According to a 2016 study performed by John Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. While that statistic is certainly alarming, it is important to note that not all medical errors result in death. Rather, many times, victims of medical malpractice survive the actual procedure, but they are forced to live with paralysis, brain injury or other lifelong complications.
There are a multitude of ways that a doctor can mishandle your medical care, but the most common types of medical malpractice usually fall into one of these categories:
1) Failure to diagnose (i.e., a doctor misses an abnormal x-ray or test showing a problematic condition);
2) Improper medication (i.e., a physician gives a pregnant mother the wrong drug which induces premature birth and a brain-damaged baby);
3) Mishandled treatment (i.e., a patient exhibits signs of a medical problem, yet the doctor fails to properly or timely address the issue); or
4) Botched procedure (i.e., the doctor improperly performs a surgery on a patient).
In order to properly evaluate a potential medical malpractice case, the attorney will typically have an expert (a doctor who practices in the field at issue) review the applicable medical records to confirm the physician’s treatment fell below the standard of care. Additionally, the attorney reviewing the case will generally evaluate the damages/injuries caused by the doctor’s negligence and also consider any potential difficulties in proving causation (any claimant must prove the doctor’s actions or omissions caused the unwanted result).
If you believe there may have been medical malpractice in the care rendered to you or your family member, you should speak with legal counsel immediately to determine your/their legal rights.
*DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not legal advice, as each situation is dependent upon the facts and circumstances at hand, and any action should be taken only after consulting with an attorney.