When you enter a medical facility, whether you’re there for a routine checkup or are seeking emergency medical attention, you expect to leave in a better state than when you arrived. When physicians make mistakes, injuries can happen. When malpractice is a factor, you need help from a medical malpractice lawyer.
Medical malpractice refers to instances where doctors or other medical professionals injure patients because of negligent actions or inactions. A personal injury claim can be filed to help the victim seek compensation for their losses and hold the at-fault person or facility accountable for what happened. Filing a claim isn’t easy, which is why it’s important to have an attorney from Thomas Law Offices by your side.
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Medical Malpractice: Facts & Statistics
According to the American Hospital Association, there are over 6,000 hospitals in the United States. Millions of Americans are treated in those facilities on a daily basis, with total annual admissions at 36,241,815. Hospitals are often understaffed or are working around budget cuts, so patients don’t always receive a high quality of care. When that care, however, results in injury or death, legal action is available.
Safety experts from Johns Hopkins spent eight years examining deaths due to medical errors. Their findings concluded that 250,000 people die each year from physician and hospital errors. That makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the United States.
If you’ve been injured in a hospital or other medical facility, it’s important to have an idea of the type of malpractice you fell victim to—which will depend on your injuries, as well as when and where they happened. Your lawyer can help you determine the type of malpractice you experienced.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
When a person seeks treatment at a hospital or clinic, they are usually evaluated, diagnosed, and offered a treatment plan. Sometimes that could mean medication or surgery could be needed—depending on what the ailment is. At any point, a mistake can have dire consequences. Some of the most common medical malpractice examples include diagnostic errors, birth injuries, surgical errors, medication mistakes, and defective medical devices.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. This is when a doctor diagnoses you with a different condition than what you have and, as a result, your condition worsens. For example, say you have chest pain and you go to the emergency room. If you’re diagnosed with indigestion and sent home but later have a heart attack you have to undergo surgery for, you were misdiagnosed and injured.
A delayed diagnosis is similar, except the diagnosis is correct; it just comes later than it should have. This sometimes happens with cancer diagnoses. If a doctor fails to notice a mass or other signs of cancer or fails to check for them for whatever reason, and a patient is later diagnosed with a stage of cancer that could have been avoided, the patient can look into their legal options.
The birth of a baby is often one of the most joyous occasions in life. When something goes wrong during labor and delivery, it can send the parents-to-be in an overwhelming situation. While issues do arise naturally, there are times where a doctor or nurse fails to notice fetal distress or uses a birthing instrument incorrectly and injuries the child or mother.
From routine surgeries to one-in-a-million situations, surgeons need to have a steady hand and an even steadier head. If they lose focus, fail to seek assistance when they need it, or act without thinking, a patient’s life or livelihood could be put at risk. Patients who experience surgical injuries may have medical implements left inside their bodies or have the wrong body part operated on.
Anesthesia errors are also a possibility in the operating room. The anesthesiologist is responsible for ensuring the patient is properly sedated during surgery. With too much anesthesia, there’s the risk of brain damage from not enough oxygen. With too little, the patient could become aware during surgery and suffer from unnecessary pain and PTSD.
The doctors and nurses that treat you are responsible for ensuring the medications they provide won’t do you more harm than good. While medications often come with side effects, most are mild or, at least, tolerable. If, however, you’re given a medication you are knowingly allergic to and suffer an extreme reaction, you may be able to hold the facility accountable if the allergy was recorded in your medical charts.
Defective Medical Devices
Medical devices, like heart valve implants and hip replacements, are supposed to help patients live a high quality of life. When a manufacturer cuts corners to save money or fails to run adequate testing, patients could experience unexpected injuries and illnesses. If you think a faulty medical device has injured you, you can seek compensation for your losses.
What to Do as a Victim of Medical Negligence
Depending on your injuries, you may or may not realize you’re a victim of malpractice until you leave the hospital. If you notice something is wrong while still admitted, say something to the doctor or nurse and ensure your concerns are recorded. You or someone you know should also keep track of any issues separately, so you have your own documentation.
While you focus on healing, you’ll also want to keep track of your hospital bills and statements, as well as any other related receipts, so your lawyer will be able to value your case faster. If needed, seek a second medical opinion to address any issues you’re still experiencing.
Once the situation has stabilized, it’s time to get in touch with an attorney from Thomas Law Offices. They will be able to take a look at what you’ve been through and determine how best to help you.
Damages for Med Mal Victims
As a victim of medical negligence, you have the legal right to file a civil case to seek compensation for your losses. To determine what you should seek, your attorney will evaluate the situation and come up with a fair valuation, which will include your economic and noneconomic losses.
Economic damages are those that are directly calculable, like medical expenses and lost wages. Noneconomic damages are for more personal losses like pain and suffering. While rare, there are also instances where punitive damages are available. Depending on the circumstances that caused your injury, punitive damages could be awarded if the doctor were grossly negligent—like if they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol while treating you.
No matter the extent of your losses, your attorney will make sure your claim is properly valued. They won’t settle unless you’re offered what you deserve and need to get your life back in order.
The Importance of Working With an Attorney
Every medical malpractice claim is unique, and most have the potential to be challenging. With the right attorney, however, you won’t have to worry about anything jeopardizing your claim. Your lawyer will handle the paperwork and conversations while being sure to abide by state laws when it comes to the time you have to file your case.
In addition to that, your lawyer may also have the resources to have a medical expert review your case and support you being owed compensation. No matter what your case requires, your lawyer will be with you every step of the way.
While most injury claims result in a settlement offer through negotiations, hospitals aren’t always willing to negotiate fairly. If that’s the situation you’re in, your attorney can guide you through the lawsuit process to get you a favorable verdict from a judge or jury.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
Medical malpractice claims are among the most challenging personal injury claims to tackle, which is why it’s crucial to have a medical malpractice lawyer by your side. Thomas Law Offices is well versed in managing physician and hospital negligence claims, and we’re prepared to help you understand your legal rights and options.
No matter the extent of your injuries, you deserve the best chance at recovery. When you seek legal representation from Thomas Law Offices, we’ll start by evaluating your claim and discussing how you’d like to proceed. Contact us today for more information.