When we visit a doctor or hospital, we expect them to treat our illnesses or medical conditions and help us get better. Unfortunately, doctors can and do make mistakes while on the job, leading to devastating injuries. When a doctor’s error causes additional illnesses or injuries, the victim can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit for compensation against the doctor. If you have been left injured after seeking medical care, how do you know if you have a valid lawsuit and how much your case is worth?
Proving Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case
To succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff and their attorney must demonstrate several elements. First, the victim must prove that the doctor owed them a duty of care as a patient. Next, the victim must show that the doctor breached the standard of care by acting unreasonably when compared to similarly trained doctors. Finally, the victim must prove that the medical error or breach caused the patient actual harm. There are several signs that you have a valid medical malpractice case, including the following.
Lack of Informed Consent
Every medical procedure has a certain amount of risk of complications that could occur. Before any medical treatment, the doctor should explain the risks and benefits. Doctors are legally required to ensure that they have informed consent from their patients before they engage in treatment. Lack of informed consent typically occurs when the doctor performs a procedure that the patient did not agree to when the doctor failed to explain the risks and benefits of the treatment sufficiently. When you bring a lawsuit based on lack of informed consent, you will need to show that had your doctor failed to fully explain the risks of the treatment, you would have chosen an alternative or declined.
The Patient Experienced Unusual Symptoms or Injuries
Doctors do not have to warn you about highly unusual risks of treatment or surgery. Nonetheless, when a patient does experience a highly unusual outcome after seeking medical treatment, that could be a sign that some type of mistake or negligence has occurred. For example, suppose a surgeon performs a biopsy on a patient’s abdomen, which is a simple procedure with a quick recovery time.
After the surgery, the patient experiences severe abdominal pain, a fever, and bloating. In the emergency room, the treating physician orders a scan of the abdomen and discovers a surgical sponge left behind during the biopsy. The unusual symptom of bloating and pain is a sign of medical malpractice. Similarly, suppose a doctor prescribes an antibiotic but does not check the patient’s allergy history, and the patient suffers anaphylactic shock. Again, anaphylactic shock is an extraordinary consequence that indicates the doctor may have acted negligently.
A Healthcare Provider Admits to a Mistake
Has your doctor made a significant mistake and admitted it to you? If so, the admission of guilt indicates that the doctor acted negligently or recklessly. Regardless of whether a healthcare provider is honest about making a medical mistake, when a patient has suffered actual harm, the patient should still discuss the case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
The Prescribed Treatment is Not Helping the Patient
Have you had a chronic medical condition that you think should be going away but is not? Are your symptoms getting worse without explanation? Your doctor may have misdiagnosed you. If you have been misdiagnosed, you are at a higher risk of developing more injuries or becoming sicker. In addition, illnesses often worsen with time, and your health may continue to get worse while you are receiving treatment for a condition you do not have. Likewise, if you are on medication for the illness with which you are misdiagnosed, you can develop dangerous side effects from exposing your body to a medication you never needed.
Your Doctor Does Not Follow-Up With Your Concerns
In many cases, it is typical for a patient who receives a diagnosis to discuss their concerns and questions with their doctor. However, when your doctor does not follow up with you and provide you with adequate information, or your doctor seems rushed, does not answer your questions, or provides you with an insufficient amount of medical attention, that may be medical malpractice. Your doctor should take your concerns seriously and then take enough time to discuss your treatment plan with you. When doctors do not focus enough on patient care, it can be a sign that your doctor is more likely to act negligently.
Anesthesia mistakes are a leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. An anesthesiologist has a duty to become informed about the patient’s weight, allergies, condition, and other factors to administer anesthesia properly. A small error in anesthesia dosage can result in severe medical issues or even death. Negligence related to anesthesia can involve any of the following issues:
- An IV flow rate that is not controlled properly
- Errors with documentation
- Problems with dosing
- Unintentional administration of anesthesia
Mistreatment Resulting in Death
If your loved one passed away unexpectedly after surgery or receiving other medical treatment, the doctor may have acted negligently, causing your loved one’s death. Medical mistreatment that results in death could indicate several different things, such as a doctor giving the patient the wrong medication, ignoring the patient’s needs, or even performing the surgery incorrectly. If you suspect that your loved one’s death was the result of medical malpractice or something similar, it is wise to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Potential Medical Malpractice Case With an Experienced Lawyer
Successful plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases are entitled to economic and non-economic damages for their injuries. If you suspect that you or your loved one have become injured due to medical malpractice, you must discuss your case with an attorney. You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit before you lose your ability to do so. Contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers Schwartz & Schwartz today to schedule your free initial consultation.