It’s a nightmare situation: after you’ve spent weeks recuperating from surgery, you’re told that your condition is still not likely to get better. However, it’s not because the surgery wasn’t a success—it’s because your doctors have been treating the wrong condition all along. As you start your treatment over from the beginning, you just want to know who is to blame for your unnecessary suffering. Could your doctor be held liable for something he did—or even something he didn’t do—while providing medical care?
What’s the Difference Between Negligence and Medical Malpractice?
When a patient is harmed by a medical professional, the patient and his or her family can file a suit for medical malpractice or medical negligence. Medical malpractice typically involves a professional taking an action that causes injury, while medical negligence usually occurs when a professional fails to take timely action that could have prevented injury. For example, failure to effectively treat an illness would constitute negligence, while prescribing the wrong medication may be malpractice.
Doctors and hospitals may be held liable for both negligence and medical malpractice that causes serious consequences for a patient’s health, including:
- Misdiagnosis. Misdiagnoses can cause harm in one of two ways: a doctor may fail to correctly diagnose a condition (costing a patient valuable time in treatment), while patients who are diagnosed with an illness they do not have may suffer injury or death from prescribed medications or surgeries.
- Childbirth injuries. Physicians must take special care when providing treatment to pregnant women before and during childbirth. Negligent prenatal care includes the physician prescribing a medication that causes harm to the mother or baby, while mistakes during delivery can cause brain injuries, fractures, and nerve damage in the baby’s neck and arms.
- Medication mistakes. There are numerous ways that medication errors can result in serious health problems for patients. The most common prescription mistakes include prescribing the wrong medication, failure to check for possible interactions with other drugs a patient is taking, administering a drug that a patient is allergic to, and administering too high a dose of a harmful drug.
- Anesthesia errors. The amount of anesthesia a person is given during a procedure must be monitored carefully to avoid waking during surgery, brain damage, or even death. Anesthesiologists may be liable for injuries caused by administering too much anesthesia and failing to properly monitor a patient's vital signs, but can also be guilty of medical malpractice for failing to screen a patient’s medical records for possible anesthesia complications.
- Surgical errors. One of the most common fears of patients about to undergo procedures are mistakes in the operating room. Many medical malpractice claims are filed due to surgeons operating on the wrong body part, leaving sponges or surgical instruments inside the patient’s body, causing bleeding or injuries due to “nicking” other organs or tissues, or poor post-operative care that results in infection.
We Can Examine Your Case and Tell You If You Have Suffered Medical Malpractice
Many patients do not realize that the fact that a doctor made a mistake is not enough to file a medical malpractice claim. In order to take legal action against a health care provider, you will have to prove that the doctor or medical provider was negligent or incompetent in providing care, and that his negligence was the cause of your physical and emotional trauma.
At Wayne Wright LLP, we can examine the details of your case to determine who is at fault for your suffering, and advise you on the next steps in your case. If you go to court, we will provide knowledgeable, aggressive representation for you and your family—and you do not owe us anything unless we win your case. Call us today at 800-237-3334 to get started on your free case evaluation.