With HMO’s and managed healthcare companies running the show, too often medical providers must treat more patients than they should to make a business profit. As a result, they end up giving patients less time and attention. In these instances, medical errors and negligence occur, which is referred to as “medical malpractice”.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, specialist, or a hospital causes severe or catastrophic injury to a patient because of a deviation from the accepted standard of care owed to a patient. A recent Johns Hopkins study suggests medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in America, resulting in more than 250,000 deaths each year. The actual number may be even higher because of the way hospitals report deaths.
A medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed by the injured patient or family member to protect the patient’s rights and to receive compensation for damages. Because of the trust society puts in medical professionals, they are held to a high standard of care. Miramar Malpractice Attorney André Crenshaw represents victims of Florida medical errors and negligence against insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors to make sure victims receive the justice they rightfully deserve.
In Florida, a medical malpractice claim has four main elements that must be proved:
- The medical provider owed a standard of care to the patient. The appropriate standard in Florida is “the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider”.
- The medical provider’s treatment fell below the prevailing professional standard of care.
- The patient suffered an injury because the medical provider’s treatment fell below the prevailing professional standard.
- The patient or their family suffered a loss because of the medical provider’s negligence. These losses may include medical expenses, lost wages, reduced ability to earn money, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and wrongful death, damages in the case of a death.
Each of these four elements must be proven to win a medical malpractice claim. If a patient can show negligence and injuries but cannot prove legal causation, the patient will not prevail on a medical negligence claim – even if there were substantial injuries or death. As a result, many times an unsatisfactory medical outcome will not result in a medical malpractice case under Florida law.
Here are some of the most common causes of medical malpractice:
- Misdiagnosis of infections, tumors, heart attacks and cancer
- Delay in diagnosis
- Failure to test or follow-up with testing, misreading test results, or ordering the wrong tests
- Failure to communicate between medical specialists
- Failure to treat or delay in treating
- Failure to monitor after treatment
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrong medication
Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated. Procedural issues like the statute of limitations (the time within which you must bring an action) and pre-suit requirements (things you must do before you are allowed to file a lawsuit) are initial hurdles that must be cleared before you can pursue an action. Substantive issues like the appropriate standard of care and causation involve complex concepts. From a practical standpoint, substantial time and costs, sometimes in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, are critical aspects of a medical malpractice case. These challenges require the assistance of an experienced and skilled Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney like the Crenshaw Law Firm.