Medical malpractice occurs when the healthcare provider's medical negligence causes undue injury to their patient. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, either from hospital malpractice or a doctor mistake, is complex and it is important that you engage experienced Medical Malpractice lawyers to determine whether your medical malpractice claim is valid.
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Medical Malpractice vs Medical Negligence
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor, dentist, nurse, surgeon or any other medical professional performs their job in a way that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care. Negligence becomes medical malpractice, and the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit, when it results in undue injury to a patient. On the other hand, medical negligence does not always result in injury to the patient. Doctors must take the Hippocratic Oath, which is a promise that they will treat their patients to the best of their ability, and to the accepted medical standard of care, so as to do no harm to their patients. If this oath is broken, a medical professional is negligent.
Most negligence incidents that usually result in injury and a medical malpractice claim are the following:
Failure to Diagnose in Time
Failure to Follow Up With Treatment
Failure to Treat in a Timely Manner
Medication or Prescription Error
Establishing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Injury and Causation are the two legal concepts required for a medical malpractice claim. First, an injury must be established by an expert medical witness (usually someone who works in a similar capacity to the health professional allegedly negligent). Second, causation must next be established, which is the relationship between the negligent medical treatment and the injury to the patient. Again, an expert medical witness must determine that the negligent medical treatment directly caused an injury to the patient. As well, it must be established that, if the negligence had not taken place, the injury would have been avoided.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can analyze medical records and all tests and studies such as MRI, CAT Scan, pathology studies, etc. necessary to determine your medical malpractice claim.
The amount of compensation you may receive by a medical malpractice lawsuit is directly related to the extent of the injury, or damages. The latter typically includes all the medical costs associated with your injury, any lost income due to an inability to work, future lost earnings caused by a medical injury or disability, as well as damages such as pain and suffering.
Medical Malpractice Law by State
Medical malpractice laws vary by state. For example, in February 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the state's five-year-old medical malpractice law because it limited compensation to injured patients for pain, suffering and other non-economic harms. The law established caps of $500,000 for non-economic damages in verdicts against doctors and $1 million in cases against hospitals.
According to the American Medical Association, 30 states have laws that limit non-economic damages, although the caps and circumstances for imposing them vary widely. Courts in 16 states have upheld the laws, while those in 11 states have overturned them.
State laws also vary regarding how patient negligence—known as comparative negligence-- is applied to compensation for a medical injury. The concept of comparative negligence, as it's known in tort law, is that if you are 50 percent responsible for your injury, you may only recover 50 percent of the associated damages in an injury claim. The defendant in a medical negligence claim will generally try to use contributory negligence as a defense. However, medical negligence fault is almost always caused by the doctor or medical professional, and cases of contributory negligence are rare.
A health professional is not personally liable for a medical malpractice claim due to mistakes, inadvertence, or medical negligence. But knowingly signing a false or misleading certification or signing with any disregard for the truth can lead to criminal prosecution, and/or civil and administrative penalties.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
A study conducted in 1990 by the Harvard School of Medicine estimated that some three percent of patients treated in New York State Hospitals suffered as a result of some kind of medical mistake which resulted in a serous injury.
In 1999, a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that as many as 98,000 patients may be killed each year in hospitals alone as a result of medical errors. In the same year, state medical boards reported fewer than one-half of 1 percent of the nation's doctors face any serious state sanctions, totaling 2,696 serious disciplinary actions a year.
Public Citizen, the non-profit consumer advocacy organization, estimates that each year 1.3 million injuries are caused by professional negligence, and that more than two thirds of such injuries are preventable.
In a 1999 report, The New England Journal of Medicine found that more than a third of the doctors they surveyed said they or their family members had experienced medical errors, most leading to serious health consequences.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys
A number of medical malpractice attorneys handle specific medical malpractice claims such as misdiagnosis of cancer, anesthesia or surgical error, medication or prescription error. Some attorneys only handle medical negligence. All medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and many are technical; it is imperative that you seek an appropriate lawyer for your case.
Medical Malpractice Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered damages due to malpractice, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
The New England Journal of Medicine has analyzed some appalling data that 1% of physicians account for approximately 32% of paid medical malpractice claims. The data - which was pulled from the National Practitioner Data Bank - shows that over a recent 10-year period, a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large number of paid malpractice claims [READ MORE]
Houston, TX Veteran Texas lawyer Kay Van Wey grits her teeth when she hears lawyers being accused of bringing “frivolous” medical malpractice suits. Van Wey has been practicing law for 30 years and most of her work has focused on patient safety. She represents people injured by medical errors, pharmaceuticals or medical devices [READ MORE]
Moorestown, New Jersey (March 31, 2015) (Press Release) On March 26, 2015, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued its opinion in Beverly H. Scheer, as Administrator and Personal Representative of R. Scott Scheer v. James F. Burke, M.D., et al. The case centers around the tragic death of R. Scott Scheer, who allegedly died as a direct result of his participation in a clinical trial at Lankenau Hospital involving the extended use of the cholesterol medication hydralazine, which was alleged to be “an out-of-favor medication that causes lupus and injures cardiac, kidney, and lung tissues,” especially when used for an extended time [READ MORE]
CROSS CONTAMINATION OF CAUSTIC ACID ETCHANT USED DURING A ROUTINE BONDING APPOINTMENT. LONG STORY SHORT THE ASST WAS VERY UNFAMILIAR WITH SUCTION AND RINSE/DRY TECHNIQUES AND WHERE TO PLACE THEM PROPERLY. DENTIST DID NOT ISOLATE FIELD/USED INADEQUATE DELIVERY OF CAUSTIC MATERIAL BY USING A LARGE FLOPPY BRUSH TIP APPLICATOR AND A DAPPON DISH FULL OF DENTAL ACID ETCH AKA PHOSPHORIC ACID. THE METHOD FOR CAREFUL AND MINIMAL APPLICATION DELIVERY OF THE ACID IS A METAL HUB IRRIGATION SYRINGE. COPIUS AMTS APPLIED. ASST COULDNT RINSE OR SUCTION AND I FELT A HUGE GLOB OF SOMETHING DROP ON MY TONGUE, RAISED THE HAND MIRROR TO SEE THE ENTIRE LINGUAL AND PALATE SWABS WITH HORRIFIC AMTS OF BLUE COLORED ACID! THEN HE ASKED HER TO RINSE, WHICH IS A SENSITIVE AND DELIBERATE ACT, BLOW AWAY FROM PATIENT ALL AIR OUT OF LINE, THE SLOWLY 100 PERCENT H2O SLOWLY AWAY FROM GUMS AND LIVING TISSUE CATCHING EVERYDROP WITH THE SUCTION. IF THE ETCH CONTACTS GUM OR BONE IT WILL BURN AND KILL THE TISSUES. SO, DR JIM HALES OF GP OR GRABBED AIR/WATER SYRING OUT OF HER HAND AND QUICK SPAYED THE PALATE AND FACIAL TOWARD GUMLINE AND BACK OF THROAT, THE 100% AIR AT FULL VELOCITY UNDER MY GUMS INTO A COUPLE STABLE POCKETS AND HELD ME DOWN SAYING IM ALMOST DONE. HE TOLD ASST TO HIT THE CURING LIGHT AS HE QUICKLY PAINTED THE BOND OVER THE TEETH. THEN HE PREPPED AND REETCHED FINAL FILLING BUT WENT INTO THE NERVE CHAMBER THEN HE ETCHED(CONTAMINATE WAS INTRODUCED INTO THE ROOT AND OUT THE APEX FORAMEN INTO THE BONE! THEN HE TRIED TO APPLY DYCAL CALCIUM HYDROXIDE BUT WAS ANGRY WHEN IT WOULDNT STICK DUE TO INSIDE OF TOOTH HEMMORHAGING. HE SAID SCREW IT AND PACKED COMPOSITE MATERIAL INTO THE TOOTH SITTING ON THE CHAMBER AND I GOT LOOSE AAND RAN OUT OF THE OFFICE. iT FELT LIKE SOMETHING WAS STUCK BETWEEN EVERY TOOTH. I HAD TO HAVE ROOT CANAL THERAPY ON THE TOOTH OCT 10 2013, GOOD PROGNOSIS, HE ASSAULTED ONLY TO HAVE THE TEETH AND A LARGE INVESTMENT FALL OUT OF ZERO MOBILITY TEETH JUST 3MOS PRIOR. AUG 27 2012 WAS INITIAL ASSAULT THEN HE SAW ME. AUG 31 EMERGENCY DENTAL FOR SWOLLEN FACE ACUTE PAIN. AGAIN 2 DAYS LATER FOR DRAINAGE TUBE. FOR PERM FILL JAN 29 2013 I WAS URGED TO GO TO HAVE HIM DO THE FINAL RESTORATION ON RCT 10. I RELUCTANLY PRESENTED. THE FINAL INSULT IS WHAT I WALKED INTO. HE CARELESSLY HOGGED OUT LEANING ON THE TOOTH, THE RCT GUTTA PERCHA ENTIRELY-LEAVING THE APEX OF THE TOOTH WIDE OPEN. THEN HE ETCHED AND RINSED BARELY ANDAIR DRIED INTO CANAL BLOWING THE RESIDUAL TOXIN OUT THE TIP OF THE ROOT CANAL THAT HE OBLITERATED, THE CRAMMED THE TOOTH HEAVY HANDEDLY CHANTING LOUDLY "YOU JUST WANT FREE DENTISTRY. ..AS HE ANGRILY DESTROYED MY DENTITION AND EVEN SADDER THE BONE AS IT WOULD BECOME ERRILY APPARENT 6 DAYS LATER. I AWOKE AND MY GUMS WHERE FLOPPING DETTACHED FROM THE BONE AND CONNECTIVE TISSUES- THE ETCHANT HAD BEEN DESTROYING SINCE THE INITIAL VISIT AND THE FINAL FILL OVER RCT TOOTH. FEB 4 I CAME TO HIM CRYING-HE TOOK MY UPPER ARM AND FORCED ME OUT THE DOOR SAYING RINSE WITH SALT WATER ! I WAS THERE AGAIN THE NEXT MORNING AND THEY QUICKY SEATED ME AND I WAITED 1/ 1/2 HRS. HE CAME IN DRILLED CONTACTS OF TEETH, APPLIED MORE ETCH BOND AND COMPOSITE TO SMOOTH THINGS. THEN SAID GOOD LUCK. IF YOU PROVE I HAD A HAND IN WHATS HAPPENING TO YOUR TEETH I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP FIX(TAUNTINGLY W/ AN EVIL SMIRK ARGHHH! FEB 8TH MY TEETH WERE FALLING OUT AND BREAKING AT GUMLINE! STURDY TEETH TWO DDS HAD SAID WERE STABLE AND WORTH THE INVESTMENT 8-12 YRS OR MORE OF LIFE PROGNOSIS. OMG. ITS BEEN 2+ YRS OF HIDING AWAY CRYING ASHAMED PAINRIDDEN ALONE IN MY ROOM BEIN CREMATED ALIVE...AND NOBODY WILL TOUCH ME WHEN THE TX IS SPELLED OUT. SIMPLY REMOVE ALL NECROTIC TISSUES. THEN AND ONLY THE WILL THE DEVASTATING MACABE DISORDER BE ARRESTED BUT I WILL FINALLY GET RELIEF FROM THE INVISIBLE PAIN AND OSTEONECROSIS ! PLEASE GOD FIND SOMEONE WHO ISNT TO PROUD TO ADMIT THIS IS POSSIBLE AND IN FACT HAS HAPPENED TO MY JAWBONE DUE TO THE MISHANDLING AND NON REGARD FOR THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF HIS PAYING PATIENT. HE HAS DONE ALOT OF DAMAGE TO THE UNSUSPECTING GOOD CITIZENS OF MY HOME TOWN THAT I HAVE SERVED FOR 30 YRS AS A DENTAL ASSIT SURGICAL ASST MYSELF. PLEASE DONT JUST FORGET MY PLEAS. REFER TO ANYONE YOU MAY THINK CAN HELP IN THIS INHUMANE SITUATION IVE BEEN CONDEMNED TO LIVING THRU AS OTHERS CAN NEVER SYMPATHIZE OR IMAGINE HOW TERRIFYING AND ISOLATING THIS HAS BEEN TO ME. ITS TAKEN MY LIFE AWAY AND LEFT ME ALONE AND ABANDONED.
Posted by California
Harsh and disrespectful treatment during an ER visit, which spanned 15+ hours. I was even denied the right to call my emergency contact.
Posted by Virginia
The surgeon removed three parathyroids and then discovered I did not have a fourth one. I am now hypoparathyroid. Not fun and will lose my kidneys in 15 years. I have no energy. Cannot run anymore.
Posted by California
I had a c section with my son 10/25/1993. I also had a tubal ligation at that time as well. It is now 20 yrs later and to my surprise I recently had an tubal pregnancy at the age of 49! I was told that apparently the Doctor who performed the tubal ligation had only fixed (cut & burned) my right side of my ovaries, totally neglecting to finish the procedure to the left ovary as well. Not only physically did I suffer, I also suffered (and still do) mentally and emotionally, not to mention financially for the five days of lost wages.
Posted by Indiana
Bowel leaked into my body for 4 days after the surgery causing me to gain over 20 pounds within 24hrs. After the 4th day my fiancee told the nurse that I could not breathe and I was rushed to radiology to have a CT-scan. I had to undergo an intensive surgery to have my small bowel intestine repaired. After I was released from the hospital I had to have a Home Health Nurse because I had an open wound from the infection caused by the leakage and had to wear a drainage bag for over 3 weeks. I have over $100,000 worth of hospital bills that I cannot pay. Help!
Posted by South Carolina
I cut right big toe on 8/27/09. I am 75 year old Plavix patient and couldn't stop bleeding. ER doctor and his PA could not stop bleeding and ordered a student nurse working in ER to wrap toe and discharge me without XRay or antibiotics. Bleeding slowed but did not stop. Aug. 28 went to Primary care. Put on Keflex and bleeding was stopped. XRay showed fracture. Sept 4, infection had turned into cellulitis and was put on Levaquin. I believe had the ER prescribed an antibiotic at time of visit cellulitis would not have set in.
Posted by New York
It is 8 months after I have given birth and I am experiencing severe side effects from my 2nd c-section. I have had my menstrual only 2x and at those 2x I have experience extreme bleeding for over 9days. Clots of blood and fainting, dizziness, nausea to name a few. My stomach is still swollen with a large sack of skin over lapping my scar. My uterus seems to be swollen 3x normal size.I am still experiencing numbness (loss of feeling to the right side of the vagina).
Posted by South Carolina
I suffered 4 bulging disc and lost half my business after being rear-ended. As a result I had neck pain, back pain, and headaches for 4 years. My attorney was relieved as council, and since my case was not filed properly I could not find another attorney to take my case. I had to settle for $10,000 when my income losses were approx $15,000 for 4 years. The attorney prevented me from receiving proper legal process by failing to file the case properly.
Posted by New York
My father died a little over one year ago, 6 days after undergoing a hip replacement. Within hours after the surgery the family realized something was very wrong. His condition deteriated over the next few days. Everyone including nurses and doctors pushed away our fears with "this is all normal". My father was in good health and worked as a lawyer before the surgery. Family members visited every day and no one listened to our pleas....
Posted by Illinois
I am in total pain. The dentist was suppose to extract my tooth but instead pulled one half side of my tooth out and left another side of my tooth still in my mouth. Im sure I have infections and the pain is undescribable.
Posted by Anonymous
Sometime of June 4,2008, I was admitted at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) Leyte, Philippines due to labor pains (pregnancy) and eventually delivered a twin baby girls in normal delivery. I had no bleeding,no rise in blood pressure and no bad manifestation.
After 2 days I was scheduled for Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL) I go forth with the procedure thinking that it was safe. at the ligation room I was asked by my attending physician if I have cough, I said yes. however they did not tried to listen to my chest w/ the use of stethescope and proceeded w/ the procedure, while the procedure was going on, I was complaining to them that i was in pain, I told them "doc I think the anesthesia is not taking effect yet because I can still feel the pain" but they just told me it is already working, but then again the pain is still there so i kept on complaining to them that i'm really in pain.
Then they told me that they will inject anoter anesthesia that will make me only drowsy but not put me to sleep. i did not know what happened next.i just woke up and heared them say ligation is finished.shortly thereafter i already had difficulty of breathing. i complain to them but they just told me that its just because of the anesthesia, (DEMEROL) they did not do anything abuot it.i was really in need of air because i could no longer breath and i already shouted "let me out of this room i will die here".
then eventually everything was dark and after that i did not know what happened next.It took about 3 days for me to regain full conciousness only then when i came to realized that I was already confined at the ICU w/ assisted breathing attached to the ventalator,sad to say that I am a victim of medical malpractice and negligence by my attending physicians at EVRMC.
Posted by Anonymous
I had been diagnosed with a neck/back injury by my primary care physician a few years ago. Said physician sent me to a neurologist who hooked me up to a device that sent electrical impulses up my arm causing uncontrollable spasms to occur in certain nerves and muscles.
After the test, the neurologist handed me a paper and told me to take it to the neurosurgeon she recommended, referred me to.The paper the neurologist handed me said, "MRI recommended" as well as the results from the tests.
Upon signing in at the neurology clinic in our local low-income hospital, I filled out all the necessary papers. When handing back the papers, I also handed the lady at the window the paper from the neurologist. I assumed this was the beginning of my file at the neurosurgeon's office.
I had appointments with the neurosurgeon at least once a month, where he sent me for a CAT Scan, and X-rays at different times, as well as poking my arm with needles and such. My appointments for seeing the neurosurgeon went on for one full year before he finally scheduled disk excision surgery for me.
The morning of the surgery, I was in hospital clothing and prepped for surgery, I was then wheeled into the operating room, placed on the operating table and lay there waiting. I had not yet been given any anesthetic when the neurosurgeon walked in and placed my file on my legs. I watched him open the file and look it over.
I was surprised and taken aback when I heard the neurosurgeon say, "I CAN'T DO THIS, SHE HASN'T HAD HER MRI!" My immediate thought was, "IS THIS THE FIRST TIME HE HAS LOOKED AT MY FILE?"
Posted by Anonymous
My husband has smoked for over 50 years,first cigarettes and then cigars.He has smoked about 20 cigars a day for the past 20 years.He has to go to a clinic because of insurance and money issues.The Dr you are assigned at the clinic becomes the Dr you see evey time,until the Dr retires.He has had the same Dr for 15 years.He had a checkup every 3 months,and took 15 pills a day.His blood pressure was never lower than 140 over 100.
Never once has this Dr ever told him to quit smoking,saying his heart and lungs are clear,despite my claims of him choking and wheezing every day.I was also troubled by him falling a lot and getting dizzy.
In Sept. of last year,my husband had a stroke,lost sight of his right eye,and was found to have a clogged mitral valve.Just how long was he going to go before all this was diagnosed is a puzzle to me,and a disgrace to the medical practice.
Posted by Anonymous
In 2003 I noticed blood in my stools. I went to the Ladysmith Medical Practice to see my doctor and told him about it. He had me do an in home stool collection and bring it back. A few weeks later the office called and said there was nothing wrong.
I went on and a few months later went back for the same reason, again he ordered the same test and had me come in for a follow up. The doctor told me nothing was wrong and that I was depressed and ordered antidepressants. I stayed sick for the next 2 years but he kept telling me I had the flu, allergies and so on.
I moved and changed doctors in 2005, my new doctor was Dr. Itskovich. I told her the story. She dis nothing at the time. In August 2005 my husband took me to Henricos Doctors Parham emergency department. They told me I had an intestinal parasite without running any test or examining me.
I was sent home with antibiotics and pain meds. I went to my doctor and told her the next Monday. She prescribed meds for irritable bowel. By Friday I could not walk I was in such pain so back to the ER I went. They then said I had a uterine infection again without an exam or tests.
That Monday I went to my GYN who promptly order an ultrasound that day. Before I got home they had called and said I needed a CT scan right away so I went the next day and was told to see a gastro. I called my primary Dr. Itskovich for a referral, she told me she would fax it over.
I went to my appointment with the gastro and found out the never got the fax, they called and we called Dr. Itskovich and got no answer so my husband drove to her office to find the door locked but we could here them inside talking, we knocked and they would not answer.
I called the insurance company and talked to them and they got me an appointment with a gastro and waived the referral. I went to the gastro and was told I had diverticulitis. They put me on meds but had a standing order at the hospital if I got worse I was to be admitted for testing. Well that Friday I was again taken to a different hospital and admitted.
Two days later after many tests I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had had this all along. This was in November 2005, I had surgery on Dec. 1, 2005 and had 12 inches of my colon removed. I was not told I could file a lawsuit until the statue of limitations had ran out. I also had to have a total hysterectomy in March 2006 as the cancer had spread, I was 38 years old then and just married.
Posted by Texas
I lost my husband & my children have lost there dad. Plus I have lost everything thank god I still have my children. My husband had ewing sarcoma back in 84 but was in remission was on a lot of medications he lifed with chronic pain. It is a long story - 20 back surgeries, 3 hip, and 1 leg surgery, but the cancer had not come back he did get a staff infection. He could of died on me but he was on morphine vicadine or hydrocorden diazapam & several others. I told the va primary docter over & over my husband over takes the medicine. He would tell me my husband is in a lot of pain. I would explain that he has my husband like a zombie over & over through the years he would ignore me and talk with my husband.
Posted by California
I have Hemochromatosis, have to have phlebtomomies to get the iron out of my blood and body to live a normal life. Started having problems with collasped veins, decided to have a chest port put in to make the phlebs go smoother. On March 8, 07
@ French Hospital Medical Out Pt Center I had a ghosong cath put in place in OR. According to the surgeon that preformed the cath placement, he said infection was very uncommon. I had green/yellow discharge coming out of the port for
several weeks, and a milky white fluid. He stated nothing was wrong.
March 25,07 woke up temp was 104
taken to emergency room. Port was infected with staph. Had surgery to remove it at once. Now it's a catch and miss if they CAN get the blood out of my failing veins. Suffered emotional distress, and not sure if I will be able to live a normal life now,
since I still have problems w/ getting phlebs as my veins collapse.
Posted by Texas
Went to Denton Regional Hospital over Labor Day weekend in 2005. Was in severe pain and they treated me with pain medication and took an MRI and told me I had a mass in my colon and needed to follow up with my doctor and then sent me home. This happened two days in a row. Finally on Tuesday after that weekend, I ended up in Decatur Texas Hospital having emergency surgery to take out a mass in my colon. I ended up in ICU for 4 days and I am now on disability because of it. The hospital didn't want to take care of me because I believe that since I had no insurance they didn't want to mess with me.