Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical Malpractice:

  • Medical errors may involve a physician or other medical provider, and may take place in a hospital, doctor's office, nursing home, or other facility.

  • There are many kinds of medical errors, all of which include the breach of the standard of care for the procedure or care provided to the patient.

  • Only another physician of the same specialty can testify against a physician accused of medical malpractice. For this reason, medical malpractice claims are very expensive for an attorney's office, often incurring pre-trial costs in excess of $100,000. For this reason, liability must be clear and damages must be substantial.

  • Below are some of the more common types of medical errors.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

 

Medication Errors:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication, or failing to monitor a patient who is taking a different medication known to have serious side effects, can cause significant temporary or permanent injury or even death. Often, the error is caused by the prescribing physician failing to anticipate the effects of the medication caused by another medication that the patient is already taking.

  • Dosage errors involve administering of the right medication but at the wrong dosage, either too much or too little, which results in damages to the patient.  Dosage errors can be fatal.

Birth Injuries:

  • Birth injuries of a newborn are some of the most damaging and heartbreaking errors because the injuries may be catastrophic and last for the lifetime of the newborn.

  • Often, lack of oxygen to the infants brain caused by negligence during delivery can result in severe mental disability requiring highly expensive professional care for the lifetime of the infant. The full projected cost of care, including any anticipated future surgery, is included in the damages.

  • "Wrongful births", so-called, usually involve an infant born with a serious birth defect that should have been anticipated by the physician during pre-natal testing.

Nursing Home Neglect, Abuse & Liability:

  • Nursing homes are subject to extensive state and federal regulations. Claims may occur when these standards of care are breached and harm to the resident occurs. Often, the breach is caused by improperly trained or supervised employees, insufficient staff or other cost-cutting.

  • Typical nursing home claims involve neglect, such as he failure to prevent and/or treat bed sores.

  • Abuse claims include claims of intentional abuse, which can also lead to criminal charges.

  • Failure to supervise can result in at-risk patients, such as those suffering from dementia, being harmed due to lack of proper supervision.

  • Other claims can be related to malnutrition, medication errors, and accidental strangulation.

Lack of Informed Consent:

  • This usually occurs in conjunction with a surgical error. The lack of consent involves the consent form signed by the patient prior to surgery. If the surgeon extends the surgery to an area that the patient did not give his or her consent for, the surgeon may have exceeded the boundaries of the consent.

  • In such a case, the surgeon may be said to have committed a "battery" on the patient due to an unauthorized touching.

Surgical Errors:

  • Errors during surgery can result in substantial damages. These include wrong-site surgery, severing of a nerve causing some degree of paralysis, puncturing an organ, leaving a sponge or other foreign object in the patient, or other negligent act.

  • Not every bad result from a surgery is the result of the breach of the standard of care. For example, many surgical procedures are inherently risky. If the risks have been accepted by the patient and the surgery was performed properly, a bad result does not necessarily raise a claim of medical malpractice.   

Failure to Diagnosis:

  • If a doctor fails to order tests that could have revealed a disease or condition requiring prompt medical treatment, or if tests results were misinterpreted, a patient may have a claim for "failure to diagnosis" if he or she sustains damages as a result of the doctor's error. 

  • Failure to diagnosis is another type of breach of the standard of care that all medical professionals must meet. 

Physician & Hospital Claims:

  • Ordinarily, when medical malpractice occurs in a hospital, the hospital itself is vicariously liable along with the physician, nurse, or other health care provider. For this reason, medical malpractice claims can involve several parties.

  • Many hospital patients die due to age-related illness or terminal illness. However, when a patient dies unexpectedly at a hospital, either during or after routine surgery or under circumstances in which the patient should not have been at risk, then the possibility of medical error must be investigated.

  • When a patient dies unexpectedly at a hospital, the family should seek legal advice and consider demanding that an autopsy be performed to determine the cause of death. Families are often distraught and confused when a loved one dies while in the care of a hospital. In these circumstances, contacting an attorney could relieve the family of making difficult decisions.