Doctors and other medical professionals are looked up to by many people, and most individuals assume that medical professionals never make mistakes. There are many respectable, reliable doctors out there who courageously face challenges on a daily basis with integrity; unfortunately, however, there are also many medical professionals currently practicing who consistently miss the mark when it comes to standard practice in the medical field.
Those professionals who do fall below the given medical standard are considered negligent, and their practice is termed “malpractice”. Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional commits an act of omission resulting in unnecessary pain, injury, or even death usually due to a medical error. Common forms of malpractice include but are not limited to:
● Misdiagnosis of illness or injury. Many malpractice deaths and injuries occur because of a physician’s failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s illness or condition. For example, a recent malpractice case involving a young girl dealt with a physician’s incorrect diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. The child had a far more serious strain of diabetes, known as Type 1 Diabetes. Sadly, she passed away due to a lack of correct treatment.
● Abuse and neglect in senior living centers. Unfortunately, senior abuse is one of the most common types of abuse. There are over 2,000,000 cases of elder abuse each year. Although not all of those cases may qualify for medical malpractice, a large number of seniors continue to be one of the primary victims of medical negligence.
● Errors on the surgical table. This may be one of the more frightening “versions” of medical malpractice. When a patient is on the surgical table he or she has no ability to defend him or herself from the medical malpractice ensuing. Often times, the patient may be under heavy anesthesia. You can imagine the horror of waking up from a surgery far more injured than you were beforehand.
● General negligence by hospital medical staff. Hospital and medical institution staff members are expected to provide an environment that is safe for patients. If anything in a medical environment causes a preventable accident due to staff neglect, one or more staff members (or even the entire institution) may be vulnerable to accusations in court.
● Erroneous medication prescription/distribution. The average patient is totally dependent on a physician to prescribe a medication and equally dependent on the pharmacy to hand over the correct medicine prescribed. Because most people have little or no knowledge of medical terminology, most do not realize that there is an issue when they are handed the incorrect drug. Unfortunately, they will most likely notice in a matter of hours when the effects of the error come to fruit.
● Errors involving anesthesia. Anesthesia causes extreme changes in the human body, and it is vital that a specialist handle the process with the greatest integrity and care. When anesthesiologists act in a way that is less than professional, unfortunate accidents and injuries may occur.
● Failure to acquire informed consent. Informed consent is defined as the granted permission to continue forward as long as the patient has the knowledge that potential consequences may occur. Potential risks and even potential benefits must be thoroughly discussed with the patient before any kind of procedure or treatment takes place.
● Neglecting a correct diagnosis of cancer. If cancer is not diagnosed quickly and efficiently, a matter of life and death may ensue. The key to fighting cancer is catching it early on, and if a medical professional fails to detect early symptoms of cancer, he or she may be at fault.
● Injury during labor and birth to mother or child. Injuries in the delivery room are more common than you might think. Physicians who do not handle new life with the utmost care are liable to being sued.
A malpractice case is made up of four different aspects, all of which must be presented during a successful malpractice lawsuit:
1. The physician owed the patient a certain aforementioned amount of care.
2. The physician fell short of the accepted medical care standard.
3. The physician inflicted a substantial injury on the patient that is worthy of compensation.
4. The patient’s injury was directly caused by the below-standard medical “care”.
Would you be surprised to hear that medical malpractice ranks near cancer on the highest death cause list in the United States? Research by the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that negligence in the medical field (i.e. medical malpractice) takes third place in causes of death, following heart disease and strains of cancer. According to a recent issue of the Journal of Patient Safety published in September of 2013, the number of malpractice victims may be much higher than was previously supposed: about 210,000 to 440,000 patients experience harm that was preventable while in hospitals each year – these injuries often contributes to the patients’ death.
These numbers are incredibly alarming, especially since the majority of the public is greatly unaware of the malpractice epidemic taking place in hospitals and medical centers around the country. If you have been treated irresponsibly in a medical environment and are the victim of medical malpractice, you are not alone. Fortunately, help is available.
The Blame Game
Unfortunately, determining who is at fault in a medical malpractice case can be an overwhelming, confusing task. Identifying a guilty party may be trickier than you think. Sometimes more than one party is at fault concerning your injury. Many malpractice cases entitle wronged individuals to file a lawsuit against both the obviously responsible party and those who were near during the time of the accident (those who professionally assisted in the malpractice). Even entire hospitals, pharmacies, or other institutions may be included in a given lawsuit. Medical equipment, machinery, and specific kinds of medicines may also be at fault. Faulty medical tools are considered external factors (those factors which contribute to a particular mishap due to a flaw in design or any other kind of flaw that should have been foreseen.)
You Have Options
As you can see, determining the primary offender can be very complicated, especially to someone who has no experience in the legal field. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it may be best for you to contact a seasoned trial attorney. Experienced attorneys are willing and able to help you receive the compensation you deserve after being injured at the hands of a medical professional. They will also be able to help you navigate any terms, procedures, or rulings that you are unfamiliar with so that you are confident that everything possible is being done in the name of justice.
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