Cases of medical malpractice occur when a patient is injured by a doctor or nurse (or another medical professional) who does not provide proper medical care. Fortunately, doctors, nurses, and hospitals make mistakes in only a small number of cases. However, when these errors occur, it could be catastrophic for the patient.
Keep in mind that it was not necessarily because a doctor made an error or a patient was unhappy with a course of treatment or its outcome. To comply with the legal definition of medical malpractice, the doctor or medical provider must have been somehow negligent, meaning that the doctor was not reasonably competent and that the patient was harmed by incompetence.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
The misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis accounts for a large proportion of complaints about medical malpractice. If a doctor fails to diagnose a condition (or for some time fails to diagnose a serious disease), the patient may miss treatment opportunities that could have prevented serious harm or even death.
The key to proving a medical malpractice claim based on misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is to compare what the treating physician did (or did not do) with how other competent physicians in the same specialty had dealt with the matter. If a reasonably skilled and competent doctor had not made the diagnostic error under the same circumstances, the treating doctor may be liable for malpractice.
The birth of a child is a wonderful event, and doctors must be careful not to harm the child during the birth process. A competent physician can anticipate many birth complications, which should be addressed before birth. Failure to anticipate problems that a competent doctor would otherwise have dealt with could lead to a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Furthermore, the improper use of methods or instruments can also cause permanent damage to the child.
Errors in medication can occur in many ways, from the initial prescription to the drug administration. For example, if the doctor prescribes the wrong medication, a patient could be harmed. Alternatively, the patient may be injured by a medication prescribed by the doctor to treat a misdiagnosed condition. The right medicine can also be given to the wrong patient in a hospital setting.
Anesthesia errors are generally more dangerous than surgical errors. Even a minor mistake by the anesthesiologist can lead to permanent injury, brain damage, or even death.
Some medical misconduct claims stem from errors in the surgery room. A surgeon may be negligent during the surgery (puncturing internal organs, operating on the wrong part of the body, or leaving surgical instruments in the body) or the nursing staff may be negligent in administering postoperative care (which may lead to complications such as a serious infection).
Contact an Attorney
Cases of medical malpractice are regulated by complex rules that vary considerably from state to state, so it is often essential to obtain advice or representation from a lawyer who has experience in dealing with medical malpractice. Let the Law Office of Jack R. Sturgill take the burden of legal matters off of your shoulders. Contact us today and set up a free consultation.