A recent study analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for over 250,000 deaths annually just among hospitalized patients. This estimate is considered conservative in that it only reflects inpatient hospital deaths. This does not even include the extraordinary number of patients who suffer significant injuries because of medical negligence. The consequences of medical negligence and malpractice on a victim and his or her family are often grievous. A medical error may result in the patient’s death or a life of physical and emotional anguish, pain and suffering and devastating financial losses.
Cases of medical negligence resulting in significant injury or death should be pursued to the fullest extent provided by law, with the goal of attaining just and fair compensation for victims and their families. Patients can be victimized by many different forms of medical malpractice including:
- Medical misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis
- Negligently ordered or performed surgery leading to injury
- Botched medical procedures and treatments
If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice you have legal rights recognized under the law and should seek experienced medical malpractice legal counsel.
Medical Malpractice Basics
Medical malpractice encompasses a range of health care provider errors which may include:
- A delayed, inaccurate or incomplete medical diagnosis
- Unnecessary or improperly performed surgical or other invasive procedures
- The improper, ineffective or inappropriate treatment of a disease, injury, syndrome, illness or other ailment
These and other negligent acts and omissions committed by a health care professional may all be referred to as medical malpractice. The consequences of medical negligence and malpractice can be physically, emotionally and financially devastating both to the victim and to his or her family. The financial losses alone arising from a death or the severe injuries caused by medical negligence can be a catastrophic blow to any family. A financial recovery arising from legal action may provide critical financial support when dealing with the aftermath of these frequently devastating medical errors and mistakes.
While medical negligence and malpractice can occur in many different contexts, some of the most common medical errors typically occur when, for example, a medical professional fails to timely and properly diagnose or treat cancer; fails to diagnose or treat heart disease; performs inappropriate, unnecessary or negligent surgery, or fails to timely diagnose or treat an infection or other treatable disease or illness.
Other instances of medical negligence that may warrant a potential medical negligence lawsuit include:
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Surgical errors or wrong site surgery
- Improper medication administration or dosage
- Poor patient follow-up or aftercare
- Premature patient discharge or patient “dumping”
- Disregarding or not obtaining an appropriate patient history
- Failing to order indicated testing or radiologic studies
- Failing to recognize critical signs and symptoms of disease and illness
If you or a loved one believe that you or a family member have been the victim of a medical error or negligence, consult with a qualified, experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately. But not just any lawyers or law firms will do. A law firm that is experienced, well qualified and dedicated to and knowledgeable about the often complex medical and legal details necessary to establish a valid medical malpractice case, a law firm that has a proven history of successfully litigating a variety of complex medical malpractice cases—Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler.
Proving Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice
A medical malpractice lawsuit can be brought against most licensed health care professionals. These health care professionals include:
- Registered nurses
- Physical therapists
Medical negligence cases arise when a health care provider fails to exercise that degree of care and skill ordinarily expected of a competent health care provider with the same or similar education and training under the same or similar circumstances – a legal requirement often called “the standard of care.” There are several ways to formulate this legal requirement – sometimes the standard of care will be defined by the scope of a health care provider’s professional practice, or by written policies, procedures and protocols that have been formulated to direct the provision of health care under specific circumstances. In other situations, the standard of care will be measured by the conduct of an objective, prudent health care provider under the circumstances – what would such a health care provider do, or avoid doing, under the circumstances in a given case?
Because the applicable standard of care may vary depending on the facts and circumstances of a case, it is essential that your medical malpractice attorney has the experience and knowledge to appropriately determine what standards of care apply to the case and what standards may have been violated. To make this determination, the guidance of competent medical, nursing and other health care provider experts is often required. These experts will help to clarify how the standards of care may have been violated and whether there is a sufficient medical basis for a legal case to proceed. This is the fundamental basis of a medical negligence law suit.
In any medical malpractice litigation, medical, nursing and other experts must explain, often in great detail, how the conduct of a particular doctor or other health care provider fell short of meeting the applicable standard of care, causing injury to his or her patient. Successfully being able to associate and work with qualified medical and nursing experts is often where the experience and competence of your medical malpractice lawyer will be the most apparent.
The medical malpractice lawyers of Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler have that experience, and can carefully build and guide your case. We know, first hand, the steps needed to establish a viable medical malpractice case. We utilize an extensive network of competent, qualified and often nationally recognized medical, nursing and other health care provider experts to assist us in investigating your claims and, when necessary, to provide expert analysis and testimony during litigation and trial.
Criteria of a Successful Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
To be considered actionable medical malpractice under the law, a medical negligence case must typically meet the following criteria:
- Violation of the standard of care. Under the law, it is recognized that there are certain care and conduct that are accepted and acknowledged to be reasonable by the members of that profession. A patient has the right to expect that health care professionals will provide care that comports and is consistent with the standard of reasonable care. If the standard of care was not met, then medical negligence may be established.
- An injury or harm was caused by the medical negligence. For a medical malpractice case to be valid, it is not sufficient to only prove that a health care professional violated the standard of care. Competent malpractice legal counsel must also prove the patient sustained injury or harm that was caused by the identified violation of the professional standard of care and that such injury or harm would not have occurred in the absence of medical negligence or malpractice. An unanticipated or unfavorable result or outcome arising from medical care or treatment may not be malpractice.
- The injury or harm resulted in significant damages. Legal counsel must also prove that significant damages resulted from the injury or harm caused by the medical negligence. Such damages might include, for example, evidence that the injury or harm caused by the malpractice resulted in significant disability, loss of income, physical or emotional pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills. In too many cases, medical negligence may directly cause a patient’s death resulting in significant recoverable damages. Such wrongful death damages might include recovery for the victim’s physical and emotional pain and suffering prior to death, the loss of future income and benefits to the victim’s survivors and the grief, anguish and related emotional injuries suffered by the victim’s family members.
Taking Your Medical Malpractice Case to Court
Dugan, Babij, Tolley and Kohler are experienced medical malpractice litigators who will aggressively prosecute your case. Whether in deposition, dealing with defense counsel or in the courtroom, we will zealously advance your medical malpractice case and protect your legal rights. Our representation is always focused on what is in our client’s best interests - obtaining fair and just compensation for the injuries and harm caused by otherwise avoidable medical negligence.
We are very proud of the results we’ve achieved on behalf of our clients over the years and look forward to representing you and your family if you believe that you may have been injured or harmed by medical malpractice or the negligence of a health care professional.
Time May Be of the Essence
If you are considering bringing a case of medical malpractice remember that time is of the essence. There are always strict time limitations, imposed by law, for when a medical malpractice case must be filed. Laws may also restrict or limit what damages may be recovered if an applicable statutory deadline is not met.
Even if your medical malpractice case is clear cut and has merit, if these statutory deadlines are not complied with you may not be able to pursue your case or the damages you may otherwise be entitled to may be severely limited. Therefore, if you believe that you, a family member, or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence it is critical that you promptly consult with qualified medical malpractice legal counsel. We are available for a free consultation and can help you decide if you have a valid case worth pursuing.
We at Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler are here to help. We offer compassionate assistance and aggressive legal counsel in all cases of suspected medical malpractice and negligence. Please call our free Medical Malpractice Help Line to speak with an attorney at (800) 408-2080.