Common Causes of Medical Negligence
Common causes of medical negligence include:
- Failure to diagnose – We depend on physicians to diagnose an injury or illness accurately and on time so that treatment can start as soon as possible. Failure to diagnose specific diseases like cancer could allow them to advance. The longer these diseases are left untreated, the more difficult it becomes to manage them. Doctors may fail to diagnose diseases if they do not order the correct diagnostic tests, if they misread the test results, do not perform a physical examination, fail to take the patient’s medical history into account, or if they fail to communicate with the patient, for example.
- Surgical errors – If a doctor fails to follow the required safety protocols, serious surgical errors could occur. Mistakes like operating on the wrong part of the body, leaving surgical tools inside the patient, puncturing or perforating internal organs, or performing the wrong surgical procedure should never happen, but unfortunately, they do. When this happens, the patient could be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon and possibly the hospital where they were treated.
- Medication errors – We depend on medication to ease pain and suffering and treat illnesses and diseases. When drugs are incorrectly prescribed, dispensed, or administered, they can do more harm than good. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year due to medication errors, whether caused by confusion over drug names, a doctor’s failure to communicate with the patient, or communication between the doctor and the pharmacy, for example.
- Anesthesia errors – Administering anesthesia is critical for many surgical procedures, and it must be done with precision. If an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist delivers the wrong dose, fails to monitor the patient, or fails to intubate the patient, they could potentially suffer a brain injury due to lack of oxygen, a heart attack, or could die as a result.
- Birth injuries – The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for the parents and extended family of the child. The doctor and delivery team are expected to monitor the health of both the mother and newborn child throughout the delivery process. If complications arise, they need to act quickly and responsibly. Errors that are made during the birthing process could result in injuries to the child that could have a lasting impact on their life.
- Facility errors – Hospitals have a responsibility to implement and enforce safety protocols to make sure that patients receive the quality treatment they deserve. This means ensuring that patients are properly checked in, surgical procedures are verified, the site of surgery is confirmed, and the type of procedure they are scheduled for is the correct one. If these protocols are not in place or are not followed, the hospital could share some liability for harm caused to the patient.
- Equipment errors – The advanced medical equipment that doctors and medical technicians use requires detailed training and skill to use. If the equipment isn’t calibrated correctly, is defective, or if the operator does not know how to use it correctly, patients could suffer severe injuries. Improper training or maintenance are often cited as the reasons behind medical equipment errors.
Holding Healthcare Facilities Liable For Medical Malpractice
Facilities could be held liable for malpractice if proper procedures, protocol, or oversight are to blame for the failure to uphold an expected standard of care. These facilities include:
- Ambulatory surgical facilities
- Nursing homes
- Institutional general infirmaries
- Renal dialysis facilities
- Birthing centers
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case, collect evidence, consult with medical authorities, and determine any parties who might be liable for your injuries or the loss of your loved one.
Medical Malpractice Settlements
If you suspect that your injuries were caused by malpractice, or if your loved one died due to negligence on the part of a healthcare professional or facility, you could be owed significant compensation from the party responsible. While the amount and types of damages are determined by the specifics of your case, common types of compensation victims can recover include:
- Past and future medical bills, including the cost of revision surgery or other corrective treatments
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Reduced future earning potential
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of support, consortium, and household services
In rare cases that involve gross negligence, victims could also be awarded punitive damages. This compensation is intended to punish the responsible party and send a message to others that a specific action or inaction will have severe consequences.
How Do Medical Malpractice Claims Work in South Carolina?
The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina is three years from the date of your injury, or from when the injury was or should have been discovered.
Because claims take time to investigate and medical professionals must evaluate the treatment that you received, it is important to hire Stewart Law Offices as soon as possible. This will give our attorneys time to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Our attorneys can negotiate with the doctor’s insurance company or the insurance company for the medical facility to see if they will offer you a fair settlement for your claim. This settlement should compensate you for the expenses you incurred, address any other related financial needs, and take into account all of the losses you have suffered. If they fail to offer a settlement that is fair to you, your attorney may file a lawsuit and may take your case to trial.
Keep in mind that just because your case goes to trial, it doesn’t mean that a settlement won’t happen. Insurance companies still can – and often do – make settlement offers throughout the process to try and reach an offer that will end the trial.
If our attorneys and the insurance company cannot come to an agreement, the case may go to the jury to decide. If the jury sides in your favor, you could collect the compensation you are owed. Keep in mind that the other side could appeal the decision, further delaying your payment until the case is ultimately resolved.
Steps to Take If You Suspect Malpractice
According to Johns Hopkins, medical errors or mistakes are the reason for 10 percent of all deaths in the United States. Patients have a right to expect that their doctors are giving them their full attention and are focused on providing the highest quality care possible at all times.
If you believe that you were hurt or if you lost a loved one and believe that their death may have been caused by medical malpractice, you should:
- Consult with a different doctor. You will need to have the mistakes corrected by a competent, responsible medical professional, or you will need to make sure that your illness is correctly diagnosed so that you can begin treatment for your condition.
- Get a copy of your medical records. Your medical malpractice case will rely heavily on your medical records, which are a detailed summary of your medical history, the treatment you’ve received, lab results, medications, and other vital info.
- Document everything. Be sure to record how the medical error has impacted your life. Make sure to note any days you’ve missed from work and other problems your injury has caused. It is a good idea to document how the injury has impacted your personal relationships as well.
- Hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney with the right experience and skill can gather the necessary evidence, consult with medical witnesses, and will build a convincing claim on your behalf. They will handle all of the negotiations and legal legwork to make sure you get what you’re owed.