What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a medical provider acts below the "standard of care" in their care and treatment of a patient. Sometimes this is by doing something a reasonable doctor/chiropractor/nurse/etc wouldn't do in the same situation. Sometimes it's the opposite - NOT doing what a reasonable doctor/chiropractor/nurse/etc would do in the same situation.
One big key to this - it has to cause injury or death. We get calls for things like an ER who missed someone's broken ribs, but a second ER discovered them - but nothing changed. If a doctor's mistake doesn't significantly change the outcome, there isn't anything we can do to help.
What are diagnosis errors? Are they malpractice?
Our firm chooses to be very selective with the medical malpractice cases we take. We do that so we can provide the best service we can and provide each case with the attention it deserves.
One of the more common med mal cases we accept are diagnosis errors. Most doctors do a great job of diagnosing and treating difficult illnesses. The way most do this is by coming up with a "differential diagnosis" where they come up with several possible diagnoses, and then do testing to rule out the most serious causes and find the right one. Unfortunately, many providers jump to conclusions or ignore signs/symptoms or test results and get things wrong - and many times it's too late to fix what could have been fixable.
Unfortunately, some doctors (including family doctors, specialists and radiologists most frequently) miss signs or symptoms of cancer, including those on x-rays, MRIs or CT scans. If we can prove that cancer should have been diagnosed earlier, and that earlier diagnosis would have made a difference, there may be a good case.
What about surgical errors?
I have a tremendous amount of respect for surgeons - but they're human just like everyone else (although a few of them may be convinced they're better than that).
Some of the most common surgical errors are:
Injuring/cutting unintended parts during surgery (like neighboring structures)
Wrong patient, wrong site, wrong surgery (luckily we don't see many of those!!)
Leaving tools or material in the body
Occasionally just flat out botching a surgery or procedure.
Of course, just because an outcome wasn't 100% perfect, that doesn't necessarily mean there was malpractice. If you think you may have a case, call us today!
Are you a doctor? What gives you the right to pass judgment on hardworking medical providers?
No, I'm not a doctor. Or nurse. Or physical therapist, chiropractor, podiatrist, respiratory therapist or anything like that. I don't claim to be.
But no one is above the law. Medical providers need to be held accountable and responsible for their mistakes just like everyone else. That's where we come in.
Now, of course, my law degree doesn't qualify me to say what a reasonable doctor should/shouldn't have done. For that, we hire experts in that field of practice to review the medical records and give us their honest opinion. If they say "no case" we walk away. If they tell us the provider was below the standard of care - and if our gut and our research backs this up - we may take the case.