Most Americans have a great deal of respect for doctors, and the thought of medical errors rarely enters their minds but it's more common than people think. When a doctor's substandard care directly results in patient injury or death, it's called "medical malpractice." Unfortunately, many errors are made by sleep-deprived residents pulling long shifts that are sometimes 24 hours or longer.
Medical malpractice can be committed by a family physician, a specialist, a nurse, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, or even by a dentist. There are various types of medical malpractice, including but not limited to:
- Wrong site surgery
- Surgical errors, such as cutting the wrong organ
- Surgery on the wrong patient
- Leaving behind an instrument
- Improper post-operative care, which leads to infection
- Failure to diagnose
- Incorrect diagnoses
- Medication errors (e.g. wrong dosage or wrong medication)
- Improper treatment
- Anesthesia errors
In order to file a medical malpractice claim, the following elements must be true: 1) a patient-doctor relationship existed, 2) the doctor's substandard care led to the patient's injuries, and 3) the patient suffered damages as a result of the substandard care.
What qualifies as damages? Damages could include actual pain and suffering, lost income because the patient was unable to work, and additional medical expenses that resulted from the poor medical care. For example, this could include a longer hospital stay, or additional surgeries to correct the error.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe that you were injured as a result of medical malpractice, please be aware that each state has enacted a statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim, which is a "deadline" for filing a lawsuit against the liable party. While the statute of limitations varies from state-to-state, many states impose a two or three year time limit for filing a claim.
If you were injured because of negligent medical care, we urge you to contact a personal injury attorney to file a claim for compensation!