When a healthcare professional acts negligently and causes injury to a patient, the patient or the patient’s loved ones may be entitled to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages for the harm caused by the medical negligence. In general, to win a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant) violated the medical standard of care. A violation of the medical standard of care is medical negligence. The plaintiff must also prove that the negligence caused harm.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine and a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. A variety of studies have concluded that between 250,000 and 440,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors. Based on the study by Johns Hopkins University, 9.5 percent of all deaths each year in the United States are due to a medical error.
In addition to death, medical malpractice by healthcare providers may cause life-altering injuries and damages. This includes, but is not limited to, loss of income, significant pain and suffering, future medical needs including permanent long-term daily care, emotional harm from the loss of not being able to participate in normal activities, and other damages.
Types of Potential Medical Malpractice
The following are some examples of medical malpractice:
- Surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Misdiagnosis of a medical condition
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Failure to report test results to the patient if follow up care is needed
- Failure to contact the patient for follow up care
- Failing to timely providing appropriate care for a patient’s medical condition
- Prescription errors, including providing the wrong medication, the wrong amount of medication
- Failing to timely treat a patient who presents with a stroke
- Failing to timely perform testing and provide treatment for a patient who presents with a heart attack or symptoms of an emerging heart attack
- Bowel laceration during surgery
- Failing to recognize a bowel laceration during surgery
- Brachial plexus injuries during birth
- Cerebral palsy due to birth asphyxiation
- Injuries to the mother during the labor and delivery process
These are just some examples of medical malpractice. There are many other types of medical negligence, and medical malpractice occurs anytime the healthcare provider’s care falls below the medical standard of care.
Accountability for Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can occur for many reasons. The healthcare professional’s employer may be trying to maximize profits and may have placed too much work on the provider. A hospital may be understaffed and there may not be enough nurses and other support staff to give each patient the attention required. The medical professional may jump to a conclusion about a diagnosis and may not be willing to consider any other potential diagnosis despite learning new information. A surgeon may use poor technique.
Medical errors are not different from errors made by drivers on the road. When a driver on the road runs a stop sign and injures someone, the driver must pay for the damages. In particular, the driver’s insurance company must pay for the damages. Just like a driver on the road, medical professionals also have insurance provided by medical malpractice insurance companies. This insurance exists because of the serious injuries that can occur to patients when medical negligence occurs and the law provides that patients who are injured must be fully compensated for all harm caused by the medical negligence.
Medical malpractice cases are challenging and are normally defended by the doctor’s or hospital’s insurance company for many years. This occurs even in the face of clear medical malpractice and horrible damages or death. The insurance company for the medical providers will try to litigate the plaintiff into submission. The Parrish Law Firm will not be deterred by these tactics. We will litigate medical malpractice cases through trial and through the appellate process.
If you or a loved one was injured from medical malpractice, please call The Parrish Law Firm at 404-891-0141 to obtain a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice. Consultations are always free and you will not pay a fee unless there is a recovery.