Medical malpractice is a term that describes what many would deem an incredibly traumatic experience. It occurs when there is an injury, illness, or any related issues caused directly by a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional in some way.
If you have suffered an injury in this way, you might be considering getting in touch with a good medical malpractice attorney in your area or even online, like Christopher Larmoyeux. Speaking to a legal professional is always an important first step. Here are some things to consider when you’re reaching out for help.
What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?
Before filing a claim or kickstarting the legal process, you should try to understand and categorize the injury or illness you sustained, and what type of medical malpractice contributed to or caused it.
There are many forms of medical malpractice, here are a few examples:
A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness is a common occurrence. Many patients go months or even years without receiving a proper diagnosis for their illness or injury, resulting in their pain and suffering only increasing and becoming more and more frustrating.
Endometriosis, celiac disease, and Lyme disease are commonly left misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for extended periods of time. Failure to quickly diagnose these or more severe conditions such as cancer can be life-threatening and have other serious impacts on the patient’s life and the chance of recovery.
Surgical errors are mistakes made during a procedure and can be very severe. Various complications can arise from different kinds of mistakes made on the operating table, which could even be life-threatening. Common causes of surgical errors include unsanitary conditions, poor planning or basic human error in technique or medication administration. Accidental incisions may occur, and it is common for foreign objects such as a sponge or surgical instruments to be left inside the body.
Errors in prescription drugs is another common example of medical malpractice, which is typically caused by incompetence or negligence. This can occur in various ways: prescribing the wrong type of medication, prescribing medication that reacts poorly with other medication the patient may be taking, improper dosage, or failure to check with the patient for any potential allergies to medication. There may even be specifications about the correct time of day in which medication should be administered, which needs to be communicated to the patient. Any of the above failures could can serious results.
Mistakes in childbirth are also commonly seen forms of medical negligence and malpractice. Delivery room errors include improper fetal monitoring and slow reaction to problems are common causes of birth injuries such as strikes, infections, shoulder dystocia, and trauma. The baby may also suffer at the hands of negligent health professionals.
The types of injuries in these various types of malpractice that could be sustained are vast and varied, but some commonly occurring injuries and medical problems include heart attacks, nerve damage, organ damage, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and even death.
When is it a Legal Case?
A medical malpractice case can be complex, to say the least, and your claim needs to meet a few different criteria, including that the injury was in fact caused by negligence on behalf of the medical professionals in question, and that the injury caused significant damage. This damage could take the form of extensive and ongoing medical bills, disability, an impact on the victim’s ability to work, loss of income, or significant suffering and hardship. These must be proven in various ways, and a legal case can get expensive, so be sure that the claim on damages will be worth the cost of your case.
On this note, it’s important to keep in mind that medical negligence does not equate to medical malpractice. Medical negligence can occur without the sustaining of any injuries or illnesses (which is the element that elevates the legal term to medical malpractice). If a victim’s overall health is not negatively impacted by the negligence, it would not count as a medical malpractice case.
Keep in mind that when undergoing any medical procedures or treatments, your healthcare provider will typically present you with a list of common potential risks, and you may be obligated to sign a form acknowledging these risks and the fact that the institution does not take responsibility for them if they do occur. If this is the case, you would not be able to make a claim based on any of these occurrences from your procedure or treatment.