UNDERSTANDING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Medical malpractice cases occur when a patient is injured by a doctor or nurse (or other medical professionals) who fail to give the proper healthcare treatment needed. Mistakes happen, and doctors and nurses are no exception to the rule. Even thou these cases are rare they can result in serious injury or even death. Within the small minority of cases that do occur, certain types of these mistakes occur more often than others. Read on to learn about the most common types of errors that make up the majority of medical malpractices.
Keep in mind that just because a doctor made a minor mistake or a patient was not pleased with a procedure or its result, that does not mean that a malpractice occurred. To meet the proper definition of medical malpractice, the doctor or medical provider must have been neglectful in some way -- meaning the doctor was not reasonably skillful or sufficient, and that incompetence injured the patient.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are a significant percentage of medical malpractice grievances. When a doctor misdiagnoses a disease (or fails to diagnose a severe illness for some time), the patient might miss treatment possibilities that could have stopped severe harm or even death.
The solution in establishing a medical malpractice claim based on misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is to examine what the treating doctor did (or didn't do) to how other qualified doctors within the same specialty would have worked the case. If a reasonably skillful and sufficient doctor under the same conditions would not have made the diagnostic fault, then the treating doctor may be responsible for malpractice.
Childbirth Injuries Many fetal injuries can be caused by medical malpractice, including brain injury, fractured bones, and Erb's and klumpke's palsy (damage to nerves that control the arms and hands). Keep in mind that these injuries are more frequently caused by something different than medical malpractice.
A physician or obstetrician's negligence can occur during childbirth or long before. This is called negligent prenatal care. If negligent medical treatment is given during the pregnancy, it could injure the fetus or the mother (or both)negligent prenatal care includes the physician or obstetricians. Failure to diagnose a medical condition of the mother, such as preeclampsia, Rh incompatibility, hypoglycemia, anemia, or gestational diabetes doctor's negligence during delivery could cause injury to the baby and harm to the mother.
According to a 2006 study, medication mistakes injure approximately 1.5 million people in the United States every year. Medication mistakes can happen in many ways -- from the first prescription to the administration of the medication. A patient might be injured if the doctor orders the wrong medication. Or the patient might be harmed by medication that the doctor prescribes to treat a misdiagnosed condition.
Some medical malpractice claims result from errors made in the operating room. A surgeon might be careless throughout the operation itself, or the nursing staff might be neglectful in giving post-op care.
Getting Help with a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are controlled by multiple rules that can differ considerably from state to state, so it's frequently necessary to receive advice or representation from an attorney who knows about working medical malpractice lawsuits.