The Most Common Forms of Medical MalpracticeMedical malpractice is when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in injury or death. Fortunately, these cases are fairly rare, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating A variety of situations can lead to a medical malpractice claim. Situations range from a doctor leaving a sponge in a patient's stomach during an operation to failing to tell a patient that a prescribed drug might cause heart failure. Common Pinellas County medical malpractice categories include:
1. MisdiagnosisMissed or delayed diagnoses are major causes of malpractice complaints. When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition or fails to diagnose a condition for some period of time, the patient could miss treatment opportunities that might have prevented serious harm or death. Indeed, a misdiagnosis could lead to the prescription of treatments that are not appropriate for the patient, also potentially resulting in harm. The key to such a case is showing what the treating doctor did wrong and how a competent doctor should have gone about diagnosing the condition. If a reasonably skillful and competent doctor would not have made the same mistake under the same circumstances, then the treating doctor may be liable for malpractice. The five most commonly misdiagnosed diseases or conditions are infections, tumors or masses inside the body, heart attack, a blood clot in the lung and heart disease.
2. Improper treatmentIf a doctor treats the patient in a way that no other competent doctor would, the patient could have a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, it may also be malpractice if the doctor selects the appropriate treatment but administers it incompetently.
3. Failure to warn a patient of known risksDoctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment. This is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure.
4. Surgery ErrorsOccasionally, a surgeon might make a mistake in the operating room. A surgeon might make negligent errors during the surgery itself, like puncturing an organ or blood vessel, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical equipment inside the body. Alternatively, nursing staff could be negligent in postoperative care, resulting in giving the wrong medications, using improper procedures that could lead to infection, or failing to give the patient adequate instructions for their own postoperative recovery needs.
5. Pregnancy and LaborSo much can go wrong during a pregnancy and delivery that, even in the twenty-first century, medical negligence affecting both the mother and/or child during pregnancy and childbirth is still a problem. Some of the leading types of medical malpractice during pregnancy and childbirth are due to the following medical problems:
- Excessive and unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Placental abnormalities (placenta previa or placental abruption)
- Mother's gestational diabetes
- Excessively long labor that causes injury to the mother and the baby
- Hemorrhage of the mother during pregnancy or labor
- Surgical negligence during a C-section
- Negligence in administering anesthesia during labor or a Caesarian section
- Premature babies
- Shoulder dystocia or other nerve injuries of the baby during labor
Seeking Compensation For Medical MalpracticeThose that have been harmed while receiving treatment from medical professionals may be able to seek compensation for the damages they suffered in the event their injuries were caused by a negligent violation of the standard of care. Doctors, nurses, technicians can all be negligent in a way that deviates from the course of treatment that a similar professional would take under the same circumstances. This is known as the standard of care and the violation of such is an integral component to taking legal action after an injury while receiving medical care. This process typically consists of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit requires that a patient suffer an injury severe enough to take legal action over, negligence on the liable medical professional's part via deviation from the standard of care, and proof of the injuries cause being said medical negligence. Not all medical errors are medical malpractice and not all injuries suffered while getting treatment are either. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can get hold negligent medical professionals responsible for their actions and get compensation for damages that range from economic losses such as lost wages and lost earning potential, as well as non-economic damages such as mental anguish and chronic pain.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Medical MalpracticeAll states set their own limits on how long a patient can wait to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the state of Florida, this statute of limitations is two years from when the patient knew or should have known that an injury occurred and that it was likely due to medical malpractice. Furthermore, there is an additional limitation on Florida medical malpractice claims. Specifically, this limit is known as the statute of repose, which states that unless there are extenuating circumstances, healthcare providers may not be sued for medical malpractice more than four years after the malpractice incident occurs. This means you must realize you have been the victim of medical malpractice within four years after the negligent medical incident occurred or else you will not be able to file a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations ExceptionsThe exceptions to the statute of repose include cases where fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation was perpetrated on behalf of the medical provider. In such cases, patients may still have an opportunity to file suit despite the expiration of the statute of repose. These exceptions are another reason that it is important to speak to an experienced Clearwater medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Clearwater Medical Malpractice AttorneyMedical malpractice lawsuits differ from other personal injury cases because they involve two intertwining areas of expertise: law and medicine. These cases are inherently complex and require the attention and skill of an attorney who is well-versed in both of these areas. The attorney you choose should:
- Have a firm understanding of medicine
- Be able to decipher medical documents
- Know which experts to consult
- Know which questions to ask
- Be able to anticipate the tactics of the other side