It is an unfortunate reality that even the best doctors, surgeons, and medical professionals make mistakes. Most of the time, the mistakes are small and the patient experiences little if no pain and/or no lasting injury. However, when a big surgical mistake occurs, the outcome for the patient can be devastating. If a patient is injured or even dies inside due to a medical professional’s actions or inactions, you and/or your family, have the right to seek out a medical malpractice lawsuit.
According to the American Bar Association, medical doctors, dentists, technicians, nurses, and even entire medical facilities can commit medical malpractice. According to one Michigan medical malpractice lawyer, Sommers Schwartz, healthcare providers have a responsibility to keep their patients healthy. However, errors due to medical malpractice is said to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States, year after year.
To prove a medical malpractice case, an attorney must show that the medical professional in question had an obligation of patient care, broke or breached the standard of care, and that the breach caused the patient physical harm.
That said, here are three scenarios in which a case of medical malpractice might be initiated:
- Medical Malpractice Due to Lack of Informed Consent
Surgeries and physically invasive procedures are not without risk, even when being treated by the best medical professionals. Prior to entering into an operation, the patient needs to know precisely what to expect. A lack of informed consent happens when a physician performs a surgical procedure the patient had no idea about, or when the surgeon did not fully explain the risks of a medical procedure, or when the patient was not offered an alternative to the prescribed procedure, even if that alternative was to do nothing.
A case of medical malpractice can be proven even when the doctor does not stray from the normal standard of care. An example of this would be a doctor who opens a patient to remove a cancerous lung tumor. When the doctor sees that another tumor exists on another part of the body, and they remove that too. If the patient experiences no harm from the unexpected surgery, no malpractice exists. But if for some reason, the patient experiences physical harm, a case of medical malpractice can begin.
- Medical Malpractice Due to Extraordinary Consequences
Physicians and surgeons are required to explain the risks inherent in a treatment or procedure. They are not, however, expected to detail what are considered highly rare risks. But when a patient experiences an unusual and/or painful outcome after a procedure, that is a sure sign an error in treatment occurred.
One example of this is a doctor who performs a surgery on a patient’s stomach. Some weeks later the patient is experiencing severe bloating, discomfort, and a fever. After being rushed to the emergency room, a scan shows that the doctor left behind a sponge in the patient’s belly.
A second case of medical malpractice due to extraordinary consequences occurs when a doctor prescribes a medication and/or antibiotic for a sickness without thoroughly investigating the patient’s history of allergies. If the patient becomes sicker or enters into anaphylactic shock due to the treatment error, a lawsuit can be sought out.
- Medical Malpractice Occurring After a Healthcare Provider Informs You of a Blunder
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s program, Communication and Optimal Resolution, or CANDOR for short, was created as a way for medical facilities and medical professionals to address medical treatment errors and blunders. CANDOR’s guiding principles are honesty toward patients, offering apologies both verbally and in writing, significant financial compensation, conducting an extensive investigation into the cause of the mistake, and finally, providing frequent updates as to the progress of said investigation.
Despite CANDOR’s admirable efforts, many healthcare facilities are reluctant to admit to blunders and mistakes in treatment. If a medical professional is not being forthright about a treatment error that caused harm and pain to a patient, the patient should consult a medical malpractice attorney immediately.
When it comes to medical malpractice cases for patients who have suffered great physical pain or life changing trauma due to a medical professional’s mistakes, a consultation with a reputable medical malpractice attorney is highly recommended. Only when a patient has obtained proper legal representation, can he or she expect to receive a generous settlement.