Similarities and Differences Between a Medical Malpractice and a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you’re not familiar with the specifics of Florida wrongful death suits and medical malpractice [&…
At one time or another, we all have to trust our doctor, nurse or other medical provider to take care of us. When we’re sick or injured, we expect these professionals to perform procedures correctly and take great care in the diagnosis and treatment of an array of medical conditions. Unfortunately, even the most sincere doctor, healthcare provider, or hospital can make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can have catastrophic outcomes for patients and their families. Medical malpractice occurs whenever a patient is injured or damaged by doctors, surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, or other professionals who have failed to provide adequate treatment or to follow accepted standards of practice.
All medical service providers—including licensed doctors and nurses, and hospitals and healthcare facilities—are responsible for treating patients with illnesses or injuries by providing competent care to the best of their abilities. When any component fails to maintain the proper “standard of care” in diagnosing, prescribing treatment or treating the condition, the negligent or incompetent act can have life-altering results. Patients may suffer serious, debilitating, or even fatal injuries at the fault of their primary physician, surgeon, medical staff, healthcare facility, pharmacist, other provider, or HMO insurance carrier. Medical errors that result from acts of malpractice can aggravate a patient’s existing condition or result in a completely new injury to the patient.
When policies and procedures are not properly followed or a provider fails to exercise the accepted degree of care and skill when delivering services, malpractice may have occurred. However, there are numerous factors that must be considered and complex claims often require an experienced medical malpractice attorney to document and present a case in a timely manner. Our personal injury lawyers understand that the time immediately following any unexpected medical injury can be very confusing, frustrating, and emotional. But, while you recover from a medical mistake or injury, our legal staff can work with the healthcare system and apply medical law to determine your rights and legal options.
Just because you’ve experienced an unsuccessful result from a medical treatment or surgery does not mean that you can successfully bring a lawsuit and seek monetary compensation. Medical malpractice only occurs when a provider fails to act in an acceptable manner or fails to deliver the appropriate standard of care.
This could include a diagnosis that was significantly delayed. For example, symptoms may not have been investigated properly, or a certain medical issue may not have been screened for appropriately. It can also include when lab test results are misinterpreted or when you are not appropriately referred to a specialist.
This could include the use of improper sterilization techniques or other issues related to patient prep. Other possibilities include the wrong procedure being performed, or improper care that leads to blood clots, for example, or post-op infection. Sometimes, these errors cause current medical issues to worsen; other times, new ones are created.
Improper prenatal care falls into this type of medical malpractice, including the prescribing of medicines that can harm the fetus. It can include inadequate assessment of the baby while still in the womb or when injuries occur due to a lack of timely response. A failure to perform a C-section or improper use of forceps are two more examples.
This can include a lack of having a backup doctor on call, prematurely discharging you from the hospital, not following up with test results, not providing a patient with proper instructions, and more.
As just one example, the Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant can have failed components that, once corroded, can lead to multiple problems, including but not limited to premature device failure. Metal-on-metal knee and/or hip implants have also been used without proper warning of possible dangers.
Signs of neglect or abuse can include unsanitary living conditions, lack of response to calls for help, unexplained injuries, inadequate nutrition, and more. Because of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing homes are required, by law, to provide residents with the “highest practicable” degree of care.
Errors of this type can originate with various medical professionals, from doctors or nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, and more, including the drug manufacturer. This type of error can become malpractice in cases when medicines are prescribed that negatively interact with others or trigger known allergies. Incorrect labeling is also a potential cause of a situation rising to medical malpractice.
This includes situations where a medical professional does not meet standards of care that another professional with similar knowledge and skills would use. As just one example, you could get diagnosed with a cold when you really have pneumonia.
Required standards of care can differ from those in a primary care physician’s office because, by its very nature, the emergency room can be filled with people suffering from significant injury or illness. That does not mean, however, that malpractice can’t occur in emergency rooms. It can, and does, happen.
These situations can occur during and after surgery, if you are not appropriately monitored for complications. These cases can include post-surgical infections, inadequate discharge instructions, and more.
This can include an incorrect diagnosis, improper prescriptions, and more. It can also include when a patient doesn’t give consent before surgery, as one more example.
If a doctor abandons a patient who needs medical care and the patient can’t find a replacement—and suffers as a result—this can form the basis of a medical malpractice suit.
Though the vast majority of healthcare providers do good work, mistakes are sometimes made. Since all providers are required to exercise reasonable care in accordance with the standards for the profession involved, any entity or multiple entities may be held liable for your damages.
Note that the concept of medical malpractice is often misunderstood. A situation doesn’t rise to the level of malpractice if the results of a consultation or procedure don’t solve your medical problem. It becomes malpractice when a medical professional performs at a sub-standard level when, if standards of care were met, you would be fine.
Does this sound like a situation you’ve experienced? If so, know we offer a free consultation where we’ll review your records at no charge. You can contact us online to set up your free consultation, or, you can call one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers at 800.251.1111.
While no amount of money can make up for medical malpractice, the compensation you receive can help you cope with a serious medical injury or the unexpected death of a loved one. But don’t expect your healthcare provider or healthcare facility to admit to a breach of duty. If you believe mistakes may have occurred, it is important to seek the advice of one of our malpractice lawyers as soon as possible since specific timelines may apply. As the victim of medical malpractice, you have only two years* following the discovery of your injury to file a personal injury claim.
At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we treat our clients like family and you will get to know everyone involved with your personal injury lawsuit. Although some failures or errors are obvious, many personal injury cases begin with a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right. Because we have nurse consultants on staff, this provides you with an important advantage throughout all stages of medical negligence litigation. After our team obtains and reviews pertinent information about your case, you may be advised to give written notice of a claim against one or more of the entities involved.
*NOTE: A two-year time limitation is not how long you have to seek legal counsel. The actual filing of your lawsuit must be accomplished before the expiration of the statute of limitations and certain restrictions may apply.
To consult with one of our experienced malpractice attorneys, please contact us online. We will provide you with a free consultation about what you or a loved one has experienced. Or, call us at 800.251.1111.
As one example of the medical malpractice settlements we’ve gotten for clients, one man had gauze pads left in his scrotum after undergoing a vasectomy reversal. The jury awarded our client $1,005,000.
A: Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional fails to perform his or her duties competently and, as a result, a patient was harmed. Legal specifics vary by state but, in general, the situation broadly described here must exist for something to qualify as malpractice.
A doctor-patient relationship must exist, meaning you hired a medical professional and he or she agreed to this arrangement. You couldn’t, for example, successfully sue a doctor for following advice you overheard in a hospital hallway.
This professional must have been negligent in discharging his or her duty at an appropriate standard of care. In other words, a breach of duty must exist. It is not enough, for example, if you disagree with advice or treatment given, or if the treatment was not the best available. The professional just must have been reasonably skillful and careful.
This negligence must have caused an injury or been the cause of a worsening injury or illness.
You must have actually suffered harm because of what the medical professional did or neglected to do. Damages must have occurred.
A: There are four elements of malpractice—actually hiring a professional, that professional being negligent, that negligence causing injury, and that injury causing you to suffer harm. To prove medical malpractice, each of these elements must be proven. Specifics of malpractice law vary by state but, in general, these elements serve as the basis of malpractice proof.
A: Medical negligence occurs when a professional indirectly causes injury or death, because the standards of care were not met. No harm was intended, but a lack of knowledge or action causes a harmful oversight to take place. With malpractice, the standard of care was intentionally breached, which can make the latter even more complex to prove in court.
A: From the moment you suspect that malpractice may have occurred, begin to gather your medical records and write down a detailed timeline of what happened, including what you were told by medical professionals. List how the injuries you’ve suffered have had, and are having, a negative impact on your life. Because these types of cases can become quite complex, with multiple nuances of the law coming into play, it makes good sense to also contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve.®
If you’re not familiar with the specifics of Florida wrongful death suits and medical malpractice [&…
We expect doctors, nurses, and other medical providers to do what’s best for us. When […]
We trust medical professionals to consistently give us the best possible health care. Unfortunately,…
Accidents happen, even in the operating room among practiced, knowledgeable surgeons. In order for t…
“Few medical errors are as vivid and terrifying as those that involve patients who have […]
Medical malpractice can be defined as care by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, [&hell…
The paralegal Beth Osburn was absolutely incredible. Her assistance, dedication, responsiveness, encouragement, and overall compassion helped me through an incredibly difficult time. I never believed I would need to consult an attorney and was somewhat negatively biased in my expectation of how that experience might be. However, based on my experience with Harrell and Harrell, I have recommended and will continue to recommend them to anyone put in the difficult situation of needing legal counsel/assistance.