When a hospital, doctor, or other medical professional fails to meet the standard of practice established within their field, they can be held liable for any resulting patient injuries or illness in a medical malpractice case. In the United States, medical professionals are held to a high level of accountability for their actions: and rightfully so. Patients count on these medical experts not only to treat medical problems but also to prevent patient injury whenever possible.
Medical malpractice is defined as a medical professional’s failure to act with the level of skill, care, and prudence a reasonable professional would exercise in a similar situation. In many cases, medical malpractice is caused by negligence, or failure to do something, rather than willful action. However, the latter is also considered medical malpractice. Rates of medical malpractice seem to be the highest in the fields of obstetrics-gynecology, emergency care, and other specialties, though medical malpractice can occur in any area of medicine.
The political majority in our country argues that medical malpractice lawsuits are largely frivolous and filed to gain profit at the expense of hard-working medical professionals. Substantial research from prominent sources has shown, however, that this argument is false. Thousands of innocent consumers are seriously harmed at the hands of negligent or careless medical professionals every year. One groundbreaking Harvard study confirmed that the incidence of medical malpractice is far greater than the number of claims filed by injured patients.
A few years ago, Harvard researchers found that medical malpractice resulted in 98,000 serious patient injuries and over 13,500 deaths in one year. This study also found that health care quality is in a state of crisis in many areas across the nation, the rate of negligence is shocking, minority patients and those over the age of 65 are most likely to receive sub-standard care, and that most family members do not know when a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice. This study discovered that only one in eight people who suffer a significant medical injury file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice can include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, prescription errors, surgical mistakes, failure to follow procedural protocol, and much more. Nursing home abuse is another major area of medical malpractice, which can involve neglect or physical, mental, psychological, or financial abuse. Birth injuries are often linked to medical malpractice under a number of circumstances.
If you or a loved one has suffered illness, injury, or death at the hands of a medical professional, you may wish to learn more about your legal rights and options in a case. Our qualified team of medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case at no cost to determine the best way to protect your legal interests. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, loss of income or earning potential, disability, pain and suffering, and much more.