When you need to seek medical care, you want to assume that the professionals taking care of you won’t make a mistake. But doctors and nurses are human, and they do – so who is responsible when that happens?
There is a standard of care that medical professionals must adhere to. This essentially means a reasonable amount of care that any competent medical professional would be expected to show. In order to prove that your medical professional was responsible for your injury, you must prove that this standard of care was broken and that it directly caused the injury. If you are able to prove those things, you can hold the medical professional legally responsible for your injury. According to injury attorneys Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner, medical malpractice lawsuits aim to recover compensation for past and future medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages.
Below are some of the common types of medical malpractice injuries and who may be liable.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
It can be scary not knowing what your diagnosis is, but what’s even worse is receiving the wrong diagnosis or the correct one but too late. Diagnosing illness is a complex task, so can doctors really be expected to never miss a diagnosis? It all comes back to the standard of care. If any reasonably competent doctor should be able to correctly diagnose something using a differential diagnosis, then a doctor can be held liable for missing it. There are many lawsuits related to breast cancer diagnoses that came too late.
One common type of surgical error is called wrong-site surgery, which refers to a surgery that is done on the wrong person or wrong site on the body. Other examples of surgical errors include performing the wrong procedure, performing an unnecessary procedure, or causing an additional injury during the procedure. Any surgical mistake would legally fall on the doctor who performed it.
There are many potentially dangerous side effects from anesthesia, so it must be administered carefully. You would assume that the anesthesiologists and the hospital they work for would be responsible for this type of error, but it can get more complex than that, according to LTKE Law. Some anesthesiologists are independent contractors, meaning that you would have to sue them directly. Medical malpractice lawyers can help you navigate that process.
Medication errors are common, but can be difficult to prove in a lawsuit. Because medicine usually comes with a slew of potential side effects, you would need to prove that by taking the wrong prescription or wrong dose, you sustained a serious injury or illness. If this is indeed the case, then the doctor who wrote you the incorrect prescription would be responsible.
There are many different types of birth injuries, and the liability will depend on the type and when it was caused. Because the process of being pregnant and giving birth lasts for 9 months, there are so many medical personnel involved throughout the process. This can make it hard to pinpoint responsibility for a birth injury. Sometimes injuries occur despite the doctor doing everything correctly. However, there are certainly some cases of infection, seizures, cerebral palsy, or perinatal asphyxia where the doctor could be at fault.
If the injury was due to medication, then the doctor who prescribed the medicine would be liable. You could also hold the pharmacist or manufacturing company liable, depending on the exact issue with the medication.
What To Do
If you believe that your injury or illness is due to medical malpractice, there are a few steps you should take. First make sure that your injury has been documented by a medical professional. The more proof you have of your injury, the better, so make sure to get copies of your medical records. Next you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer, who can help guide you through the process of getting justice and compensation for your injury.