Visiting the doctor, a medical specialist, a surgeon, or another healthcare professional only to walk away with more harm and complications than you started with can be unnerving. Unfortunately, such is the reality for hundreds of patients every year – in fact, medical errors are now a leading cause of injury and death throughout the United States. Our experienced lawyers have helped our clients navigate complex medical malpractice claims over the years. Here’s a basic overview of medical malpractice and common examples of medical malpractice–
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
The first thing that’s important to note is that simply making an error or an adverse patient outcome does not necessarily constitute malpractice. To be sure, malpractice only occurs when a healthcare professional breaches the medical standard of care.
What is the medical standard of care? The medical standard of care can be explained in the following way:
A healthcare professional is held to the same standard of care and skill a qualified practitioner of similar education, background, and training would exercise when treating the same patient. For example, a podiatrist would be held to the same standard as another podiatrist, an obstetrician to the same standard as another obstetrician. A podiatrist would not be compared to an obstetrician when considering whether malpractice had occurred.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?
There are numerous types of medical malpractice that can cause patient harm and that may warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit. These include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis. Doctors have a duty to take care in performing tests, analyzing a patient’s symptoms, reviewing lab work, referring a patient to a specialist and more in order to diagnose a patient’s condition correctly. When proper care is not demonstrated and the result is a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis, the patient may have a claim for malpractice.
- Surgical errors. There are several surgical errors that may constitute malpractice, including:
- Performing an unnecessary surgery;
- Operating on the wrong patient;
- Operating on the wrong body part;
- Leaving a surgical object within the patient;
- Failing to properly sanitize the site, leading to infection;
- Making an anesthesia error; and
- Treatment errors. Doctors have a duty to exercise care in treating their patients once a diagnosis is made. Giving the patient the wrong medication, failing to inform the patient about the risks of a particular treatment, failing to refer the patient to a specialist, and using treatments that are not approved by the medical community at large, are all examples of serious treatment errors that may constitute malpractice.
- Medication errors. Medication errors are a leading cause of medical malpractice. These errors might include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication;
- Dosage errors;
- Administration errors;
- Giving medication in conjunction with other medications the patient is currently taking, leading to adverse reactions;
- Confusing similar-sounding medications; and
- Failing to prescribe a necessary medication.
The above examples of medical malpractice are not inclusive. If you have been harmed by a doctor’s actions and think that you may have a malpractice claim, you should schedule a free consultation with our lawyers as soon as possible.
Steps to Bring Forth a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims can be complicated, and if you think that you have a medical malpractice claim, it’s important that you act quickly. Steps that you should take immediately include:
- Get a second opinion from another doctor in the same specialization;
- Write down everything you can about your interactions with your doctors, tests and procedures you underwent, and your injuries/harm;
- Keep track of your medical bills and health reports; and
- Call a lawyer.
There is not much that you can do to pursue a medical malpractice claim on your own without the experience of a lawyer. Your lawyers will know what documents you need, how to prove a breach of the medical standard of care, and how to file your claim and when. Remember that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in New York is 2.5 years from the date of malpractice, so you need to act now.
Call Our New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
Medical malpractice is more common than anyone wants to think. If you’re a victim of malpractice, our lawyers encourage you to take action now to protect yourself and your right to compensation – you may have a very strong case. To learn more about how our medical malpractice lawyers in New York can help you, please call us today or send us a message. We work on a contingency fee basis and never charge for initial consultations.