Attorney Ben Schwartz gives a brief overview of Delaware medical malpractice cases.
Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today I’m going to give you a brief overview of Delaware Medical Malpractice cases. Our main office is in Dover, Delaware. We also have offices in Wilmington, Delaware, Dagsboro, Delaware, as well as Bethany Beach, Delaware. I think I can safely say that we have the entire state of Delaware covered when it comes to medical malpractice cases.
We oftentimes meet our clients and their families in hospital settings. So, it’s not uncommon for us to get out and visit someone at Christiana Hospital, Wilmington Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital. I’ve recently gone from Kent General Hospital in Dover to Milford Memorial Hospital. Not too long ago, I was at Beebe Hospital. I have even been to Nanticoke Hospital down in Sussex County once or twice. We make home visits to people in rehab facilities. It’s really not uncommon and so I confidently tell you we’ve got the entire state of Delaware covered.
What type of injuries occurs in medical malpractice cases? You know, for every doctor, for every nurse, for every procedure, for every medication there’s some way that a mistake can be made if the provider is not paying close attention and being scrupulous in their work. Carelessness is a human quality unfortunately and it is an all too human quality in the medical arena.
Oftentimes the cases that we handle are significant, catastrophic, life-changing injury cases and wrongful death cases, those are really the types of cases that we see in medical malpractice situations.
We also see some very common types of cases where, let’s say the case of a retained surgical instrument, where the surgeon leaves an instrument or something, a sponge, in the body after he or she closes the surgical site. We see OR explosions. For example, you’ll see cases where the patient is tented, and they’re being administered oxygen and at the same time, the surgeon is using what is called an electric artery device. You know sparks from the electric artery device light off an explosion with the tented oxygen.
That’s something we’ve seen multiple times. Another type of case that we not uncommonly see will be a wrong sight, wrong patient, wrong surgery type of case. For example, a woman goes in, delivers a baby, and while the doctor has the patient under general anesthesia does a tubal ligation, even though the patient never requested a tubal ligation and didn’t consent because the doctor mixed up that patient with a different patient.
Wrong-site surgeries are not terribly uncommon. For example, you’ll see a surgery where the patient went in for right knee total replacement and come out with the left knee total replacement. That’s a medical mistake! It’s a surgical mistake called a wrong-site surgery. We see a lot of different types of surgical mistakes. We see hospital errors.
Another example would be medication errors. I’ll give you an example of a medication error. Let’s say you’ve got a patient, you look at the chart, there are precautions stating that the patient is allergic to sulfa drugs, yet the doctor prescribes a sulfate drug. The pharmacists fill it, the nurse administers it, and the patient has a terrible outcome. I mean that is a perfect example of a medication error.
Another type of medication error that we’ve seen recently is a Levaquin injury. The patient goes into a walk-in clinic, is prescribed Levaquin for bronchitis. Unfortunately, the doctor does not take an adequate history from the patient to find out that they’re also on oral steroids. The Levaquin and the oral steroids are contraindicated when you can have Levaquin with an oral steroid. Sometimes it causes tendon injuries and, in this patient, both Achilles’ tendons were ruptured as a result of this medication. That’s a perfect example of a medication error.
How much does it cost to talk to a Delaware medical malpractice attorney? In these types of cases, Delaware medical malpractice cases, our attorneys provide a free consultation. Meaning that when you meet with the attorney, you’re not paying a consultation fee to learn about how the case will work, to learn about your legal rights, and to find out what to expect. It’s a free consultation.
Are there any special requirements to file a medical malpractice case in Delaware? Yes, there are. If you don’t get anything out of watching this video except for one thing, mark my words, write it down, stick it in the back of your mind, if you have a Delaware medical malpractice case the most important thing to do is get to an attorney ASAP.
The reason for this is because there is a special requirement called the affidavit of merit. To file a Delaware medical malpractice case you have to have an affidavit from a medical practitioner stating that the defendant acted in a negligent manner causing injuries. That’s not something that’s easy to get. It’s something where we like the law firm, we as the attorneys have to go out and find a medical practitioner who’s qualified to give that opinion and who’s willing to give that opinion, and get the affidavit from them and include it with lawsuit papers when we file the medical malpractice lawsuit in the state of Delaware.
The other thing to keep in mind in terms of special requirements is that generally, Delaware has a two-year statute of limitations that runs from the date of the negligent act or omission not from the date when you discovered it.
So, the Delaware statute of limitations can be very short. There are some exceptions to that 2-year statute of limitations, I’m not going to get into them on video, it’s something we can talk about if you come into the office and have a consultation about a Delaware medical malpractice case or if you are an attorney watching this and you want to find out more send me an email. It’s something we can converse about if you’re an attorney working on a Delaware medical malpractice case, maybe it’s something I can help you with. But, these special requirements, the short two-year statute of limitations, the affidavit of merit requirement exist in Delaware medical malpractice cases and they make it very important that you get a qualified attorney on board ASAP.
Final question, are there caps on damages in Delaware medical malpractice cases? I practice in several states, in some states there are caps on general damages. For example, I practice in the state of Maryland and Maryland has a cap, but Delaware does not.
So, you should be very aware, if you are the plaintiff or a defendant in a Delaware medical malpractice case, there are no caps on damages in the state. Thanks for watching it. I hope this answered any questions you may have about Delaware medical malpractice cases.
If you have questions, please complete the contact form on this page, on our website, or send me an email.