Things You Must Know About Medical Malpractice
Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 3
Doctors take an oath to “do no harm.” Unfortunately, many things can go awry in medical settings that lead to patients experiencing just that—serious harm—after a healthcare provider makes an avoidable mistake or acts negligently.
Medical malpractice is the official term used to describe situations in which patients suffer significant injuries or even untimely death due to professional negligence and improper treatment from medical staff. We trust these individuals to help, not hurt, but malpractice happens more often than many people realize. This is why personal injury lawyers are so needed—especially as healthcare systems continue to consolidate and form powerful entities who will do whatever it takes to protect themselves.
Today’s post in our ongoing series offers valuable information that patients need to know about medical injuries and their rights. Hopefully, you and your loved ones are never victims of medical malpractice, but knowing what qualifies—and how to get help—can make a real difference in whether justice is served under difficult and often painful circumstances.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
There are many types of medical mistakes and negligence that qualify as medical malpractice, and you may not have realized that the poor healthcare experience and/or outcomes that you or a loved one endured may warrant legal action.
These are some common scenarios—there are others, too—in which medical malpractice may be to blame for continued health problems or unexpected death following surgery or even routine care encounters:
- Your doctor failed to properly diagnose a medical condition or misdiagnosed you with a disease you didn’t have.
- You received a faulty care regimen to treat a known medical condition.
- You experienced problems related to anesthesia administration.
- Your pregnancy and/or the birth of your baby was not attended to appropriately.
- A nurse or other staff member did not keep a treating physician up-to-date on the patient’s condition.
- Medications were not administered correctly in a hospital or long-term care setting.
- You fell or were otherwise injured while you were a hospital or nursing care facility patient.
Negligence and Medical Malpractice are the Same Thing
One of the most important factors when it comes to determining whether malpractice occurred is to prove that a healthcare provider has deviated from the “standard of care” (or, what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done in a similar situation) in treating a patient.
Not following the standard of care often shows negligence, which might be willful or accidental—either way, negligence indicates malpractice.
So how do you prove negligence?
The short answer is you do not. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney should be consulted to step in and help you sort through the facts. He or she will carefully review your or your loved one’s medical records, conduct interviews with involved individuals, and consult with knowledgeable medical experts, among other fact-finding tasks, to help determine whether you have a qualified case and seek compensation you may be owed.
What to Do When You Believe You’ve Been a Malpractice Victim
Did you know that sometimes you may actually receive notice from a healthcare system or hospital that previous treatment you received at their facility was poor based on internal investigations? Often worded as apologies, these notices are sent not because the healthcare provider is truly remorseful, but as a way to protect themselves against future litigation.
If you’ve received such a notice, do not respond or accept settlement offers from the provider until you’ve spoken with a personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights.
Whenever you believe that you’ve been a victim of a medical error or other negligence, your best course of action is to call an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There are limitations on how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, and a good attorney will help you weigh your options, even if some time has passed since the treatment in question.
What about Defective Drugs?
Even if you’ve only ever received skilled and appropriate medical care, there are situations in which you may have been prescribed a dangerous pharmaceutical remedy that injured or sickened you. While being treated with a bad drug won’t necessarily show that your doctor acted negligently in advising you to take it—after all, it sometimes takes years of study to determine a medication is harmful (as with some Valsartan made overseas)—you may still need to seek compensation for damage you’ve suffered.
In other words, defective drugs don’t necessarily equate to medical malpractice, but there are ways to get justice for the problems and pain they can cause.
Need to Determine Whether You Have a Case? Westmoreland Injury Lawyers Can Help!
If you or a loved one is suffering based on poor medical treatment or recalled medications, Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is right here in Greensburg to help our neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania get the compensation they need and deserve.
Get in touch today for your free consultation, and let us go to work for you.