Just about everyone has heard the horror stories of otherwise healthy people checking into the hospital for a minor procedure, or even having the procedure performed outpatient, and then suffering devastating, even life-threatening complications. Fortunately these incidents are the exceptions rather than rule, but that may be little solace for the victims and their families. In many of these terrible tragedies there is more at play than simple bad luck; all too often the problem is medical malpractice. When that happens it is crucial that victims, or their loved ones, receive the legal care that they deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Though our society often exalts them as superhuman, the fact remains that doctors and healthcare workers are still simply human. That means that like everyone else they are prone to occasional errors, lack of diligence, fatigue, or even laziness. The difference between medical professionals and the average person is that a mistake by a medical professional can often have life or death ramifications or result in severe pain and suffering.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to deliver the standard of care that would be expected from a reasonably competent and prudent healthcare professional, and when this deviation in care further results in the patient experiencing harm. Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence that may result from either action or inaction.
How Is Medical Malpractice Proven?
Medical malpractice is often difficult to prove because there can be some dispute about what the standard of care is for a given procedure in a given time and place. This gets more complicated since typically the patient is already sick or injured at the time that the potential medical malpractice occurs, and thus it may be difficult to prove that it was the error, rather than the disease or injury, that caused the harm. This is why it is imperative that people who believe they may be the victim of medical malpractice consult an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. Some general qualifications for a medical malpractice case are as follows:
- A doctor-patient relationship must have been in place at the time of the incident
- The doctor must have been negligent in some way
- The patient must have experienced harm
- It must have been the negligence that caused the harm
What Are the Different Types of Medical Malpractice?
Unfortunately there are an almost limitless number of ways medical malpractice can occur because negligence itself is so broad and there are so many potential errors that can be made depending on the circumstances. This further complicates the case and raises the risk that an error might fly under the radar. However, some of the most common types of medical malpractice errors include the following:
- Failure to diagnosis
- Prescribing the wrong medications
- Ineffectual administration of anesthesia
- Surgical errors
- Incorrect treatment
- Failure to treat
- Hospital errors
- Improper monitoring
- Poor testing
- Patient abuse
- Lack of informed consent
What Are the Possible Consequences of Medical Malpractice?
At the root of medical malpractice cases is the violation of trust and the consequent suffering that a patient experiences. No medical malpractice case exists if the patient does not suffer harm as a result of the error and it is usually this suffering that motivates the patient to pursue justice in the first place. As with the cause of malpractice the resultant suffering is similarly varied. Some of the most common types of consequences include the following:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Medical expenses incurred from the malpractice
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future wages
- Inability to enjoy life
- Decreased quality of life
- Physical incapacity
- Wrongful death
How Can Dies & Parkhurst Help Medical Malpractice Victims?
Dies & Parkhurst provides outstanding legal counsel to the victims of medical malpractice throughout the Southeast Texas area. We have the expertise and experience it takes to establish and prove medical malpractice and the resulting suffering it causes. We also have the resources to locate and engage expert witnesses for court cases or to negotiate out-of-court settlements as needed. Most importantly we have a steadfast commitment to our clients and an unwavering drive to win them justice.