Not every bad medical outcome will result in a claim of medical malpractice. After all, there are many times when a specific course of treatment causes unexpected side effects or is simply ineffective. Other times, a poor medical outcome is the direct result of the failure by a medical professional to meet a reasonable standard of care. A mistake or diagnostic error due to this type of negligence can result in serious injury, and sometimes even death. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases are amongst the most difficult and complex because they involve establishing the “standard of care.”
Standard of care depends on the medical issue at hand. So, for example, the type of treatment a majority of heart surgeons would recommend for their heart patients becomes the standard of care for heart issues. A surgeon who leaves an instrument inside a patient after surgery has obviously violated the accepted standard of care for surgeons. If, on the other hand, you agreed to a new procedure that did not result in the outcome you had hoped for, there is no violation of the accepted standard of care.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Those who win a medical malpractice claim will likely be awarded monetary damages that cover medical expenses, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. In some cases, non-economic damages are also awarded for things like loss of quality of life, as well as pain and suffering. If the negligence or lack of care was willful and particularly egregious, then punitive damages could also be awarded.
What Are the Top Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims?
Misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose are some of the top causes of medical malpractice claims. Perhaps a woman goes to her doctor after feeling a small lump in her breast. The doctor assures her it is “nothing,” and sends her on her way. A year later, the woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and is now likely to have a worse outcome than if she had received treatment a year ago. This is a clear case of failure to diagnose.
The most common causes of medical malpractice claims include:
- Failure to diagnose
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Birth errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Radiology errors
The most common reason medical malpractice occurs, however, lies in miscommunication. When doctors and other health care professionals fail to communicate, medical malpractice can – and often does – result. Hospitals may be liable for medical malpractice if they fail to maintain their medical equipment or a clean, germ-free environment. They may also be held liable for medical malpractice if they administrators fail to ensure staff members are adequately trained.
Do You Believe You Are the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible to ensure that your rights – and your future – are fully protected. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we have the resources and the experience to tackle such large and complex medical cases. Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.
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