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What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide treatment that meets a standard of care expected in the medical community. This can include errors in a diagnosis, a treatment, or the management of a patient's medical condition. Medical malpractice can occur anywhere that patients are treated, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

What Are the Types of Medical Malpractice?

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: If a healthcare professional fails to correctly diagnose a patient's condition, or takes too long to do so, this can cause a delay in necessary treatment for a patient, which can then lead to further complications or even death.

Surgical Errors: While some surgeons are very meticulous, mistakes can happen in the operating room. There are times when the wrong procedure is performed or a piece of surgical equipment or gauze is left in the patient when the surgery is over. The wrong procedure might be irreversible with lifelong consequences and a foreign object left in the patient can lead to infection and the need for more surgeries.

Birth Injuries: Injuries that occur to the mother or the baby during childbirth can happen if healthcare providers do not provide timely adequate care or misdiagnose symptoms that lead to complications for the baby or the mother. 

Medication Errors: Medications can have serious side effects if they are given at the wrong dose, given in the wrong combination, or given at the wrong time.

Anesthesia Errors: A patient under anesthesia must have their vitals constantly monitored to be sure that they are responding well to the medication and haven’t received too little anesthesia (which could lead to the patient waking up during surgery and feeling the procedure) or too much anesthesia (which could cause the patient to stop breathing, among other complications). 

What Are the Most Common Types of Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Physical Injuries: These can range from minor injuries to permanent disabilities or even death. If a limb or appendage is removed in error, the patient will have to live with those results for the rest of their lives.

Emotional Distress: When a patient puts their trust in a team of healthcare professionals and those people cause harm through misdiagnosis or negligence, it can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that result from the stress of the medical error.

Loss of Wages: If a patient is unable to work due to an injury or disability caused by medical malpractice, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages.

Medical Bills: Patients will often have longer recovery times or unexpected complications if something goes wrong. It may require costly medical procedures or consultations to help the patient heal. These patients may be entitled to compensation for the costs of medical treatment resulting from a medical error.

Who Is at Risk for Medical Malpractice?

Anyone who receives medical treatment is at risk for medical malpractice, but certain groups may be more vulnerable. Older patients may be more prone to medical errors due to underlying health conditions and complications that come with age. The complexity of treatment for patients with multiple medical conditions can also lead to a higher incidence of medical malpractice.

How Do You Prove That Someone Was Negligent in Their Medical Treatment?

To prove negligence in a medical malpractice case, you will have to show the following facts: 

  • That the healthcare professional owed you a duty of care. This means that they were responsible for providing you with a certain level of care through their job at a hospital or other medical facility.
  • That the healthcare professional breached this duty of care. You will have to show that they failed to follow accepted medical practices or made errors in your treatment which others with the same information would not have made.
  • That this breach of duty caused you harm. You must show that you have injuries directly caused by the actions of the healthcare professional in question.
  • That the harm resulted in financial and/or emotional damages. You must be able to show the extent of your damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

How Do You Sue for Medical Malpractice?

If you believe that you can prove the points listed above in a case involving you or a loved one, there are several steps you can take to pursue legal action.

Gather evidence: This can include medical records, test results, and any other documentation related to your treatment.

Consult with a medical malpractice attorney: An attorney can help you understand your legal options and help determine whether your case might be valid for medical malpractice.

File a complaint with the appropriate state agency: North Carolina has a medical board or responsible for investigating medical malpractice claims, not all cases go through the board, but it is possible to contact them.

File a lawsuit: If the state agency is unable to resolve the issue, you may need to file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation for your damages.

Be prepared for a long legal process: Attorney Corey Rosensteel says, “medical malpractice cases can be complex and can take a long time to resolve. It is important to be patient and stay informed about the progress of your case with your attorney and other parties involved.”
Overall, medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have life-changing consequences for patients. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, call Rosensteel Fleishman Car Accident & Injury Lawyers today at 704-714-1450 for a free consultation on your case.

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