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A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help if It Happens to You

A medical error is a mistake or misstep in the treatment of a patient’s medical condition. There is a standard of care for every known medical condition, or at least an expected minimum level of treatment any patient should expect for any condition for which they seek treatment from a medical professional.

If a medical professional does not meet this standard due to an error that could have been avoided, the medical professional could be liable for medical malpractice.

Analyzing data on medical death rates over eight years, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts concluded in the study that more than 250,000 deaths in the United States occur per year due to medical error.

A number of these cases end up being litigated for medical malpractice, though the number of cases pursued due to medical malpractice is not as high.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional fails to meet the standard of caring for a patient or negligently commits an error that another similarly educated or skilled professional would not have likely committed.

To succeed in a medical malpractice case, you must prove:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the medical professional when the medical professional committed the negligent error. This means you sought treatment for your medical condition from a medical professional, and the medical professional agreed to provide the treatment.
  • The medical professional failed to meet the standard of care expected in your situation.
  • You suffered measurable harm or loss as a direct result of the medical professional’s negligent error or failure to meet the standard of care.

If your claim satisfies all these requirements, then you may be able to proceed to the next step in the litigation for your medical malpractice claim.

What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?

Examples of medical malpractice include:

1. Emergency Room Errors

Emergency rooms are constantly buzzing with live-saving activity that is highly stressful for everyone. Still, medical professionals have the training to effectively manage the stressful routines of an emergency room. They know they must uphold a high standard of care regardless of how difficult or stressful the situation is.

However, this does not mean medical professionals do not make mistakes. They do on occasion. Sometimes, an error can rise to the level of negligence. A negligent error can lead to serious or even catastrophic or deadly injuries.

Examples of emergency room negligence include:

  • Misreading of charts, MRIs, or X-rays
  • Failure to properly diagnose a condition
  • Making an erroneous or delayed diagnosis
  • Prescribing wrong medication or dosage
  • Failure to monitor a patient for post-treatment care

2. Birth Injury

Nothing is more joyful for an expecting parent than the birth of a child. Unfortunately, this joyful moment will suffer disruption if things go wrong at the hospital during or after delivery. While child delivery usually goes and is done almost like clockwork, there are times a doctor and others involved in the delivery fail to provide a safe childbirth process. The result of such failure could be devastating and worse with debilitating childbirth injuries such as cerebral or brachial palsy.

Childbirth injuries can occur for different reasons, but a common denominator in all of them is each could have been prevented simply by providing reasonable medical care that a medical professional did not provide, leading to the injury.

Common causes of childbirth injuries include:

  • Use of excessive force: Applying too much force on a newborn baby’s neck or limb when using delivery forceps or vacuum extraction can easily damage nerves. Excessive use of force may also result in the baby’s facial paralysis, which could be temporary or may require surgery that brings with it its own set of complications and related risks.
  • Delayed or Untimely C-Section: If C-section is delayed or otherwise not performed on time, the result could injure the baby’s brain.
  • Deprivation of Oxygen: A newborn baby must have oxygen once delivered, and any deprivation of oxygen for the baby can lead to brain damage or injury.
  • Failure to Diligently Monitor: Medical staff must always monitor the mother and child’s overall health. Failure to do so could lead to undetected conditions such as placenta previa or damage to other organs.

3. Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is routinely given to the mother during childbirth to induce insensitivity to pain. An anesthesiologist administers gases or the injection of drugs before the delivery begins.

Administering anesthesia, however, can sometimes have complications if the medical professional administering it is negligent or makes an error that is not corrected until it is too late.

For example, a condition known as inoperative awareness can occur if the patient receiving anesthesia regains consciousness and wakes up during the surgical operation.

If anesthesia is incorrectly applied and a patient is injured, the medical professional who negligently applied the anesthesia may be liable for damage the patient suffers as a result.

How Much Compensation Can I Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?

According to National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) data, the average amount of money paid out for a medical malpractice claim from 2009-2018 was approximately $309,908. The amount of your compensation own compensation would depend on several factors, including the nature and severity of your injuries, how long you remain incapacitated from your injury, and the long-term effects of the injury on your life going forward.

Your Best Option Is a Local Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have suffered an injury from what you believe was a medical error by a medical professional, talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. They can evaluate your case and advise you on your options to recover compensation for your losses.