a legitimate malpractice claim. Some patients pass away despite their medical team’s best efforts to provide outstanding options and excellent care. Malpractice law describes the failure to provide the care that a reasonable person would provide in the same situation as ordinary negligence.
The patient’s claim must rise to the level of malpractice based on the following criteria:
- Doctor-patient relationship with the provider in question
- The doctor failed to meet the standard of care* (“Standard of care” is a legal term referring to the duties of a medical professional or a doctor in the given situation; the medical doctor did not provide the level of competent care to another provider would have done in this case)
- The patient suffered an injury due to substandard care
- The patient’s injury caused damages or losses, which entitle them to compensation (physical pain, additional medical bills, lost work, lost ability to earn wages, mental anguish)
- Before filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida, the law requires that the patient (or loved ones) provide notice of the intent to sue the healthcare provider, including an affidavit from an independent medical expert that certifies the medical malpractice claim
The medical malpractice claim may involve a medical error in one or more points in the patient’s treatment. It can be challenging to identify instances of medical malpractice. Malpractice lawyers are skilled at thoroughly investigating to determine who is at fault behind the injuries or death of the individual.
What are Examples of Medical Negligence?
When a doctor or healthcare provider offers substandard care to their patient, the provider may be held legally responsible for the consequences. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical mistakes, failure to adequately monitor drug interactions, lab test errors, birth injuries, and inadequate cleanliness and staffing in the hospital are some of the many medical negligence issues reported each year in the US.
The majority of malpractice cases against primary care physicians typically involve failure to recognize and diagnose a medical illness. In addition, surgeon malpractice cases often involve wrongful death caused by medical errors such as leaving a surgical instrument inside the patient or operating on the wrong site.
Examples of ordinary negligence and medical malpractice:
- Physician’s scaffold slices into an organ or other vital tissue nearby during a surgery
- Completed surgery is unrelated to the medical condition.
- The wrong procedure was scheduled and performed on the patient, actually meant for another patient.
- The provider gives incorrect anesthesia or an overdose of anesthesia.
- The doctor fails to diagnose and treat infections.
Medical negligence can cause destructive outcomes for the patient. Curable illnesses, sadly, may result in death. Patients may need repeated surgery or suffer from a permanent impairment caused by a botched medical procedure. The patient or their loved ones deserve compensation for lost income, emotional distress, medical bills and costs, and wrongful death due to injuries caused by medical negligence. The patient may be awarded monetary damages for a medical malpractice lawsuit through an out-of-court settlement or after the evidence is presented to a jury by experienced medical negligence and malpractice attorney.
Signs of Medical Malpractice
Patients who experience medical negligence face serious, life-changing challenges, including disfigurement, emotional distress, scarring, disability, and a long and costly road to recovery. Family members of a patient who dies unexpectedly experience overwhelming grief. Florida law requires surviving family members and patients who suffer from medical malpractice to file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the patient’s injury or death.
Medical malpractice cases typically involve one or more of the following signs of medical malpractice:
Early diagnosis and intervention are the keys to a successful recovery. The window of opportunity to successfully treat an ailment may close before the doctor makes a correct diagnosis, or the patient may experience medical complications due to a delayed diagnosis, such as melanoma skin cancer.
Medication mistakes may qualify as medical negligence, including wrong dosage, wrong drug, incorrect frequency or duration of treatment, Failing to include necessary warnings such as side effects, failure to ask the patient about allergies, medical interactions, or other medical conditions.
The physician has a legal obligation to inform the patient of all potential risks, benefits, and alternatives to the surgery or medical procedure. If the method causes an injury, and the medical provider fails to obtain “informed consent,” they may be held liable for medical negligence.
A misdiagnosis may be due to a failure to perform appropriate tests, Relying on inaccurate results from faulty diagnosis equipment, human error missing something on x-ray or pathology slide, or failing to seek the specialist’s opinion to determine the viability of the diagnosis.
Surgical Errors or Wrong Medical Procedure
A surgical error may include a procedure performed on the wrong patient, instruments left behind during surgery, removing the wrong organ, or damaging a vital organ.
Do I Have a Case?
Many patients delay questioning a practitioner’s judgment even after a severe and adverse outcome. But, if you or a loved one have been hurt or injured by a doctor, surgeon, or healthcare provider, you may qualify for compensatory damages. The compassionate and educated team at Hannon Legal Group specializes in medical malpractice and has decades of experience representing families and patients in medical malpractice claims.
Contact experienced medical malpractice attorney James Hannon, Esq. and Sherin Waggy, Esq., to see if you have a case. The Hannon legal team will examine the evidence, build your case, speak with a qualified physician who can attest to the merit of your claim, and submit the notice of intent to sue to the doctor or medical practitioner involved in your situation. Call 305-358-3109 today to schedule a consultation to discuss your malpractice claim.