What Are Medical Errors?

Most people typically expect medical professionals who handle matters of life and death to provide accurate and careful results. Unfortunately, medical professionals are sometimes negligent, leaving their patients with additional medical issues. If you suffer injuries from medical errors, hiring a Port St. Lucie medical malpractice lawyer can help through the legal process of the situation.

Contrary to what you may think, physicians are not the only medical professionals prone to medical errors. Pharmacists, nurses, surgeons, and other medical practitioners can commit or omit actions that can cause harm or death.

This article covers what medical errors are and the type of damages you can seek to recover from. Furthermore, the different types of mistakes are detailed so that you know what you need to prove the doctor’s negligence.

If you or a loved one are a victim of medical error in Port St. Lucie, Florida, our team at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help you seek fair compensation (by appointment only). Contact us today. 

Understanding What Medical Errors and Medical Malpractices Mean

According to a study by John Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in the US. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what medical error and malpractice mean.

Medical malpractice is any action or inaction by a physician or any other medical professional that deviates from the accepted standards of care and results in an injury to the patient. A significant element in medical malpractice lawsuits is negligence. 

For example, if an injury occurs, the physician or medical practitioner may be held liable if they fail to sterilize equipment, skip steps in a process, or inadequately notify patients of the dangers of a procedure or aftercare instructions. 

On the other hand, medical errors are the mistakes medical professionals make while delivering care to their patients. This type of medical error does not qualify as medical malpractice. However, medical mistakes can lead to malpractice lawsuits, and both terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

What Are the Types of Medical Errors?

Medical errors can be placed under two broad categories: medical errors of commission and medical mistakes of omission. Medical errors of omission occur when a medical practitioner fails to carry out an action that could have saved the patient from injury, pain, or death.

On the other hand, medical errors of commission relate to situations in which a medical practitioner carries out an action causing injury to a patient in a way that’s different from the standard medical convention. All cases of medical errors fall under either of these two categories. 

The following are common mistakes that lead to most medical malpractice cases. 

Failure to Properly Diagnose 

Failure to diagnose simply means a doctor’s inability to identify what is causing medical issues to a patient. A patient may have a strong case for medical malpractice if a competent practitioner could have diagnosed their condition or made an alternative diagnosis. 

Failure to Communicate Known Risks to Patients

The responsibility of informed consent requires doctors to advise patients of known hazards associated with a procedure or course of treatment. For example, suppose a patient has chosen not to undergo an operation after being adequately informed of any risk. In that case, the doctor may be accountable for medical malpractice if the person is injured.

Improper Treatment 

A patient may have a medical malpractice claim if a doctor treats them like no other qualified practitioner would. At the same time, if a doctor chooses the right course of therapy but delivers it ineffectively, that could also constitute malpractice.

Other medical errors that victims can file a medical malpractice claim for are: 

  • Medication errors 
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Anesthesia error
  • Failure to act fast on test results 
  • Inadequate monitoring after a procedure

What Do I Need to Prove My Medical Malpractice Claim?

The following is a list of the basic requirements a victim needs to prove to make a medical malpractice claim successfully: 

The Existence of a Doctor-Patient Relationship 

The first thing you need to do is to prove that the doctor you are suing was, in fact, your physician, and they treated you. For example, you can’t sue a doctor whose medical advice you overheard in public. The need to prove whether there was a doctor-patient relationship often arises when the doctor did not treat you directly. 

The Physician or Medical Practitioner Was Negligent 

You do not automatically have the right to be compensated just because you are not satisfied with the treatment you receive from your physician. You must be able to prove the negligence of the physician or the medical practitioner. 

To prove medical malpractice, you must demonstrate that the injury the doctor caused you was different from what a qualified doctor would have done in an identical situation. The doctor’s treatment needs to be “reasonably skilled and attentive.” 

A medical error claim frequently concerns whether the treating physician exercised reasonable competence and care. You would likely have to bring in a medical expert to explain the proper level of care and demonstrate how the defendant departed from it.

The Doctor’s Negligence Caused Your Injury 

There is frequently a debate over whether the doctor’s actions — regardless of whether they were negligent — caused the injury. This is because many malpractice claims include patients who were already ill or injured. 

For instance, it might be challenging to demonstrate that a doctor’s negligence, rather than the illness, was the cause of a patient’s death after treatment for lung cancer. The victim must prove that it is “more likely than not” that the harm was brought on them by the doctor’s negligence. The patient may also have an expert medical professional testify that the doctor’s negligence led to the damage. 

The Injury Caused Specific Damages 

Even when it is established that the physician or medical practitioner was negligent and failed to act according to medical standards, the patient cannot sue for compensation if they do not suffer any injury. This is because you must have suffered damages to need compensation.

Generally, medical error victims can seek economic and non-economic damages. Examples of the two are:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Medical bills 
  • Mental distress
  • Loss of job and earning capacity
  • Cost of physical therapy and rehabilitative care
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Sometimes, punitive damages may be awarded by the court. Punitive damages punish defendants if they are grossly negligent or behave maliciously. It also serves to deter the defendant and others from similar conduct in the future. Florida caps punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000. 

Our Port St. Lucie Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You Seek the Compensation You Deserve

If you or a loved one suffer injuries from a medical error, you can seek compensation from the at-fault medical professional. Firstly, we recommend the services of a skilled Port St. Lucie malpractice lawyer to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation.

At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers,  we offer compassionate and assertive representation to all our clients and work on a contingency fee basis. Contact an experienced Port St. Lucie Medical malpractice lawyer at (561) 800-8000  to start the process (by appointment only). We offer free initial consultations. 

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