What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider-a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital, or hospital worker-whose performance of duties deviates from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients. Most medical malpractice cases are based on the concept of negligence-that is, the patient was harmed because the health care provider failed to meet the required standards of skill and care, in accordance with generally accepted standards. The prescribed standard of medical care may vary from state to state. Because Health care providers cannot guarantee the results of medical treatment, a patient’s malpractice claim is not valid just because his or her treatment was not successful. Instances of malpractice might include cutting off the oxygen supply during surgery, misdiagnosing an injury because routine tests and procedures were not followed, or prescribing an illegal drug or one not approved for the patient’s condition. Each state has a law, known as the statute of limitations, which gives you a certain amount of time in which you can file a claim. The purpose of the statute is to ensure that a claim is made while information relevant to the case is still available. If you think that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should consult with Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible.
Medical malpractice is essentially the failure of a medical provider (including doctors, pharmacists, radiologists, laboratory technicians and doctors) to use reasonable care in treating a patient. The prescribed standard care that these medical providers owe their patients varies in different jurisdictions. However, the general rule is that they owe their patients the standard of care generally accepted by the medical profession with regard to the same or similar circumstances. Medical malpractice may include the failure of a medical provider to properly perform their duties including the diagnosis of your condition. Misdiagnosis may include the failure to run certain diagnostic tests or failure to diagnose a condition in a timely manner. Such negligence could result in serious injury to you. If you have been injured because of misdiagnosis, you may have a claim against the medical providers who treated you. Statutes of limitation bar the filing of claims after a certain period of time has passed following the negligent act. These laws vary state to state. For more information on misdiagnosis, consult Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible.
Pharmacist malpractice falls into the same category as medical malpractice, in the respect that if pharmacists and pharmacy technicians fail to treat the patient with a reasonable degree of skill and care, they are guilty of medical malpractice just the same as a doctor, nurse or other health care provider. If you receive the wrong medication for your condition or wrong combination of medications and suffer damage as a result, you may have a claim either against the doctor who prescribed the medication or the pharmacist who filled the prescription. Statutes of limitation bar legal action that does not begin within a certain amount of time after the negligent act. It is important to consult with Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible if you believe that you have suffered damage as the result of a wrong prescription.
Injury may occur when anesthesia is improperly given or not given in a timely manner to a patient. If the failure of the anesthesiologist is the cause of injury or death to a patient, damages may be recoverable under the laws of medical malpractice. Most doctors and hospitals carry malpractice insurance and some states even require that they contribute to a state patient’s compensation fund. Statutes of limitation govern the filing of malpractice claims and prevent filing once a certain amount of time has passed after the malpractice. It is important to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in medical malpractice so that you may learn your rights if you think you have been injured as a result of anesthesia negligence. For more information on medical malpractice, contact Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible.
OB or obstetrics malpractice may include failure of the obstetrician to properly perform his or her duties including failure to perform the proper laboratory tests, including diagnosing RH negative patients, a blood test or amniocentesis which would diagnosis possible defects in the fetus, all of which could cause injury or death to both the mother and the fetus. OB-GYN medical malpractice may include the failure of a gynecologist to properly perform his or her duties. These include IUD’s-improper insertion and monitoring of IUD’s may cause pregnancy complications or fertility problems; DISEASE-failure to diagnose a gynecological disease such as ovarian, cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and many other diseases, may cause pregnancy complications or fertility problems. Both can be very serious and often become life threatening. If you have been injured because of improper medical care, you may have a claim against the obstetrician/gynecologist who treated you. However, statutes of limitation bar the filing of claims after a certain period of time following the negligent act. Consultation Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible to help determine the value of your claim.
Birth Defects or Injuries
Most births and deliveries are handled appropriately by medical care professionals. However, medical negligence can occur during pregnancy. Sometimes physicians may not diagnose or properly treat various conditions that arise during pregnancy. One such condition is known as placenta previa. This occurs if the placenta, which nourishes the fetus during pregnancy, attaches to the inside of the womb in such a fashion that prohibits the baby from being delivered properly. If it is not diagnosed, significant blood loss can occur. Such bleeding can cause damage to the fetus, or even death. It can also cause the mother to lose a dangerous amount of blood. Birth injuries can also occur if the delivery process is allowed to go on for too long a period of time despite signs and symptoms. In these cases, a cesarean section delivery may be required. If a cesarean section delivery is delayed, the child may be injured from lack of oxygen. Injury can occur if newborns are deprived of oxygen before, during, or after birth. The emotional and financial cost to a child who has been cared for or delivered by doctors who have committed negligence can be catastrophic. If you or your child has been injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, or if you have lost a child for an unknown reason, medical negligence may have played a role. Various states have specific statutes governing malpractice claims. Many states provide for peer review by a panel of doctors before the claim can be reviewed by the court. Certain notice and time requirements may apply to your claim. If you believe that you or your baby has suffered injury due to negligence, consult Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible.
Nursing Home Injuries and Negligence
Injuries suffered by residents of nursing homes may be recoverable under applicable state laws for medical malpractice. When health care providers fail to provide treatment with a reasonable degree of care, they may be liable for any resulting damages. Health care providers include the professionals and staff of nursing homes. Because nursing home residents require special care and attention, it is all the more important that the nurses and staff of the nursing home provide proper care to the residents. If the nurses and other staff of a nursing home abuse or neglect a patient, payment for damages, known as recovery, may be sought by the victim under the law of medical malpractice. If you or someone you know reside in a nursing home and have been injured as a result of improper care, consultation with an attorney knowledgeable about medical malpractice law could help you determine if you have a valid claim. For more information on nursing home injuries, contact Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible.
Nuclear Medicine (CAT Scans and MRIs)
CAT (computer axial tomography) Scans and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) save thousands of lives each year by detecting problems in their earliest stages and in cases of emergency where the diagnosis could mean life or death to a patient. Such would be to scans to detect internal bleeding injuries, spinal cord and brain injuries. In this instance the danger comes from failure to read the scans appropriately thereby causing an illness or injury to progress unheeded. But of course, with all malpractice cases, any claim will depend upon the standard of care that could be reasonably expected. Contact Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible for more information or to help answer any questions you may have.
Time Limitations for Filing a Claim
Every state has certain time limits governing how long you have to file a personal injury case after an injury or accident occurs. These time limits include wrongful death and medical malpractice cases. The law refers to these time limits as statutes of limitation. The amount of time available to file a claim depends on the state in which you live, and in some cases, the type of case being filed. Most cases must be brought within three years after the date of injury or one year after the injured party discovers the injury, whichever occurs first. Actions by a minor shall be commenced within three years from the date of the injury or a child under the full age of six years shall be commenced within three years or prior to his eighth birthday whichever provides a longer period. Because delay can jeopardize your claim, you should Mark Jordan Siegel & Associates as soon as possible to review your claim as soon as possible.
How is a medical malpractice case proved?
To establish a prima facie (on the face of it) case of medical malpractice, the claimant must present expert medical and non-medical (i.e. financial expert) testimony verifying the claims of negligence and request for economic damages, unless the negligence can be inferred from the facts.
How are medical malpractice cases analyzed?
The basic elements involved in medical malpractice, as in common negligence, are establishment of a standard of care, proving a breach of that standard of care, legal causation, and damages.
Generally, standard of care is defined as how a reasonable, careful or prudent person would behave in similar circumstances. In general, all people have a duty to avoid creating foreseeable, unreasonable risks of harm to others.
Breach of that standard of care occurs when someone deviates from that standard of care and creates a foreseeable, unreasonable, risk of harm. Causation and damages are often intertwined and can be difficult to separate. A legal cause of action for negligence usually exists when it is determined that the breach of the standard of care proximately caused damages, usually physical or emotional in nature to the victim.
These same issues, standard of care, breach of the standard of care, causation and damage also apply in a case involving medical malpractice. However, the elements of a negligence cause of action are tailored to the medical or health care setting. Therefore, in determining whether medical malpractice exists, the questions become: 1) how would a reasonable, careful and prudent doctor, hospital or other health care provider behave in the same or similar circumstances; 2) did the doctor, hospital or other health care provider breach that standard of care in this specific situation; 3) was the unreasonable, careless or inappropriate behavior on the part of the doctor, hospital or other health care provider the proximate cause of 4) injury or damages to the patient or client?
To prevail in a medical malpractice case, all of the above elements must be proven. The failure to establish even a single element will prevent the successful outcome of a medical malpractice suit.
What does statute of limitations mean?
The legislature of each state has determined and placed into the state’s laws the maximum time after the commission of a civil wrong that a lawsuit may be brought. In general, a medical malpractice case must be filed with the court, no later than two to four years after the commission of the malpractice. Regardless of how strong the malpractice claim may be, if the suit is not initiated with the statute, then the suit cannot be brought. The statute of limitation in Texas for personal injury and wrongful death cases is generally two years from the date of the incident.
For example: In January of 2003, John went into the hospital to have surgery done on his stomach. During the surgery, the doctor negligently left a rubber strap inside John’s stomach. The rubber strap resulted in a stomach infection that required intensive medical attention and prolonged hospitalization. If the statutes of limitations for medical malpractice suits are three years from the time of the malpractice, then John must file suit with the court no later than January of 2005. If John decides to file suit in January of 2006, then his suit will be barred from being brought due to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitation in Texas for personal injury and wrongful death cases is generally two years from the date of the incident.
What is Vicarious Liability?
When a person is held responsible for the tort of another even though the person being held responsible may not have done anything wrong. This is often the case with employers who are held vicariously liable for the damages caused by their employees, such as the event of hospitals and physicians. One can make the assumption that a physician is an employee of the hospital without making an inquiry as to whether or not the physician is actually an employee of the hospital. Therefore, the hospital could be held accountable for any of the physician’s actions, without having done anything wrong.
How do I begin a medical malpractice lawsuit?
If you think that you have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit, it is wise to seek out an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is an extremely complicated are of law that raises many complex and intellectually difficult legal and medical issues. Due to the heavy reliance upon medical experts, the cost involved in bringing a successful medical malpractice suit is very high. Most attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice will provide a free initial consultation to determine whether the case is worthy of further investigation. Most malpractice specialists have a number of experienced experts who can determine not only whether the case is viable, but also how difficult the case will be to try before a jury.