Monthly Archives: August 2016

How To Legally Handle Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

From our first days we are taught to trust those in the medical profession, and well we should! They have our best interests at heart. Medical doctors are important members of our communities who should be held in high regard and treated with respect and appreciation. Their medical knowledge and skill combined with their nurturing concern and humanitarian ideals are incredible benefits to all of us. Their commitment to health and wellness has given all of us a higher quality of life.

In the end, the fact remains that those in the medical profession are still mere mortals, and like all of us, they can make errors. They don’t do this on purpose, and their intention is Surely not to do us harm. But they are human beings who make mistakes, and the majority of the time those mistakes are the result of two factors which they have control over. If you have been harmed due to Malpractice remember it is important to have a Medical Malpractice Attorney on your side.

Why Malpractice Happens

The two leading factors contributing to medical malpractice are:

  • Having more patients than they can handle. In their quest to treat us, doctors sometimes attended to more patients than they can safely care for. Evidence of this is the time many of us spend in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or a suspicion that we are wasting the doctors valuable time in the exam room when we have concerns or seek more information. At hurried times like these doctors are no different than the rest of us and tend to overlook details and make mistakes even though they surely do not intend to.
  • Waiting too long to refer a patient to another doctor. Some doctors tend to wait too long before sending patients to other doctors who specializes in a particular type of medical treatment that the patient can benefit from. In some cases this delay can cause far more problems than it solves. Diseases progress and problems grow worse and occasionally spread to other parts of the body.

When these two factors are present to any degree, the greater the possibility of malpractice occurring. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, due to action or non action, performs below industry standards of patient care and, as a result, the patient suffers harm.

What to do in the Event of Malpractice

If you believe this has happened to you, you need to stand up for your rights, address the i event and hold the medical professional responsible so the practice does not continue and harm is done to others. Your first step is to contact a medical malpractice attorney and share your story with them. Medical malpractice lawyers, with their keen understanding of medical procedures and standards, along with knowledge of your rights under the law as a patient can quickly determine whether you have a case that should be pursued. If it is, the medical malpractice lawyer will begin evaluating the facts and start planning a course of legal action.

A Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Help Determine If You Have a Case

Most medical malpractice lawyers do not charge for the first appointment which permits you to share your suspicions. They will also be straight to the point in telling you whether or not, in their professional opinion, you actually have a case worth pursuing. You would also be well advised to do an in initial consultation with several different medical malpractice lawyers. If the majority respond in a corresponding fashion you will have an excellent idea of how to proceed and you will also have a sense of who you feel most confident in working with.

Medical Malpractice Misconceptions

Studies have found that many cases of medical malpractice go unreported. Of those that do get reported, the plaintiffs are left with a less than satisfactory result. The primary reason for both of these findings is that a plethora of medical malpractice misconceptions exist in the psyche of the common American. Many of these myths hold victims back from filing a lawsuit or from revealing all of the necessary facts for a healthy settlement or judgment. Following are some of the most common malpractice misconceptions:

Misconception 1 – It is only necessary to prove negligence.

This is the leading misconception in malpractice suits. While negligence is a large part of the lawsuit, it is really only one of the four elements that must be proven in the case. The first element that must be proven is that the medical professional had a duty to treat you in the first place. Doctors and other healthcare workers do not necessarily have a duty to perform medical procedures in every case. Negligence is the second element. The third element of the case is injury. The negligence must result in an injury. Finally, the injury must have caused some type of damages, which can be physical, emotional or financial.

Misconception 2 – Only doctors can commit malpractice.

Many people believe malpractice only pertains to physicians or surgeons. This is completely untrue. Any medical professional charged with treating or caring for you can commit malpractice. This includes nurses, medical assistants, anesthesiologists and radiologists, amongst others.

Misconception 3 – Medical malpractice suits result in increased healthcare costs.

This is a misconception that is shared not only be patients, but by doctors and other healthcare practitioners alike. The truth of the matter is that studies have conclusively proven no link between higher rates of medical malpractice suits and higher medical costs. Victims of malpractice should never feel shamed or feel they are committing a sin against society for filing a malpractice suit.

Misconception 4 – Medical malpractice suits are frivolous.

Many people believe that malpractice suits are without merit. This is completely false. Because medical malpractice is much more difficult to prove than other types of personal injury cases, almost all cases that are accepted by an attorney are for legitimate damages that have been caused to a patient through negligence.

Misconception 5 – It is too expensive to sue for malpractice.

It is true that malpractice cases can be expensive. However, almost all medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that the patient has absolutely zero upfront medical costs. All costs and attorneys’ fees are paid out of the final judgment or settlement. This fact also goes back to support the truth of Misconception 4. Because attorneys are working on expensive malpractice suits on a contingency basis they can’t afford to accept frivolous suits

Have I Been Hurt by Medical Malpractice?

Outside of your family, there are few people you trust more than your doctor. After all, you are entrusting your doctor with the well-being and care of your body. Most doctors are consummate professionals who excel at their jobs. Unfortunately, some doctors don’t live up to the standards or required medical practices of their peers and professional certifications.

When a doctor provides treatment they have not been trained or certified to perform, or fail to provide required medical treatment, it can result in physical injury to you or someone you love. And, although medical malpractice is generally viewed as something a doctor commits, it can be caused by anyone in the medical profession. When medical malpractice occurs, the results can be devastating to the people who can least afford an injury. But what constitutes malpractice, and how do you know you have been hurt by it?

Defined
When providing treatment to a patient, there is a governing standard of care that all health care providers must adhere to. Malpractice occurs when a health care professional fails to meet that standard. A health care provider can commit medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, by either performing an inappropriate action or by failure to perform an appropriate action. Sometimes this medical negligence can result in physical injury to the patient.

Some examples are:
• A doctor presents a misdiagnosis of a disease or medical condition
• A doctor fails to recognize a disease or condition
• Medical staff make a patient wait an for an inordinately long period of time for medical treatment
• The wrong procedure is performed on a patient
• A medical lab errantly switches samples which directly results in a misdiagnosis
• A doctor prescribes the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication
• A pharmacist negligently dispenses the wrong medication

Who Commits It
Though people usually associate medical malpractice with doctors, any professional in the medical field can commit malpractice, including but limited to:
• Physicians
• Nurses
• Medical technicians
• Psychiatrists
• Psychologists
• Pharmacists

Statute of limitations
It is important that you file a medical malpractice claim as soon as possible. In Minnesota there is a limited amount of time that you can claim malpractice. For an adult, you must file a malpractice claim within four years of receiving the injury. For minors, a claim must be made within one year of the child’s 18th birthday, but not more than seven years after the injury.

Why use a medical malpractice attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured, and you suspect that it was the fault of a healthcare professional, how do you go about proving the injury was the result of medical malpractice? The only way your concerns can be expertly reviewed and a determination achieved is by consulting with an experienced attorney. The field of medical malpractice is highly specialized. Because of the complexity of medicine, it is not always simple to prove a malpractice case. That is why it is important to contact an attorney with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of medical malpractice. A medical malpractice attorney can explain to you whether you have a case and what sort of settlement you are entitled to receive.