As we begin 2022, it’s unfortunate to say that hospital stays and doctors’ visits are still quite frequent, especially given the unrelenting nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as (if not more) unfortunate is the fact that with more hospital and doctor visits, more occurrences of medical malpractice follow.
Read on for a walk you through on what medical malpractice is, which practices tend to have the most malpractice lawsuits brought against them, and what you can do if you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Put simply, anytime a doctor is negligent in his or her duties, and the result is physical pain, mental anguish, further medical expenses, and lost income, you may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice. Proving medical malpractice, however, can be challenging. To prove medical malpractice, a lawyer must demonstrably show that a doctor or other healthcare provider:
- Had a duty of care to the patient
- Breached the standard of that care (or acted in a way that a reasonable, similarly trained person would not have acted)
- The breach or error caused actual harm to the patient
- Failed to diagnose (or incorrectly diagnosed) a condition that any other reasonably competent physician would have identified
- Committed surgical malpractice
- Failed to refer a medical specialist
A top medical malpractice attorney, such as those with The Lapidus Law Firm, have decades of experience with malpractice suits and can help you or a loved one if you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice.
How to Handle Medical Malpractice as a Victim
Before you proceed with the possibility of a lawsuit, first consider the circumstances of your situation. Here are a few red flags that will help determine if you have a strong case for medical malpractice.
- Lack of informed consent: If your physician performed a procedure you did not agree to, did not sufficiently explain the risks and benefits of a treatment, and/or did adequately explain the risks and benefits but you would have either declined the procedure/treatment or chosen an alternative–and–suffered actual harm.
- Admission of mistake by physician: This doesn’t happen frequently, but health providers are encouraged to be honest and up-front with patients and families when a medical error has occurred.
- Extraordinary consequences: This covers highly unusual scenarios, which are, well, highly unusual. For example, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, “Each year, between 4,500 and 6,000 patients leave the nation’s operating rooms with unintentionally retained surgical foreign objects (RSFO) in their bodies; with surgical sponges and needles accounting for more than two-thirds of all such incidents.” That would most likely qualify as an extraordinary consequence, as would a scenario in which a doctor fails to consider a patient’s allergy history and prescribes a medication that causes a serious reaction.
If you experience any of these situations, or any listed earlier in this article, the best course of action is to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Given the challenging nature of these claims, it’s best to have a seasoned attorney review your situation and determine whether you have a viable claim.
To prepare for an attorney consultation, be sure to keep medical records from appointments, hospital charts and notes, doctor recommendations, medications prescribed, treatments, discharge instructions–anything and everything leading up to, including, and after any procedure or treatment you underwent. Detailed medical records can go a long way in helping an attorney with your claim.
Medical Malpractice News and Updates
No matter how confident you are that you have a viable claim, call the experts at The Lapidus Law Firm. Call us at (202) 785-5111 or (301) 852-7500 today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation. We will review the details of your case, decide whether you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, and work diligently to get you a fair, reasonable settlement to compensate for your pain, suffering, and expenses. We are committed to making justice work for you.
Written by Larry Lapidus