What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to perform to the standard of care that others in their peer group would administer. If they fail to properly diagnose a patient’s condition, the individual has the legal right to sue a doctor for substandard care. Negligence is not only defined as the failure to provide adequate care. Doctors can be held liable for actually inflicting harm to a patient when they prescribe the wrong medication or make a surgical mistake.

Establishing the Duty of Care

All medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients and negligence or malpractice can occur when they improperly perform their duty out of carelessness. An injured plaintiff may choose to sue a doctor when they deviate from the standards set forth by others in the same field. For example, let’s say that you are admitted to the hospital for a routine operation. The anesthesiologist is tasked with administering the proper amount of medication to keep you under during the procedure. They may be held liable for damages when they breach their duty of care to the patient by giving the wrong medication or administering an overdose. Anesthesiologists are also responsible for properly monitoring the patient’s respiratory condition and other vital signs during surgery. Failing to do so can result in a medical malpractice claim against them. Negligence may be proven by testimony from other medical professionals who act in the same capacity that can testify that the duty and standard of care fell below what was required.

Breach of Duty & Standard of Care

When a person decides to sue a doctor or other healthcare professional, they must be able to prove the necessary legal elements in order for a case to go forward. These include:

• Duty owed to the patient—A doctor owes a duty to their patient when they have an established relationship. They are required to perform to a standard of care that others in their same field would have done.

• Breaching their duty—When a doctor fails to perform their duty at the required level and administers treatment below the standard of care, they may be found in breach of duty.

• Proximate cause—If the direct cause of the patient’s injuries were the result of the physician breaching their duty, the plaintiff has an established case.

• Damages owed to the victim—The injured patient may seek damages when the injuries were caused by the medical professional who breached the duty of care. Victims can recover both economic and non-economic damages and in some cases may be able to sue for punitive damages when the doctor’s conduct appeared to be willful in nature.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice continues to be a huge problem throughout the U.S. Many victims are left with debilitating injuries requiring life-long medical care. When you have been the victim of medical negligence, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to examine the facts of your case. Contact Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier for a free consultation.

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Do You Want To Know If Your Medical Practitioner Is On Probation?

Would you want your medical practitioner to tell you if he or she is on probation? Would it cause you to question an expert’s opinion if they were to tell you they were? This week, the California State Senate rejected a bill that would have required licensed a medical practitioner to inform their patients if they were or currently are on probation for a serious infraction. Entire blog →

Are Medical Errors The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The United States?

For years, experts have estimated that medical errors impacted approximately 98,000 patients in in the United States each year. However, a new study suggests that medical mistakes may be far more common — roughly four times the original figure.

The latest research, which was published in the Journal of Patient Safety, predicts that preventable adverse events (PAEs) lead to as many as 440,000 patient deaths in U.S. hospitals each year. These new findings make medical errors the third leading cause of death in our country, behind heart disease and cancer.

As Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers, we are not completely surprised. One of the reasons medical errors are so prevalent is because they can take a variety of different forms, including:

  • Surgical errors. Examples include performing surgery on the wrong body part, failing to remove foreign objects from the body after surgery and improperly monitoring patients under anesthesia.
  • Birth injuries. Examples include misdiagnosing a pre-birth condition like preeclampsia, failing to order a timely cesarean section and improperly using forceps or other medical devices.
  • Misdiagnosis. Examples include misinterpreting test results, failing to acknowledge patient complaints and providing untimely treatment.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent. Examples include neglecting to properly explain the potential benefits, risks and alternatives involved in a medical procedure.
  • Medication errors. Examples include prescribing a wrong medication, failing to check for drug interactions or administering an incorrect dose.

Until hospitals can make medical care safer, victims of medical errors will continue to needlessly suffer. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier provide knowledgeable and compassionate legal advice after a serious medical mistake. You can count on us to fully investigate your claim, hold the negligent parties responsible and obtain the compensation you deserve.

The Future of Medical Malpractice in New Jersey

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act promises to put new demands on the medical system, with a growing demand for doctors. New Jersey, however, is already facing a shortage of physicians, and this situation is only expected to become more severe as the demand grows. This shortage may mean more malpractice claims.

Some likely results of a physicians’ shortage

By 2020, a physicians’ taskforce reports, there will be 12 percent fewer physicians in New Jersey than will be needed. No one can tell for sure what the results of a physicians’ shortage will be, but there are some likely scenarios that will mean you may require the services of skilled personal injury attorneys in Trenton:

  • Procedures will be pushed off onto physicians’ assistants and registered nurses. More people will be trained to perform routine treatments in place of a doctor. Many of these will be highly trained professionals — but they will not have gone to medical school, and there is not yet widespread agreement about which procedures they will perform. There is likely to be a lengthy period of transition, during which malpractice claims may arise.
  • Emergency rooms will experience stress. As fewer people are able to get access to their regular physicians, the pressure on emergency rooms is likely to increase, and with it, the potential rate of error. Rushed staff and crowded facilities lead to errors — and the need for medical malpractice attorneys in Trenton.
  • Older patients will test the system. The population of the United States is aging rapidly — and older patients are among the most difficult to treat, as they frequently have multiple and complex medical issues. As Americans age, they will demand more and more health care from a system that is struggling to fulfill its obligations. While it is impossible to predict how many medical errors will result from physicians handling multiple elderly patients, it will certainly be the case that families — and their personal injury attorneys — will need to be strong advocates for accountability.

Consult a personal injury attorney in case of a medical mistake

Medical malpractice is a constant element of the health care system, and one that is likely to increase as the system expands. If you believe that you or a member of your family has been a victim of medical malpractice, you should consult an attorney immediately. The personal injury lawyers of Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier combine compassion for their clients with rigorous investigation skills. Contact us today for a consultation.