Medical Malpractice – What Is It And Do You Have A Case?
When you go to the doctor and things don’t go as planned—let’s say you don’t get better or you get worse—are you a victim of malpractice? The answer to that question is more complex than you may think because not every negative medical event is always the result of malpractice.
The Standard of Care for Doctors
A doctor doesn’t have to do everything right or be right every single time. Rather, the law just requires that a doctor act in a way that a reasonably prudent doctor in the same situation and who specializes in the same medical field or specialty would act.
That’s called a standard of care and we ask if your doctor used the applicable standard of care in treating you. If he or she did not, there may be a case for malpractice.
We tend to think that only immediate, treating doctors can be sued for malpractice, but that’s not the case—nurses, acupuncturists, anesthesiologists, or radiologists can as well. As long as someone is rendering specialized medical treatment, they can potentially be sued for malpractice.
Types of Malpractice
There are different kinds of malpractice cases, largely dependent on what the doctor did or did not do. Here are some of the primary kinds of malpractice cases.
Medical errors – This is where a doctor commits an affirmative act that is negligent or below the applicable standard of care.
Think of a doctor that cuts a nerve during a routine surgery or who leaves an item inside someone during surgery.
Omissions – Sometimes, the medical error is not something the doctor did; it’s something he or she did not do. This can be a failure to recognize that you have certain symptoms, a failure to check for certain diseases, or a failure to prescribe a medicine or procedure.
Omissions often happen when doctors overlook signs and symptoms which, if caught, would have helped the patient recover. Omissions can often lead to an otherwise treatable condition, becoming much more serious—or deadly, such as the case when a doctor fails to recognize and treat a patient’s cancer.
Prescription errors – Doctors should know what medicines you are allergic to or what medicines may not be safe to take with other medications that you take.
Do You Have a Case?
As a lay person who may not have medical training, it may be hard for you to spot medical malpractice. Your malpractice attorney will hire an independent doctor to look over your medical records, review them, and render an opinion as to whether your treating doctors did something wrong.
Malpractice does have a shorter time period to sue than normal negligence—just two years—and malpractice cases take time to gather evidence and get expert opinions. That means you shouldn’t wait to see an attorney if you do think you have been a victim of medical malpractice.
The Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys at Rosen Injury Law can help in making the important decisions in your malpractice case. Contact us today with your questions.