Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or medical facility, such as a clinic, hospital, or emergency room, does not exercise a proper standard of care, which results in the serious injury or wrongful death of a patient. If a medical professional’s treatment fails to meet something called the “standard of care”, it qualifies as medical malpractice.
- On average, 225,000 people die every year due to some form of medical malpractice (Johns Hopkins Medicine).
- Medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States (Johns Hopkins University).
- Medication errors are the most common type of medical malpractice according to the Journal of the American
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Common types of medical malpractice include doctor errors, bacterial infections, misdiagnosis, medical negligence, failure to diagnose, birth injuries, delay in diagnosis, medical product liability and surgical errors such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving objects in the body after surgery. Prescribing the wrong medication or prescribing a medication incorrectly is another alarmingly common example of medical malpractice.
How Do I Know Malpractice Occurred?
It is essential to contact an attorney if you suspect medical malpractice has occurred as it is unlikely the medical community will hold its people accountable on their own. Providers do not typically step up and make it known when they feel malpractice as occurred, or they may not realize it took place. If your post-treatment symptoms are severely unaligned with standard post-treatment symptoms, you may need to look into the possibility of malpractice. There is typically a 2-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases.
Who is Responsible?
Any number of individuals could be involved in a medical malpractice issue, and it is hard to determine fault. Medical malpractice can be perpetrated by any type of healthcare professional; including doctors, surgeons, obstetricians, physician assistants, radiologists, plastic surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and others. Due to the number and variety of medical professionals involved in any one procedure, there could be multiple parties at fault. In addition, hospitals and health maintenance organizations could also be held liable under certain circumstances.
What May Be Claimed?
Depending on the nature of you or your family member’s injuries due to medical malpractice, your personal injury lawyer may identify possible claims for:
- Medical expenses. Common injuries resulting from medical malpractice may include childbirth injuries, injuries due to incorrect dosage, injuries due to anesthesia errors, internal bleeding/organ punctures, paralysis, infections, other traumatic injuries, and in the worst-case scenario, death.
- Lost wages as a result of extended hospital stay-time, or, for the loved one of a medical malpractice victim, the necessity to temporarily or permanently stop working in order to provide care.
- Lifecare expenses, such as life support or ongoing medical expenses for chronic injuries.
- Pain and suffering, for both emotional and physical distress.
- Wrongful death.
- Funeral expenses.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Medical Malpractice?
If you feel you have a case, contact a personal injury lawyer that has experience handling medical malpractice cases. Depending upon the type of case, you may find a lawyer that has tried very similar cases. It usually does not matter where in the U.S. the attorney resides, so pick the one that best suits you and your case.