Common Situations Involving a Doctor’s Negligence
Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex personal injury cases because they involve both legal and medical expertise. While judges and jurors generally have the knowledge to evaluate fault in cases involving everyday experiences like car accidents and slips and falls, that isn’t the case with most medical malpractice cases.
Medical malpractice cases require an experienced attorney who commands in-depth knowledge of the laws governing these cases as well as human biology and general medicine. That attorney also must be able to present a plaintiff’s case so the jury can easily understand why a medical provider should be held legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., our dedicated team of Michigan medical malpractice lawyers is nationally recognized for their depth of knowledge and skill in presenting these complex cases.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals owe their patients a duty to provide a certain level of care. Medical malpractice is the term used to describe the body of law governing the duty that healthcare professionals owe to patients and how to evaluate whether they fulfill or fall short of that duty.
Doctors and other medical professionals can’t guarantee the best outcome for every patient. Emergency rooms are busy and often overcrowded, operating rooms are stressful, shifts are long, and most medical workers have many patients. Every patient is unique and may respond to treatment in a completely unexpected way.
However, none of these facts change the duty healthcare workers owe to their patients. All medical professionals must render services and give patients care that meets the applicable professional standards for their practice area.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to negligent medical care, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare providers. This type of lawsuit typically involves a medical provider, the staff members who assisted the provider, the facility where they performed the services, and their employers (if different from the facility).
Examples of Situations Where Medical Malpractice Is Common
Medical negligence can occur anytime you visit a doctor, surgeon, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. However, most instances of medical malpractice that cause patient injuries involve one of these situations:
A birth injury is a preventable injury a mother or child suffers during labor and delivery. Most birth injuries involve either physical trauma or oxygen deprivation. In either case, a mother or child’s injuries can be severe and have lifelong consequences.
Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus injuries.
- Brain damage.
- Broken bones and fractures.
- Cerebral Palsy.
- Erb’s Palsy.
- Excessive bleeding.
Misdiagnoses and Delayed Diagnoses
Most patients assume they stay on top of their health by visiting the doctor for regular checkups. However, doctors occasionally misread test results or fail to notice common symptoms of a serious—but treatable—condition. When this occurs, a healthcare provider may be liable for the injuries caused by their failure to diagnose.
Surgeons complete many years of rigorous training and practice because even the most straightforward surgeries are highly complex. However, surgeons occasionally make mistakes that can drastically affect a patient’s life. Sometimes, these mistakes are unavoidable errors in judgment; in other cases, they demonstrate a failure to meet their duty of care. For example, a surgeon who fails to perform the accepted safety checks and leaves a sponge inside a patient’s body may be found negligent for not taking the reasonable steps expected of a surgeon in a similar situation.
Medical staff work together to create a safe environment for their patients to heal and recover from illness. Fulfilling this duty requires hospitals and other facilities to take reasonable precautions to prevent and reduce the spread of infections. They are also responsible for promptly discovering infections and taking appropriate steps to treat them and protect other patients. If you or a loved one recently suffered damages from an infection after undergoing a medical procedure, the facility or medical staff may have been negligent.
Prescription drugs are powerful substances that can effectively treat many serious conditions. However, every drug has the potential to cause side effects. Many drugs cause adverse reactions when taken with other prescription drugs or even some over-the-counter medications. Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that a patient’s prescription is accurately filled and doesn’t interfere with any other medicines they take. Doctors have a duty to prescribe drugs in safe dosages and to avoid prescribing drugs that may harm a patient or interact with their other medications.
What To Do If You Have Suffered From Substandard Medical Care
Not every poor outcome is caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence. However, if you or a loved one believe that you may be a victim of negligent medical care, you should take action to protect your health and preserve your rights to recover for your injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Obtain a Copy of Your Medical Records
Most medical records are now electronic. While providers should not go back and edit, supplement, or change prior notes in your record, you can protect against this by requesting a copy of your records from the treating physician. Having a copy of your most current records ensures no one can tamper with your records and negatively impact your ability to recover in a malpractice claim.
- Keep Diligent Records
Memories fade over time. While there should be a record of all the treatment your doctor provided, keeping your own first-person records is critical. Some patients find it easiest to keep a journal detailing the incident they believe was negligent, all follow-up treatments, and their recovery progress. Keeping detailed records can help you maintain a clear, accurate recollection of the events following an incident of medical malpractice.
- Contact a Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you’re ready, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your potential claim. Although discussing personal medical issues with a lawyer may seem intimidating or embarrassing, attorneys strive to make the process as comfortable as possible. If you have a copy of your medical records, bring it with you. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information your lawyer needs to evaluate your case; they can help you gather the necessary information.
Have You Suffered Negligent Medical Care From a Healthcare Provider?
If you believe you or a loved one recently received substandard or negligent medical care, contact the Michigan medical malpractice lawyers at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. Our dedicated team of medical malpractice attorneys has a nationwide reputation for excellence. We routinely handle some of the country’s most complex and contested medical negligence cases. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case, call Sommers Schwartz, P.C., at 800-783-0989 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.