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Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare practitioner fails to exercise the proper degree of skill and care required by the profession. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that 250,000 deaths per year are caused by medical errors. This makes medical errors the third most frequent cause of fatalities in the US, after heart disease and cancer. By its nature, medicine is incredibly complex. Even the smallest error committed by a doctor can have life-altering consequences. Physicians study and train for years to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their profession’s accepted standard of care. Unfortunately, medical malpractice still occurs, leaving patients worse off than they were before they sought help from their doctor. Medical malpractice law helps keep doctors and hospitals accountable for their actions or lack of action.

TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

Medical malpractice law covers many types of cases, listed below:

  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis happens when your doctor fails to correctly diagnose your condition. The doctor may conclude there is nothing wrong with you, or may treat you for a condition you do not have, letting the real source of your illness go untreated. You could end up being harmed by your existing medical condition and the inappropriate treatment. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cause around 40,000 deaths every year combined.
  • Failure to diagnose cancer and other life-threatening diseases like meningitis can be particularly harmful to your health. When these are diagnosed too late, patients may miss their chance they needed to fight the disease in its early stages. Advanced-stage diseases often involve difficult, painful treatments that do not guarantee a successful outcome.
  • Surgical errors can occur when a doctor performs surgery on the wrong site, unintentionally pierces a vital organ, or leaves a foreign object inside of the patient’s body. Such errors are often caused by miscommunication between different branches at a large hospital or surgical practice.
  • Anesthesia errors pose an inherent risk during any type of minor or major medical procedure. Your medical history, allergies, current medications, and other factors should all be thoroughly examined by an anesthesiologist prior to your surgery. Anesthesia malpractice can occur by failing to obtain an accurate history during your medical review, or by applying anesthesia incorrectly during the procedure itself.
  • Prescription errors can happen when a doctor misdiagnoses your condition, or simply prescribes you the wrong medication. You can experience serious side effects from unnecessary drugs, and these can have a damaging impact on your long-term health.
  • Failure to warn a patient about risks associated with a procedure may cause the patient to take a risk that they wouldn’t be comfortable with taking if they understood it. Lawyers call this informed consent, and it applies to non-emergency cases in which informing the patient will not cause their condition to worsen.
  • Birth Injuries like cerebral palsy and other oxygen deprivation conditions can occur when a baby does not get enough oxygen to the brain during delivery. Other factors include infant prematurity and trauma during labor which can also increase the chances of a baby developing cerebral palsy. These types of injuries can lead to life-long catastrophic health and financial consequences for your child and your family.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are not always brought against doctors. Occasionally, the hospital in which you stayed, the manufacturer of medical equipment used on you, or another medical professional may be responsible for your injury instead. We will have an expert review your medical records and determine every medical professional that is responsible for your child’s injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as a result of any other type of medical negligence not covered above, you may still have grounds for a lawsuit. Please feel free to call us for free, no obligation initial client consultation at 404-662-7222.

PROVING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

The various types of malpractice listed above make it seem like doctors can be sued for any little mistake they make. Medical procedures always come with inherent risks, and a poor medical outcome does not always mean that negligence has been committed. To make matters more complex, doctors are usually hesitant to admit when an error occurred during treatment, which often leaves patients with more questions than answers. While doctors are not expected to be perfect, they are expected to at least be competent. They are only guilty of medical malpractice if the mistakes they make are so egregious that they fall short of the acceptable standard of care.

EXPERT WITNESSES AND STANDARD OF CARE

Proving what the standard of care should have been, and that the medical professional in question failed to meet it, requires the help of expert witnesses in any type of medical malpractice lawsuit. In Georgia, an expert must sign an affidavit before you even file your case.

Even after proving that the medical professional owed you a standard of care and breached that standard of care, you still required to prove that their failure to comply with the accepted standard of care resulted in whatever damages you are suing for. Because of the complexity of the medical malpractice laws and need for expert witnesses, it is always advisable to contact a medical malpractice lawyers as soon after injury as you or a loved one are able. Please feel free to call us right now at 404-662-2227 for a free, no obligation initial client consultation.

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