While it’s difficult to determine an exact number, it is roughly estimated that 200,000 patients in the US are killed due to medical malpractice. This number does not include patients who experience worsened symptoms, additional injuries, and a lower quality of lie because of the mistakes made by medical professionals.
Why is it so difficult to determine an exact number? Medical malpractice cases are extremely complicated. Plus, medical professionals tend to have a large safety net in place to protect them from liability.
If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you will want to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
First, let’s take a look at the components of medical malpractice cases. Read on to determine whether or not what you are suffering from is the result of malpractice or negligence.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice
There are several manifestations of medical malpractice in the United States. New cases are presented to the court every day. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of medical malpractice to give you an idea of what these cases can look like.
Surgical errors include things like operating on the wrong body site and performing the wrong surgery. In some cases, surgical errors can involve failing to operate properly. This entails that the surgeon did operate on the correct body site but did not go about it in the correct way.
In rare cases, surgeons may operate on the wrong patient. One surgical error that occurs more often than you may expect is leaving equipment inside the site of surgery, which can cause infections, blockages, and other health issues.
Incorrect diagnoses happen for a number of reasons. In some cases, a doctor may fail to take into account your full medical history. In others, they may not rule out enough possibilities before coming to a conclusion.
Incorrect diagnoses can also occur due to a failure of medical equipment or a failure to read lab results correctly.
Prescription errors often go hand in hand with misdiagnoses. In other words, if a doctor fails to diagnose you properly, they may prescribe a medication you do not need. Many prescription medications come with a slew of side effects that you should not have to endure if the medication is not helping another condition you already had.
In order for an infection to qualify as medical malpractice, it must have developed during or because of your experience inside a medical facility. This could stem from unnecessary exposure to ill or infected patients inside the medical facility. It could also stem from the treatment you received.
These infections often include UTIs, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and gastrointestinal infections.
Injuries During Childbirth
There are a number of ways that injuries during childbirth qualify as medical malpractice. These cases may involve conception that occurred after sterilization or other medically informed precautionary measures. They may also involve wrongful birth, which refers to a physician’s failure to inform the mother of any risks she is likely to encounter due to childbirth.
These injuries may affect the mother, the child, or both.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence?
Experiencing any of the above causes does not automatically mean that you have a medical malpractice case. In order to qualify as medical malpractice, your experience must fit the parameters of South Carolina’s medical malpractice Code of Laws.
In a broad sense, South Carolina defines medical malpractice as the failure of a medical professional to provide reasonably prudent health care. Let’s take a closer look at what that entails.
Duty of Care was Owed
Duty of care is the easiest thing to establish in a medical malpractice case. Duty of care entails that a medical provider was obligated to provide you with the best possible care and treatment. Medical professionals have all taken the Hippocratic oath, which states that they will do exactly that.
In other words, once you’ve made an appointment with a medical professional and they’ve agreed to diagnose or treat you, duty of care is owed.
Action or Inaction Violated Duty of Care
This is where negligence comes into play. You must prove that a medical professional was negligent in either their action or failure to act when diagnosing or treating you.
Establishing negligence is often the hardest part of any medical malpractice case. It requires an expert witness to go on the record saying that any other comparable medical professional could have reasonably provided better or more accurate care.
Action or Inaction Caused Harm
Finally, your case must involve substantial injury or harm. A medical malpractice claim is not valid if a medical professional’s negligence did not cause or worsen a harmful condition. In turn, a medical malpractice claim does not exist if the harm you experienced was not due to a medical professional’s negligence.
The purpose of a medical malpractice claim is to bring financial relief to the plaintiff. Compensation is designed to cover medical bills, lost income, and any other damages that are directly tied to medical malpractice.
Elrod Pope Is Here to Help
Medical malpractice cases are complicated, as you can see. If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is not advisable to seek compensation on your own.
Instead, work with a law firm that is experienced in medical malpractice cases. Elrod Pope is here to fight for the citizens of Lancaster, South Carolina. We are familiar with all of the technical jargon, legal parameters, and defendant tactics that come into play in medical malpractice cases. We’re ready to fight for you.
To get started, contact us for your free consultation. We’ll give you our expert opinion before you sign any contracts.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.