Medical Negligence Lawsuit
The definition of negligence is failure to take proper care in doing something. Medical negligence is anything that differs from the standard medical care of a patient. The medical standard of care expected in a patient’s treatment will become an essential component of any negligence lawsuit. An attorney can prove medical negligence by initially establishing the standard of care expected in the patient’s case. Then, showing how the medical professional strayed from the standard of care, ultimately causing an injury to the patient.
Medical Standard of Care
The medical standard of care is a playbook that outlines treatments for numerous medical situations a patient may encounter. Medical experts must follow necessary requirements to assure the safety of their patients. The Hippocratic Oath is taken when a doctor receives a medical license. This oat promises to treat patients to the best of the doctor’s ability and avoid causing harm. In legal terms, when this oath is broken, it is considered negligence. The court will compare the medical standard of care to how the medical professional performed and determine if they were negligent.
Types of Medical Negligence
A challenging part of any doctor’s job is examining a set of symptoms and diagnosing the illness or injury which caused these symptoms to occur. In various cases, related symptoms can be caused by multiple illnesses. A misdiagnosis will ultimately lead to a wrong treatment being administered.
For example, a common misdiagnosis is linked to heart attack diagnosis. Often, the first sign of a heart attack will be chest pains, which can be misdiagnosed as strained muscles.
Failing to Timely Diagnose
As time passes, an injury or illness becomes more difficult to treat. The doctor needs to diagnose the injury or illness in a reasonable time. For example, many cases are related to cancer. The patient has a greater chance of recovery if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage. If it’s ignored, it will spread to a larger area causing more damage. During routine check-ups, the doctor can detect cancer at an early stage. Suppose the doctor fails to diagnose symptoms of cancer. In that case, the cancer will continue growing and put the patient at a higher risk. Every case is different, and whether it’s considered negligence or not depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
A common form of medical negligence is surgical errors. A negligent act may include a doctor unintentionally cutting or cauterizing an internal organ. This mistake could have been prevented if the doctor was more careful. Accidental cuts made during surgery can lead to urine, bile, or feces entering the abdominal cavity. This can cause dangerous infections, sepsis, or septic shock, leading to the patients’ death. Wrong-site surgery is another example of surgical error. There have been numerous cases where an administrative mistake leads to the wrong appendage being removed during an amputation surgery.
Failure to Follow Up with Treatment
This type of medical negligence is where a doctor fails to monitor the progress of the treatment or fails to adjust or stop the treatment if needed. For example, a patient with high iron levels in the blood might be prescribed to have blood drawn regularly to reduce iron levels. However, routinely drawing blood might negatively impact the immune system. A nurse will continue to draw blood as ordered by the doctor, but it is the doctor’s job to monitor the progress. If the doctor fails to monitor the patient properly, the nurse will continue to draw blood and unknowingly cause damage to the immune system and potentially causing death.
Failure to Treat promptly
Once a diagnosis of an injury or illness is made, treatment must be administered promptly. Immediate treatment will give the patient the greatest possible chance of recovery. Failure to treat the patient immediately might be considered negligence in some cases. Usually, this kind of medical negligence occurs in an emergency room, where timely medical treatment could determine the difference between life and death. Birth injury cases can also be affected by medical negligence. During fetal distress, doctors must act promptly and perform a c-section to remove the baby before an injury occurs. Failure to perform a c-section immediately can result in brain injury or cerebral palsy.
The use of anesthesia poses a high risk during surgery. This is the reason anesthesiologists only specialize in administering anesthesia only. Anesthesia mistakes can lead to organ failure and brain injury. Furthermore, anesthesia mistakes can lead to heart failure and death. Any medication given to the patient before the surgery can also affect the anesthesia. The anesthesiologist must carefully and completely examine the patient’s medical records before deciding on administering the anesthesia. Failing to do so can be grounds for a negligence claim.
Medication or Prescription Error
Prescription and medication negligence typically occur in two ways. First, the doctor prescribes a drug that causes an injury because of misdiagnosis of symptoms, dosage error, or failing to check for allergic reaction. Second, the pharmacist fills the prescription incorrectly. A valid medical negligence claim can be filed when the doctor or pharmacist acts negligently while prescribing or filling the wrong medication.
Contact a Medical Negligence Attorney
If you or a loved one suffer from an injury caused by a medical professional, it could be the result of medical malpractice or negligence. Contact an attorney today to have your case evaluated. CALL US ANYTIME (281) 475-4535 or fill out a consultation form here to start the process.