Medical malpractice is when poor or low-quality treatment is given to a patient by a health care provider resulting in an injury to the patient, long term or short term disability or even death. It is professional negligence on the part of the healthcare provider.
Different countries follow different legislations and standards for medical malpractice. In a surgery and medical malpractice lawsuit, the first and foremost thing to determine if the medical error committed.
There are various cases where you can expect justice to prevail, example mistakes during childbirth, undiagnosed heart diseases, error in giving anesthesia, failure to diagnose cancer or any other major disease, misdiagnosis and prescribing wrong medication, failure to treat appendicitis etc.
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Malpractice lawsuits are not just limited to doctors but involve medical staff including nurses, anesthesiologists and other staff involved during or after the surgery. Carelessness or negligence during the surgery, like performing an operation on the wrong part of the body, cutting open a wrong artery, leaving surgical tools, sponge or gauge inside the patient, administering wrong or incorrect amount of anesthesia, incorrect amputation, or incorrect breast mastectomy etc.
These malpractice cause unnecessary pain, anxiety, stress, complication and suffering in patients. This may be termed as a criminal offense in some countries. Some recent stats of medical malpractice show that about 225,000 people die each year due to incorrect diagnosis in the US. This ratio is the third most common reason for death in the US. From these, 12,000 people per annum die from unnecessary surgery. Only 2% of the patients ever file a claim for malpractice and the justice received is even less than that. Sometimes it is very difficult to determine whether medical malpractice has actually taken place or not.
Other forms that are ignored include unnecessarily long incisions, wrong medication prescribed, and effect of the wrong medication on other organs which start showing symptoms at a later stage.
There are three forms of surgeries: emergency surgeries which need to be performed within seconds and any delay can cause irreparable damage to the patient, urgent surgeries are planned within 3-4 days and are of a longer duration operated on priority. Elective surgeries can be delayed for some time until it becomes necessary to perform them. Malpractice can occur in any one of the surgeries, especially in emergency surgeries where the doctors are under high pressure to save the patient. Every claim of medical malpractice has a time limit within which it should be filed. This is referred to as the Statue of Limitations.
If you think you or any of your dear ones is a victim of medical error, make sure you file the claim on time before time runs out. Once the suit is filed and if the negligence is proved, the patient will get compensation for medical expenses, lost income and cost of medical care for life, lost the ability to earn income and the pain and suffering caused. In case the patient dies during the surgery, the family will get wrongful death damages, mental and emotional loss, and lost income for life. Make sure you are fully acquainted with the procedure and your attorney has fully briefed you on the situation at hand.