Medical malpractice is a specialized type of personal injury claim that is usually based on some type of negligence at the hands of a health care professional. These types of claims can include surgical errors as well as general medical treatment issues. As any personal injury lawyer in Joplin can tell you, medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove because most procedures have at least some risk, and those risks may be expected. In fact, your physician should explain all of the risks to you. However, when an issue is solely the result of a health care provider not doing what is expected of them, there may be a legal claim. Here are some of the common types of medical malpractice claims.
General medical malpractice law in Joplin
Every medical malpractice claim requires proof of certain facts in order for the victim to be entitled to compensation. Because some complications are expected with most procedures, you must be able to show that the injury you suffered was the result of malpractice. You must first prove that the health care provider owed you a duty to follow a certain “standard of care.” The standard that applies to your claim depends on different factors and can be established through the testimony of another comparable health care professional. You must then show that the health care provider breached that duty by falling below the applicable “standard of care.” Additionally, you must prove that the provider’s breach actually caused your injury. The final necessary element of your claim is that you were actually injured, which is referred to as damages.
Malpractice claims based on anesthesia errors
When you undergo a surgical procedure that requires you to be either numbed or put to sleep, you will be administered anesthesia. In cases where anesthesia is administered improperly, there can be serious consequences. For example, if you receive too little anesthesia you may either feel pain during the surgical procedure or wake up too soon. More serious cases involving anesthesia could result in paralysis. Excessive anesthesia could lead to permanent medical issues and even death.
Malpractice claims based on diagnostic errors
Diagnostic errors typically fall into two categories: failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis. Both of these types of claims can result in severe injury. When a medical condition goes undiagnosed, especially for an extended period of time, the consequences can be severe, including death, due to the lack of necessary treatment. On the other hand, misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor affirmatively gives you the incorrect diagnosis. As result, the existing medical condition goes untreated. To complicate matters, you could also suffer additional injury caused by the unnecessary medical treatments or procedures for a condition you don’t have.
How gross negligence is different from general negligence
A claim for gross negligence may be more appropriate in cases where the breach of the standard of care is so obvious that even a layperson would recognize it as being improper. In those cases, expert testimony as to the standard of care is often not necessary. For example, if a surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body or performs the wrong procedure when there was no confusion as to the diagnosis, the error is so obvious that proving the standard of care is not necessary. Although these types of claims are rare, if you have been a victim, contact a personal injury lawyer in Joplin to discuss your situation.
Lack of informed consent
When a patient undergoes surgical or medical procedures, the health care provider is usually required to obtain your “informed consent,” except in certain emergency situations. This requires an understanding of what the procedure or treatment involves. Failure to obtain a statement from the patient that they agree to allow the provider to perform a procedure or treatment can be a very serious grounds for a lawsuit. In many cases, this type of claim can be brought as an intentional tort. It is important to remember that, even if the procedure or treatment is successful, you might be entitled to recover.
Objects left inside after surgery
Unfortunately, this is a rather common type of malpractice claim. It is not that rare for a surgeon or their surgical staff to lose track of tools and materials during a lengthy surgery. As a result, they may unintentionally leave items like surgical sponges, gauze, or even metal tools inside of a patient when closing them up after surgery. These mistakes are often not discovered until sometime later. As a personal injury lawyer in Joplin knows, these types of medical malpractice cases are usually allowed more time to file. This is referred to as Missouri’s “discovery rules.”
If you have questions regarding any type of personal injury claims in Missouri or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.