What is a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Medical malpractice cases arise when a patient is harmed by any medical professional who fails to provide proper treatment. Though these incidences rarely occur, they are serious and require an experienced law firm to properly handle and determine if a lawsuit should be filed. It’s estimated that medical errors kill roughly 200,000 patients in the United States each year.
All hospitals, doctors, and other health care professionals are expected to provide a certain standard of care. A medical professional is not liable for all harm a patient experiences. They are, however, legally responsible if a patient experiences injury or harm due to a provider deviating from quality care that is expected from them.
The law requires that medical professionals adhere to strict standards. Any deviation from these standards which results in injury can potentially result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If a patient feels the provider was negligent, but no harm or injury occurs, there can be no claim. Furthermore, a patient must prove that it was negligence which caused injury or harm and that without the negligence it would not have happened.
COMMON MALPRACTICE ISSUES THAT COULD LEAD TO A LAWSUIT
According to Medical News Today, an injured patient must show that the physician acted negligently in rendering care and that such negligence resulted in injury. To do so, four legal elements must be proven: (1) a professional duty owed to the patient; (2) breach of such duty; (3) injury caused by the breach; and (4) resulting damages.
A few examples of errors and malpractice injuries include:
- misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- unnecessary or incorrect surgery
- premature discharge from a medical facility
- failure to order appropriate tests or to act on results
- prescribing the wrong dosage or the wrong medication
- leaving things inside the patient's body after surgery
- operating on the wrong part of the body
- potentially fatal infections acquired in the hospital
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I SHOULD PURSUE A MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT
A complication or a bad outcome of medical treatment is not necessarily medical negligence or malpractice. Things can go wrong even when appropriate care is provided. After a surgical procedure or other medical treatment, a patient can experience side effects or complications even though a medical provider has done nothing wrong. Yet, there are cases which are quite obvious; one example would be if a patient goes to the hospital for a severe headache and fever and they’re simply told to go home and take aspirin, but days later they’re diagnosed with meningitis. This would be considered a possible malpractice case because the emergency room doctor did not take precautions and check for signs and symptoms of meningitis. Most cases are not so obvious though, therefore patients should pay close attention to the care they receive. If any issues arise they should document their symptoms and treatment and confer with an experienced attorney if malpractice is suspected.
WHAT TYPE OF ACTION CAN I EXPECT ONCE AN ATTORNEY IS INVOLVED
Once an attorney reviews a case they will need detailed medical records and treatment history, including medical information not directly related to the claim. This information will allow the attorney to make an informed decision based on all available records. If the information provided reflects a breach of the standard of care which is expected of all health providers, the claim will likely be accepted. The attorney will then provide a list of records they will need to proceed. Medical malpractice is a rare but serious concern. The experienced staff at Alexander Law Group can help determine if a claim should be pursued. Contact us today at 877-271-1969.