According to John Hopkins, more than 250,000 people die each year in the United State due to medical errors. Other studies claim the number of deaths to exceed 440,000 per year. Medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
Consult with an attorney if you believe your injuries are the result of a medical professional’s negligence. Contact them as soon after the injury as possible. From the date of the medical professional’s error, you have a two (2) year time frame to sue for medical malpractice.
This area of law is difficult to navigate. You need a medical malpractice attorney familiar with malpractice law. Other areas of law that overlap includes negligence and personal injury.
The attorney will be familiar with the statutes of limitations and court procedures. This knowledge will allow them to provide you with the best possible outcome on your case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
You may be wondering what legally constitutes medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs when you receive care that is below acceptable standards. Failing to perform duties responsibly, may be the result of medical negligence.
When people think of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, they automatically think of the doctor. There are many other healthcare workers whose actions may result in serious injury. Those professionals include physician assistants, nurses, aides, radiologists, surgeons, pharmacy staff, and administrators.
When you want to sue for medical malpractice you need to prove:
- That you sustained injuries
- That your injuries were the direct and proximate cause of a medical professional’s actions
- That there was a professional doctor-patient relationship
Here are five reasons you should consult an attorney about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit:
1. Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional blatantly provides an incorrect diagnosis. This may result in the patient receiving improper treatment for their condition. By the time the correct diagnosis is made, it may be too late for the illness or disease to be cured.
For example, you are having symptoms and a doctor determines you to have gastritis. They provide you with treatment for that condition. Despite your lack of improvement, the doctor makes no changes to your treatment or diagnosis.
You then go to a different doctor who determines you actually have stomach cancer. The problem is cancer has now spread and is too far advanced for treatment.
This is different than a delayed diagnosis. This happens when a doctor reaches the proper conclusion but not within a reasonable time. This can happen if they are slow in ordering tests necessary for diagnosis.
An example is you arrive at an emergency room complaining of stomach pain. The emergency room physician determines you have severe indigestion. Your pain increases and it is later found that you had a cyst on your appendix which burst.
Prompt testing, diagnosis, and treatment are necessary to prevent patient injury.
2. Childbirth Complications
According to the CDC, in the United States, 17.4 women out of every 100,000 live births die in childbirth every year. The percentages for death vary based on the mother’s race/ethnicity and age. Women over age 40 die in childbirth 81.9 out of every 100,000 births.
Negligence may begin during prenatal care or the result of actions taken during the delivery. Childbirth malpractice claims include:
- Failing to diagnose or detect congenital disabilities
- Failing to diagnose or treat a disease that is contagious to the unborn child
- Failing to perform a C-section in a timely manner
- Failing to address medical conditions of the mother that may have an impact on the unborn child
- Failing to follow proper delivery procedures that result in physical injury to the newborn child
Often the mother’s death is preventable. Deaths happen due to doctors being too busy, failures to diagnose pregnancy risks, and relaxed hospital safety protocols.
3. Medication Mistakes
Mistakes in medication can happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication. It may also be a situation where the correct medication is prescribed in the wrong strength.
Other errors occur when a prescription does not mix well with other medications the patient is taking. They may also prescribe a medication the patient is allergic to.
Pharmacy mistakes also happen frequently. The doctor’s prescription is correct but the pharmacy fills it incorrectly. This can also happen in a hospital. The doctor orders the correct medication but the staff administers it wrong.
4. Surgical Mistakes
The majority of surgical errors are not life-threatening but can still be dangerous. The resulting injuries may inhibit your ability to live life comfortably.
For example, you have surgery and the opening does not heal. After several months the doctor takes you back into surgery to determine the problem. The problem is a surgical clamp left inside your body.
Other complications may include problems such as:
- Operating on the wrong part of the body
- Postoperative infections
- Damage to the brain during sedation
- Mistakes during the administration of anesthesia
You may question how the wrong part of the body may be subjected to surgery. An example would be the scheduling of a left ankle fusion. While under sedation the doctor performs the surgery on your right ankle.
Emergency Room Mistakes
The emergency room in any hospital is chaotic. Doctors are dealing with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses. Everything from what appears to be a mild illness to a trauma patient from an accident.
In their rush doctors and staff may fail to promptly treat a serious injury or illness. They may prescribe the incorrect medication, or misdiagnose a patient’s condition. Even mixing up records and patients can have life-long consequences.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice?
The Florida Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Reform Act sets forth the requirements for filing a malpractice lawsuit. The goal of this legislation is to stop frivolous claims. It encourages out-of-court-settlements and reduces the cost of medical malpractice insurance.
In addition to the two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice, there is also a four-year statute of repose. In cases of concealment, fraud, or a health care provider acting with intentional misrepresentation, there is a seven-year gap.
A medical malpractice lawyer will understand the various statute requirements. Contact an attorney as soon after the incident as possible.
Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Attorney
When selecting an attorney for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will want one who has extensive experience and solid client testimonials. Reed & Reed Attorneys at Law is a family law firm with combined legal experience in excess of 30 years. They are comfortable arguing cases in both trial and appellate courts throughout Florida and the United States.
If you have a situation that may be a reason to sue for medical malpractice, call for a free consultation. We are willing to meet after hours or on weekends according to your schedule. If you are unable to travel to our office, we will meet you at a location convenient to you.
The consultation is free, and you will not pay a fee unless and until we win a settlement for you. Contact us online, telephone our main office in Brandon (813) 438-5960, or contact any of our other locations in Lakeland, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. Call today so we can begin working on your case immediately.