No one expects medical malpractice to happen to them. We all expect doctors and hospital staff to do their best work to help us heal and get better. But the truth is medical professionals are incentivized by their professional insurance to not admit they made a medical mistake or tell you what went wrong. Often it can take working with a medical negligence lawyer to get answers and resolution.
A study in the Journal of Patient Safety puts the estimated annual deaths between 210,000 and 440,000 patients who go to hospitals and other medical facilities for treatment. By comparison, in 2015 only 35,000 people were killed in car accidents. Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer. These estimates don’t include the number of people who suffer painful and debilitating injuries from hospital malpractice, medical negligence or medication malpractice.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed because of medical malpractice, injuries caused by incorrect medical care or medical mistakes, you may have a legal case against your doctor, medical staff, hospital or medical facility that treated you. Legal cases can be filed when you or a loved one was killed, injured or severely harmed by negligent medical care. Negligent medical care occurs when a medical professional provides care below the standard of care for the community where the service was provided or failed to do something that is standard practice in their medical field.
A medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you make your claim against the medical professionals who allegedly caused the harm to you or your loved one. If medical treatment resulted in injury or death, a lawyer may be able to help prosecute your medical malpractice case and hold the wrongdoers accountable.
Medical Malpractice Types – Did you suffer one of these kinds of medical negligence?
Medical malpractice causes vary widely but can often occur in a number of different ways. Although you might think about medical malpractice as a surgeon leaving a sponge in the body after an operation, there are lots of different ways medical staff can cause harm constituting medical malpractice. Anytime a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care, it could be a case of medical malpractice.
In the United States, there was a medical malpractice payout every 43 seconds on average in 2012 but it wasn’t without just cause. Thousands of people are injured or killed due to these types of medical negligence every year. If you or a family member were a victim, holding the person or company responsible and demanding an apology and compensation may be done with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The types of medical malpractice below are some of the most common, but there are others that happen that aren’t included. Medical malpractice takes many forms so don’t hesitate to contact the malpractice attorneys at Emerson Firm if you believe malpractice happened to you or a loved one.
Patients are sent to hospitals with the intention of healing, not harming. However, hospital malpractice is common in the United States. Some victims of hospital malpractice don’t even know they were victims because hospitals try to ignore the facts and make bad situations go away, leaving injured individuals and heartbroken families with little recourse. If you or a loved one suffered one of the following, you may have a malpractice claim:
- Failing to adhere to hospital protocol that resulted in an infection or other injury
- Misusing medical equipment
- Neglecting the patient or refusing to give proper patient care that may have resulted in an unstable condition
- Failing to send a patient to a different doctor or specialist if care is insufficient
- Failing to use standard diagnoses procedures or tests to determine treatment
- Performing medical care or surgery without consent or is pointless
Hospitals often do all they can to prevent being liable for negligent care that occurs inside their walls. In fact, hospitals often use medical staff that are contractors to shirk responsibility when it comes to medical negligence so it can be difficult to get answers or figure out what went wrong. A medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you get to the bottom of why the injury or death occurred and determine next steps.
Medication and Anesthesia Negligence
Medical staff and doctors are supposed to know what medications to give to patients, how to ensure they’re used safely, and the appropriate dosages for each case. However, medical mistakes related to medications, including anesthetics, can happen because of medical negligence.
- Using the wrong drug for the intended purpose or one that interacts with other drugs
- Using an unnecessary drug or anesthetizing without medical justification
- Using the wrong drug dosage
- Using a drug that the patient is allergic to
- Administering the drug too late, especially anesthesia during procedures
- Failing to monitor vital signs and how the drug is interacting with the patient
- Failing to intubate or use machines correctly
- Using faulty equipment or drugs
- Shutting off monitoring equipment alarms
- Failing to inform the patient of important instructions related to procedures or drug usage
Medication injuries can sometimes be considered medical malpractice if the drug was used incorrectly. For drugs or medical devices that harmed many people because of how they were made or caused harmful side effects, speaking with a medication injury attorney may better help you understand how an attorney may be able to help.
Emergency Room Injuries and Death
Going to an emergency room is already a bad situation you don’t want to be in. When medical negligence makes the situation worse, the results can be tragic. Emergency room injuries and death caused by negligence can happen because of a number of situations:
- Failing to recognize and diagnose signs of a heart attack or cardiac problems
- Failing to perform surgery that meet the standard of care, such as operating on the wrong body part, botching an operation or leaving instruments in the body
- Failing to interpret test results, x-rays or charts correctly to make a diagnosis
- Delaying or misdiagnosing quickly life threatening situations, like blood clots, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, aneurysms and similar conditions
- Failing to administer the right medications
- Failing to continue to monitor patient status or following correct post-op procedures
Emergency room malpractice can be the most severe because emergency room staff are often overworked and under pressure. These conditions can result in sever injury or even death. Malpractice attorneys who understand the ins and outs of the medical field and what is considered the standard of care may be able to help you better understand what leads to emergency room negligence and hold the wrongdoers accountable.
Operation and Postoperative Malpractice
If you or your family had a surgery, there’s an expectation that you’ll get better as a result of the operation. While not all surgeries are successful, there’s a difference between a botched operation and one that didn’t work. When a surgeon, assisting doctor, or nursing staff makes mistakes that result in death or severe pain and suffering, it’s often medical malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or death caused by a surgical error, you may have a legal claim that you need to discuss with Emerson Firm. Common types of operative malpractice include:
- Sepsis, MRSA, Staph, and other infections at the site of surgery and throughout the body
- Internal bleeding and bloodstream infections
- Tissue death, tissue necrosis or necrotizing fasciitis
- Organ damage or perforations
- Blood clots, embolisms, strokes and other blood clot related conditions
- Respiratory infections like pneumonia
- Peritonitis, appendicitis, and other similar infections and life-threatening tissue inflammations
- Urinary tract infections
- Medical devices and instruments left in the body
- Insufficient post-op care
- Operations on the wrong body part
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
If your doctor misdiagnosed or did not diagnosis in a timely manner because of negligence, that may also qualify for a medical malpractice claim. For many medical conditions, diagnosing the problem as soon as possible can help prevent future harm—but once some conditions go past a certain point there might not be enough time. If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed or the diagnosis was delayed, a medical malpractice claim may help you seek recourse for expensive medical procedures or help ensure your family will be taken care of when time is taken from you.
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis is not always considered medical malpractice but is more often the case when one or more of the following occurred:
- Failure to listen to the patient
- Failure to assess and recognize symptoms
- Failure to consider past medical history or family medical history
- Failure to interpret results correctly
- Failure to order the right tests for diagnosis
If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed or their diagnosis was delayed because of their doctor’s negligence through one of these situations or a similar situation, you may have a claim. Working with a malpractice lawyer may be able to help you hold those accountable for lost time, pain and suffering, and unnecessarily risky treatments because of delays.
What Makes Medical Errors and Mistakes Malpractice?
If you’re thinking about pursuing legal action, it’s important to understand the parts that make up a medical malpractice claim. These parts of a claim are required to bring a robust case against medical professionals and hospitals but an attorney may be able to help you figure these things out.
- Relationship between the patient and the doctor – While it might seem obvious, convoluted contracts meant to shirk responsibility between hospitals and medical staff can make it difficult to pin down who exactly is responsible and what relationship the patient had with that person. There has to be a clear relationship between the patient and the doctor that both sides agreed to the employment of the doctor. In legal terms this is called a “physician-patient relationship.”
- Standard of care – Sometimes surgeries and medications don’t work or doctors do everything they can to improve a patient’s condition. It’s important to know what a patient’s doctor or medical care takers should have done in the situation. In legal terms, this is called a “duty of care.”
- Failure to meet standards – When doctors don’t meet the standard of care, that’s often when negligence occurs and deviation from this standard is the indicator of when negligence happened. In legal terms, this is called a “breach of duty.”
- Proof the failure caused the injury- One of the more difficult parts to building your claim is proving that the mistake directly caused the injury or death. This can often mean pursuing legal statements from medical staff, using outside medical experts to prove facts, and getting medical documents that leave a paper trail of negligence. In legal terms, this is called “causation.”
- Proof of injury – The most important part to getting the most payout is the proof of the economic and non-economic impact the medical malpractice had on your life or your family members’. This can include things like additional medical bills, missed income, pain and suffering, and future earning capacity. In legal terms this is called “damages.”
Getting together all of these pieces of a medical malpractice claim not only takes time, but requires special expertise as to how hospitals and other medical facilities work and what they do to prevent claims.
A medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you make your claim. Our medical malpractice law firm offers free initial consultations at no charge to learn about your cause and see if we can help you pursue damages.
What Compensation Could a Medical Malpractice Claim Recover?
Successful medical malpractice cases can often recover compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses, both caused by the injury and future expenses for conditions caused by the injury
- Lost wages, even if you could go back to work after recovery
- Loss of earning potential
- Loss of consortium to spouses due to life-changing injuries or death
- Pain and suffering
- Other damages, such as parental support, life’s enjoyment and more
If you believe that you or a loved one were a victim of medical malpractice, contact the malpractice lawyers at Emerson Firm today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Don’t let hospitals and doctors take advantage of their position and hold those accountable who caused your injuries or the death of a loved one because of medical mistakes. And don’t delay as many states have very short Statutes of Limitation that bar claims if not brought in a timely fashion. Some of these periods are as short as one year from the date of the treatment or procedure. Call us now!
Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm
Emerson Firm, PLLC has extensive experience prosecuting claims on behalf of patients and their families, both in cases of medical malpractice as well as cases of medical device and medication injuries. We believe in the protections of the law and hold doctors, medical staff and hospitals accountable when they’ve harmed patients and their families because of medical errors.
We know our role as medical malpractice lawyers is to ensure the voice of patients and their families are heard and our mission is to fight to uphold protections that keep us all safe during medical procedures and care. Our malpractice legal team knows the ins and outs of what it takes from experience. We’re also recognized as leaders in the legal industry from various legal communities.