When we visit a doctor or hospital, we place our trust in the medical professionals trained to take care of us, keep us safe, and not harm us. Now and then, unfortunately, mistakes are made due to negligence. Sometimes the only way to ensure recovery is to take legal action. If you or someone you love has suffered or sustained injuries from a medical mistake that was made due to negligence, you need a Columbia, MO medical malpractice lawyer on your side.
Doctors, nurses, or hospital staff members are sometimes overworked. Hospitals are often understaffed. Both of these can lead to negligence—and, consequently, mistakes. In the medical field, mistakes can cost lives. The risks of an error occurring should be lowered to the absolute minimum. Together, we can help spread the message that the U.S. healthcare industry needs to prioritize its patients’ health and safety.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Doctors and medical professionals owe patients what is called a standard of care. This means that they are supposed to treat patients in a way similar that others in their field would. When mistakes at a doctor’s office or hospital are made due to carelessness or negligence and can therefore be prevented, we call these mistakes acts of medical malpractice. In the United States, we’re granted the ability to file lawsuits against doctors, nurses, hospital staff members, or medical institutions that cause malpractice to occur.
These lawsuits can help the victim recover from any severe injuries or suffering they have endured financially, mentally, and emotionally. Medical malpractice lawsuits additionally offer peace of mind—as noted above—when a victim can take legal action and speak up against injustices that have been done.
Filing a medical malpractice case won’t cost you any money upfront. Many victims don’t realize this. Medical malpractice attorneys charge what’s known as a contingency fee. This means that the attorney will only get paid if they win on your behalf—using your case’s earnings.
Examples of Medical Negligence
Mistakes made due to hospital understaffing or any other type of negligence can be and should be prevented. Some of the most common errors we see come out of hospital settings include the following:
- Misdiagnosis. As one of the leading causes of medical malpractice, misdiagnosis is a problem seen in all medical settings, including emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, and more. Whenever a patient seeks medical treatment, it’s the doctor’s responsibility to evaluate, diagnose, and treat. If something goes wrong during the evaluation, it’s possible the diagnosis could be wrong, and the recommended treatment will not work. As a result, a patient could go untreated, and their condition could worsen.
- Delayed Diagnosis. Often occurring due to understaffing, a delayed diagnosis happens when a doctor fails to determine what a patient is suffering from as soon as possible. For example, if a patient enters the emergency room with chest pain and isn’t seen promptly, they could suffer from a heart attack. If they had been seen sooner, it’s possible efforts could have been taken to reduce any damage to the heart.
- Surgical Errors. Undergoing any surgery has the potential to be nerve-wracking. Patients place an exorbitant amount of trust in their surgeons. Unfortunately, surgical errors have the potential to cause life-long consequences. While every procedure is different, negligent surgeons have been known to operate on the wrong body part, inaccurately identify the patient they’re operating on, and leave surgical tools inside the body.
- Medication Mistakes. Whether you’ve been admitted to the hospital for an illness and you’re being treated with medication or your doctor recently prescribed you a new medicine, it’s possible that what you put in your body could hurt you more than your ailment. Doctors need to verify their patients’ medical history before giving them any pharmaceuticals. If they fail to, the patient could suffer from an allergic reaction, or a new condition could develop.
- Birth Injuries. Heading to the hospital to deliver a baby is both terrifying and exciting. New parents are looking forward to meeting their baby, but they recognize that labor and delivery don’t always go smoothly. While medical interventions have saved many women and babies’ lives, sometimes doctors make mistakes in the delivery room. When that happens, both the woman and her child could be put at risk.
- Anesthesia Errors. Before a procedure where you need sedation, you’ll meet with an anesthesiologist. They are the person in charge of ensuring you are unconscious during your procedure while monitoring your vitals and oxygen. Anesthesiology is a delicate science, so the doctor must be fully aware of what they’re doing and what you need as a patient. In the event you receive too much anesthesia, you could suffer from oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Receiving too little anesthesia could result in waking up during surgery or experiencing more pain or trauma than necessary.
If you do not see your situation described above, you may still have grounds to pursue a claim. Our Columbia attorneys can evaluate your case and determine how to help you best.
What to Do If a Doctor Hurts You
The hours, days, and weeks following a medical error are crucial. If you suspect something went wrong with your medical treatment or procedure, you’ll want to begin documenting whatever you can remember as quickly as possible.
Assess the situation. Are you experiencing new injuries or symptoms you suspect resulted from a hospital’s mistake? Seek medical attention immediately. Not only will this ensure your condition does not worsen, but you’ll also have a paper trail your lawyer can use to support your claim.
To adequately document a potential medical mistake, record your symptoms and injuries, the dates they occurred, the procedures or surgeries you underwent, and the outcomes. You’ll also want to obtain copies of your medical records and get a second opinion regarding your treatment.
Once you’ve followed through with those steps, it’s time to get in touch with a Columbia medical malpractice attorney. Thomas Law Offices have extensive experience handling med mal cases, and we’re prepared to take your case on next.
Filling a Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
In Missouri, a victim of medical malpractice can only file a lawsuit against the doctor, staff member, or medical institution when these two points can be proven in court:
- A healthcare professional made a mistake or error when treating you
- You were seriously injured as a result of that mistake
The most challenging part, as you may imagine, is proving the first point. The hospital or institution where the incident occurred will try their best to prove that what happened wasn’t a mistake. You’ll also be limited regarding who can provide testimony during the case. Only doctors and other medical experts can testify on behalf of a plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit).
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be incredibly challenging to win in court, but they can be successful with the right help on your side. An experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney will do everything in their power to gather the proper evidence and prepare the best testimony to prove your case.
It’s also important to note that in Missouri, a victim of medical malpractice only has two years to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations passes. After the statute expires, a case can no longer be filed.
Get Help From Thomas Law Offices
Legally going against the U.S. healthcare system can seem like a daunting task. Hospitals and the corporations that fund medical facilities may do everything in their power to spread falsehoods and pretend your case won’t have traction in court.
We know better. With a Columbia, MO medical malpractice lawyer by your side from Thomas Law Offices, you can rest easy knowing your case—and your life—won’t be swept under the rug by a vast, money-hungry corporation. We will fight for you every step of the way. Contact our office to learn more or receive a free, zero-obligation consultation.