Are You or Someone You Know a VICTIM of Medical Error or Negligence?

Here is a handful of MUST-KNOW TIPS before you consider filling a medical malpractice suit…

The first reported medical malpractice claim in the United States was made in 1794.

In its May 10, 1958, issue the Journal of the American Medical Association said that a claim had been made against one out of seven of its living members at some time during his career. It was reported at about the same time that in New York and Washington, D.C., one out of every five doctors had been sued for malpractice, and that in California the number was one in every four.

Medical Malpractice - Overview

According to the Wikipedia: “Medical Malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and which causes injury to the patient.�?   Simply put, medical malpractice is professional negligence (by a healthcare provider) that causes an injury.
Most physicians are ethical, competent and highly skilled. At times however, mistakes do creep in due to negligence on the part of the healthcare professional.

Improper care hits a whopping $250K in compensation…

In New Jersey a jury awarded the parents of a five-year-old child $250,000 because of improper care given at the time of the child’s birth. It was held that negligence resulted in the little girl’s loss of sensory powers, and her inability to sit up and feed herself.

In another case a doctor’s wife was given a general anaesthetic, even though she had eaten a full meal and a midnight snack within six hours of the onset of labour. When she vomited and then choked on the vomit, doctors failed to inject a muscle relaxant or perform a tracheotomy, which would have permitted her to get oxygen. Thus she suffered irreversible brain damage. The jury verdict was for $416,000.

What makes a VALID Malpractice Lawsuit?

A valid malpractice lawsuit must establish that the caregiver's duty to the patient was breached, failing to meet accepted standards of practice. It is wise to check what the ‘accepted standards of practice’ should be followed before filling a medical malpractice suit.

The source of medical malpractice is naturally medical errors, at least in theory. This concerns what an average doctor should have been able to do and should have been aware of when treating a patient.

Other conditions and potential surgeries of a patient may have required extraordinary expertise. Did the medical professional have the necessary skills, knowledge and equipment to perform a surgery or a treatment?

WHAT IF the condition was ‘curable’ but something went wrong…?

Many patients with ‘curable’ conditions pass away. The best example of this is cancer. A number of cancers are cured successfully. But that doesn't mean the patients not cured are all potential medical malpractice cases.

A Federal Commission of Malpractice found in January 2005, that key to limiting medical malpractice is for states to discipline those doctors who have repeatedly shown themselves to be incompetent. Some doctors have a history of negligence, incompetence and unethical behaviour. It makes sense, before filling a suit, to check your doctors past history.

When Doctors simply can’t pay out…

An obvious bad effect of the many judgments against the medical profession has been a rapid increase in doctors’ insurance rates. Fifteen or twenty years ago, malpractice insurance was a negligible part of their professional budget. But this is no longer the case, as more patients sue and juries give higher awards.

Some doctors are finding it difficult to obtain insurance coverage—at any price. Certain insurance companies have entirely ceased handling malpractice premiums, leaving doctors in some areas stranded.

There is still fear among the politicians to limit jury awards, and legislation to do that was rejected. Such an approach was already passed in Texas. Obviously, if you cap total awards in medical malpractice suits, then insurance costs can go down.

The question is, is it really just to limit all cases to $250,000 for an individual medical provider and $750,000 for a team of medical providers?

So far, Congress has not agreed to this. This is obviously a very difficult issue to decide. In one state, a bill was passed to cap non-economic damages on medical malpractices, such as pain and suffering. The bill was actually thrown out by the state courts as being unconstitutional. Other states have continued to have limits on non-economic awards in place.

Finally, another approach tried in the state of New Jersey, is to have the state subsidy doctors' insurance payment in certain extra high risk medical specialties, such as obstetricians.

Virtually every country in the world operates its own unique legal system, and within some countries, there is more than one system operating within the same national borders. An expert advice from a legal professional may be necessary to help you with your unique case.

If you or someone you know became an unfortunate victim of medical malpractice or negligence and you have more questions that need to be answered, please go over the free information guides and articles on this website.

If you would like to talk to a qualified legal professional about a medical negligence, there are many useful links to experts who specialise in medical malpractice suits on this page.

Every human deserves and has the right to a safe and professional medical treatment – you shouldn’t be any different!