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Were You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Were You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

When you seek medical care from your doctor, the last thing you expect is to be harmed further. Sadly, cases of malpractice are highly prevalent in the United States of America. While there are many standards to guide medical practitioners, some disregard these guidelines and end up harming their patients.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you will need the best medical malpractice lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. While no amount of money can undo the damage you’ve suffered, it can help make your life easier and some of the consequences bearable.

Here, we’ll discuss what medical malpractice is and how you can go about filing a lawsuit if you believe that you are a victim. We will also discuss some of the common injuries associated with medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is the legal term used when your doctor or physician fails to follow standard healthcare guidelines when providing you with medical care. As a result, their actions or omissions may cause you harm or injury. In most cases, the doctor must be aware of the error or omission they made for the case to be considered malpractice.

In any case, you have a right to compensation if you can demonstrate that your injuries were caused by medical malpractice. So, how do you know if you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice?

What are the Signs of Medical Malpractice?

You may be wondering if you have a case if you have been the victim of medical malpractice. Here are five indicators that you may have a viable medical malpractice claim:

Your Treatment Isn’t Working

You’ve probably heard of doctors treating the wrong disease, causing the patient’s health to deteriorate. Worse, there have been reports of surgeons leaving a pair of scissors in the abdomen of a patient. If you believe your condition is worsening as a result of a problem with your treatment, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer, who will advise you on how to best resolve the situation.

Your Health Care Provider Fails to Conduct Standard Tests

Most diseases have standard diagnostic tests that your doctor must administer in order to provide you with the best care possible. An X-Ray, for example, may be required if you fracture a bone. Depending on the extent of the bone injury, the doctor may also perform an MRI scan or a CT scan. Your doctor needs to exhaust all additional tests that may help get the most accurate diagnosis for your condition.

Your Health Care Provider Delays Your Diagnosis

Some diseases can be treated more effectively if they are discovered early on. If your condition worsens because your doctor took too long to make a diagnosis, you may have a malpractice case.

Your Health Care Provider Ignores Your Input

So you told the doctor you were allergic to penicillin, but they ignored you and prescribed it anyway. Or you asked for an alternative treatment but were ignored without explanation. If this occurs and you suffer injuries as a result of the doctor’s misdiagnosis or wrong prescription, you have grounds to sue the doctor. Doctors must work closely with their patients to determine the best course of treatment and then adhere to it.

Your Health Care Provider Fails to Provide Follow-Up Care

In some cases, your doctor will need to monitor your health and make sure that you are improving. For example, after surgery, your doctor will need to monitor your vitals on a regular basis to ensure that you are recovering and that there is no risk of infection. It’s possible to sue for medical malpractice when they don’t follow up and your condition worsens.

What are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?

Surgical Errors

At all times, all medics involved in your surgery should ensure your safety. However, this is not always the case. It is not uncommon to come across cases in which the wrong patient received surgery or surgery was performed on the wrong site. If this occurs, you may sue both the doctors and the hospital.

You can also sue them if you suffer long-term side effects from anesthesia or if  surgical instruments are left in your body.

Misdiagnosis

A variety of mistakes can lead to a misdiagnosis.  For example, there could be a mix-up in the lab samples, or the doctor could misinterpret your symptoms. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, you have the right to sue your doctor if they misdiagnose you.

Birth Injuries

If you are an expectant mother, your doctor needs to inform you of all the health conditions that your child has before they are born. The doctor is also responsible for caring for your baby during childbirth. If they drop your baby or use excessive force, thus causing injuries, then you can sue them for malpractice.

The same applies if the doctor does not prevent fetal distress in time and leaves the baby with permanent injuries.

Wrong Prescription

Prescription errors may cost you your health or even your life. If you get a prescription for the wrong drug from your doctor, causing you further harm, do not hesitate to file a medical malpractice suit.

An allergic reaction to a drug is one of the best indicators of an incorrect prescription. Drug allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild rashes and itching to difficulty breathing and severe swelling. If a medication causes you permanent harm, such as disability or the death of a loved one, you have the right to sue for compensation.

Failure To Treat

If your doctor delays or fails to treat your disease for whatever reason, and you end up in a worse state, you can sue for malpractice. This includes situations in which your insurance company delays your treatment by requiring preauthorization.

In emergency cases, your need for medical attention overrides the insurance policy to get preauthorization for procedures. You can sue for medical malpractice if they obstruct your treatment and you become sicker as a result.

What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim?

A medical malpractice claim has four essential elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The plaintiff must prove all four elements to succeed in a medical malpractice case.

Duty of Care

The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to provide care. This generally means showing that the defendant was a healthcare provider who owed a duty of care.

This is why it is essential to keep detailed records of all the prescriptions and medical records from your hospital visits. That way, you will have supporting documentation to prove your patient-doctor relationship.

Breach Of Duty

Second, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty of care. This can be done by showing that the defendant deviated from the standard of care expected from a reasonable healthcare provider in similar circumstances.

For example, would a different doctor have ordered your test much sooner, preventing the spread of your infection to other parts of your body? Did your doctor recommend the best course of action? You cannot sue the doctor for malpractice if they follow the permitted standard practices.

Causation

Third, causation must be shown. This means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If there is no causal link between the two, then there can be no successful medical malpractice claim.

For example, if the doctor did not order a cancer screening test and you do not have cancer, you do not have a case to fight. However, if the doctor ignored a skin rash that later developed into cancer, you can sue and argue that your cancer could have been prevented if the doctor had ordered all of the standard tests that should have been performed.

Damages

Finally, damages must be proven. This means the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered some type of harm due to the defendant’s negligence. This may be loss of money, disability, emotional damage, or even the death of a loved one. Without proof of damages, there can be no successful medical malpractice claim.

Thinking Of Filing A Medical Malpractice Suit? Contact Us For Help!

You may be wondering if you have a medical malpractice case if you have been injured as a result of a medical procedure or treatment.  Fortunately for you, at Terrell Hogan, we have all the answers you need.

Our medical malpractice lawyers have years of experience fighting for the rights of injured patients and their families. We understand the complex nature of these cases and are prepared to take on the biggest hospitals and insurance companies. Let us help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation—we’re here to help.

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About The Author

Picture of Alan Pickert

Alan Pickert

Alan Pickert, a longtime partner at the law firm Terrell • Hogan P.A., has been handling mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, auto/trucking accidents, dog attacks, bike accidents, and vaccine cases for over twenty five years in Florida. He has successfully handled over 2,000 asbestos cases and over 400 wrongful death lawsuits and he obtained one of the largest awards in the history of Vaccine Court for a child injured by the DTaP vaccine.