Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Woodstock

Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, the majority of people seeking medical care should expect to receive excellent care from their doctors and nursing staff. However, despite the fact that the United States has one of the most state-of-the-art healthcare systems in the world, that doesn't change the fact that doctors and nurses, are human.

Often times hospitals are continuously operating with staff shortages, and many of their doctors are overworked and exhausted. When you combine a bustling hospital with thousands of patients coming in and out and overwhelmed doctors and nurses, it's only a matter of time before someone has a slip of the mind or makes a mistake. Unfortunately, when a nurse or doctor makes a mistake while caring for a patient, that one mistake can have deadly consequences.

What types of errors are included in medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to when a patient suffers an injury as a direct result of a negligent act or from an omission from their healthcare provider.

Medical malpractice covers a broad range of medical errors or omissions and some common medical errors include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to diagnose a condition such as cancer.
  • Wrong site surgery.
  • Leaving a sponge or surgical instrument behind after surgery.
  • Operating on a healthy organ.
  • Failure to order necessary tests (as in a heart condition or cancer).
  • Wrong diagnosis. (diagnosing a disease that doesn't exist)
  • Deadly drug interactions or drug overdose.
  • Accidentally cutting or nicking a healthy organ during surgery.

Medical malpractice frequently involves birth injuries. Birth injuries cover a broad range of errors that can be traced back to poor prenatal care, or to preventable errors made during labor, and gross errors made during delivery itself. Birth injuries can include brachial plexus injuries, Erb's Palsy, shoulder dystocia, facial paralysis from forceps use, cerebral palsy, and other complications due to oxygen deprivation at birth that lead to severe mental retardation and death.

Who is responsible?

The plaintiff can bring a lawsuit against a doctor or a dentist, or a nurse; however, they may also bring a lawsuit against the employer which is often the hospital. Since many physicians are not actually employees of the hospital, they are independent contractors; the plaintiff may bring a lawsuit against the doctor as opposed to the hospital.

On the other hand, if the nurse or physician was an employee of the hospital, then the lawsuit would most likely be brought against the hospital where the error occurred. A hospital may also be held responsible for its own negligence if it failed to investigate the credentials of a physician, or if they knew the physician was incompetent yet they allowed him or her to practice anyway.

Proving Medical Negligence

In order for a plaintiff to be successful in their claim, they must prove all four elements of tort negligence in their medical malpractice claim:

  • The medical provider had a legal duty to provide treatment to the patient.
  • That legal duty was breached and the provider provided a substandard level of care.
  • The breach was the proximate cause (it caused the actual injury).
  • Damages must have been sustained. Without financial or emotional losses, there isn't any basis for the claim.

In medical malpractice claims, damages typically cover economic and non-economic losses and these include: pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, reduced enjoyment of life, loss of a limb or an organ, psychological harm, loss of vision, emotional distress, and loss of future income.

Medical malpractice cases have a statute of limitations, meaning if you don't file a claim within the specified period of time, you lose your right to file a claim permanently. We are here to help guide you through every step of the process while pursuing maximum compensation on your behalf.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, please contact Jones & Swanson.

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