Medical malpractice in the United States is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. To be proven as medical malpractice, the patient must prove that the physician acted negligently, which resulted in injury or even death. It commonly involves medical error. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, all five legal elements must be met, including:
- A duty was owed
- A duty was breached
- The breach caused an injury or death
- It was a deviation from the accepted standard
- There was further establishment of conditions of intention or malice (where applicable)
- Pecuniary or emotional damage or losses occurred
If medical malpractice is proven, compensation is given to cover all related costs for the patient, both economic and non-economic, in the past, present, and future.
The Types Of Medical Malpractice
When an error occurs in diagnosis, it may be due to symptoms not being readily apparent or telling. This can include failure to diagnose cancer, misdiagnosis of a stroke or diabetes, failure to recognize certain diseases, and misdiagnosis of symptoms that lead to a heart attack. In instances when misdiagnosis causes a patient to not be treated properly, a doctor can be held liable for further injury or damages.
When a diagnosis is made by a doctor, it is done in a timely fashion, so that the doctor can administer medical treatment and avoid further damage. If a diagnosis is delayed, as well as treatment, and damages result, this can become medical negligence, holding the doctor and/or hospital or clinic liable. Some common instances include delay in the diagnosis of heart attack, stroke, cancer, internal trauma, and beyond.
Anesthesia error malpractice can occur either before the operation, due to not reviewing all of the patient’s medical records properly or for a lack of monitoring the patient under anesthesia, which results in lack of oxygen, loss of life, or damage.
When a mistake happens during surgery, it can be traumatic for the patient. Surgical errors often include unintentional lacerations, surgery on the wrong site, a foreign object being left in the patient’s body, uncontrolled blood loss, and beyond. When it comes to surgical errors, many outcomes occur, such as excessive blood loss, temporary or permanent organ damage, and even death.
Unnecessary surgery can occur when a doctor misdiagnoses a patient or chooses the wrong surgery type. Common cases of unnecessary surgery include implants of pacemakers, coronary bypasses, C-sections, and hysterectomies. Recommending unnecessary surgery is not always a case of medical malpractice, but if the injury could’ve been avoided without the surgical procedure, it may be found as medical malpractice.
Childbirth And Labor Malpractice
Childbirth and labor malpractice can occur in a number of ways. If a doctor doesn’t perform a c-section in time during fetal distress and the baby has permanent brain damage, it is malpractice. If there is a difficult birth situation requiring forced extraction, such as using forceps and suction, and improper handling of the situation results in permanent injuries, it is considered malpractice.
Additionally, if induced labor and side-effects of Pitocin are not monitored carefully, it is medical malpractice. There are also cases when a newborn’s medical condition is misdiagnosed or the vital signs of the baby fail to be monitored.
Medical malpractice can occur over a long period of time, as well, and it can occur when a doctor fails to follow-up with treatment or fails to monitor how the treatment is going. Doctors must monitor the progress and result of treatment of a patient or can risk injury, side effects, or damage to the patient, resulting in medical negligence.
General Medical Negligence
General medical malpractice is any medical care by a physician that deviates from the normal spectrum and duties, and in any case that injury occurs, those involved can be held liable.
Summary – The types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical error, unnecessary surgery, anesthesia error, childbirth and labor malpractice, long-term treatment, and general medical negligence.
Who Is Held Accountable?
In most medical malpractice cases, it is one doctor, dentist, nurse or medical professional who is liable for the damage or death that has occurred. However, staff and/or hospitals, as well as clinics, offices, departments, emergency rooms, and medical centers can also be included.
With off of these establishments also required to not deviate from the accepted medical standard of care, they too can be held accountable. In many cases, the center as a whole is held liable, in addition to the medical professional(s) involved.
Summary – In most cases, it is one doctor that is typically held accountable for the medical malpractice, but in many cases, the building or department as a whole is included.
Steps To Take To File A Medical Malpractice Claim
When a person or a family member determines that medical malpractice has been the cause of an injury or death, the first step they need to take is to find a lawyer to help with their case. The lawyer will meet with the person or family member to discuss the case at hand, investigate and discover evidence. Together, they will prepare the case, prosecute, and file the lawsuit.
The defendants will start their own investigation and the negotiation process will begin. It can be a short or a long process – sometimes taking several months, depending on the severity of the case and the compensation required.
Summary – To file a medical malpractice claim, you’ll want to work with a lawyer with a history of success in medical malpractice, meet with them, and file the case together.
Get Trusted Help With Your Texas Medical Malpractice Today
Are you ready to get your case in the right hands? When it comes to medical malpractice in Texas, you can trust the experienced law firm of Aaron W. Perry, PLLC. Together, we will dive into your case and navigate it successfully to achieve the best outcome for you and your family.