A medical environment, whether a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic or nursing care facility, can be chaotic at times. In addition, extended wait times and unhappy patients can put added pressure on the medical staff. However, this does not mean that the care you receive should be less than you deserve. Medical malpractice can occur in any number of situations and it is something every patient needs to be aware of.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or organization fails to provide appropriate care to a patient, which then results in injury or harm to the patient with damaging or lasting consequences (such as pain, suffering or other hardship). This law refers to the actions of a doctor, nurse, hospital, surgical center, or any other professional or place that provides medical treatment. It should be noted that a poor medical outcome is not always due to malpractice. However, every patient has the right to a certain standard of care. If that right is violated, legal action can be taken.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are different forms of medical malpractice which can be noted throughout the healthcare process.
- Diagnosing errors – doctors have the difficult responsibility of observing a patient’s symptoms, medical history and other contributing factors to determine what is wrong with them. Failure to correctly diagnose a patient can lead to an incorrect treatment plan and loss of time to appropriately cure what they actually suffer from. Unfortunately, in a case of a serious disease, an initial diagnosing error can mean the difference between life and death.
- Surgical errors – surgeries are serious procedures, and patients put a lot of trust into the ability of their doctor and team to perform them safely and correctly. When a doctor makes a mistake during a surgical procedure, the results can be disastrous. Errors such as operating on the wrong body part, nerve or tissue damage, or even leaving a foreign object inside a body are all grounds for legal action for medical malpractice.
- Medication errors – it is extremely common for a doctor to prescribe medication as part of a treatment plan. This practice, however, allows for a variety of situations in which errors can occur. Prescribing a dose that is too high or too low, prescribing a medication that a patient is allergic to or has dangerous interaction with other drugs the patient is taking, or administering the wrong medication altogether can all be serious forms of medical malpractice.
What to Do if you Suspect You are a Victim
Again, not everything that goes wrong in a doctor’s office or hospital is a result of medical malpractice. Certain criteria must be present if you want to successfully bring a claim against a medical provider.
- A duty of care was owed by the medical professional or hospital
- An action, or a failure to act, by the medical provider has breached the duty of care
- That breach directly results in injury or harm to the patient
- The patient experiences considerable physical, emotional or financial damage as a result of the breach
Medical malpractice claims are complex and it can be difficult to go up against a large medical practice or facility. Call our office at 847-223-1500 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss your case.
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