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When Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?

Medical mistakes happen all too often. When a medical professional’s negligence causes an injury, the victim may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In general, healthcare providers must use reasonable care and have an obligation to use a duty of care. If they do something that causes an injury, you may have a medical malpractice case.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Doctors and other medical professionals may do something wrong or fail to do something they should have. These types of incidents may be considered negligent. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis: When a doctor fails to properly diagnose your condition it may worsen. If so, you may have suffered harm due to the doctor’s negligence. Another instance of negligence occurs when the doctor makes the wrong diagnosis. You have then been receiving the incorrect treatment and your condition might have worsened as a result. One example of medical negligence is when a doctor fails to diagnose cancer. A patient’s cancer could become more serious if left untreated.
  • Mistake during surgery: When a mistake is made during surgery the patient may suffer negative health consequences. Sometimes an instrument is mistakenly left inside a patient. Other times, the doctor performed surgery on the wrong area. Another surgical mistake can occur when the incorrect type or dose of anesthesia is given to a patient or when the patient is not properly monitored while under anesthesia.
  • Prescription errors: The doctor might prescribe the incorrect medication or a medication dosage that is improper. Other times, the doctor may prescribe a drug that has a negative interaction with another medication that the patient is taking. the doctor could be held responsible for his or her negligent action.
  • Mistake in filling a prescription: A pharmacist could make a mistake when filling a prescription medication. The wrong strength, incorrect amount, or even the wrong medication could be provided to a patient due to an error. Pharmacists are medical professionals and are held to a high standard of care. Another mistake could occur when the pharmacist provides incorrect dosage instructions.
  • Error in administering medication: Many times, caregivers are the ones who administer medication. For example, in a hospital or nursing home, the nurses must provide patients with their prescribed medication at the proper intervals. Mistakes occur when the wrong dosage is given, when medication is not given or when the wrong medication is administered to a patient. Serious or life-threatening injuries can occur.
  • Mistakes during childbirth: Errors that are made during labor and delivery can have devastating results on the mother or infant. The failure to monitor heart rate and vital signs could result in fetal distress. The failure to quickly perform a C-section when needed could cause the baby to be deprived of oxygen. If the doctor uses force or utilizes implements improperly during delivery, it may cause severe injuries to the baby.
What Makes a Medical Malpractice Case?

In order to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice you must have suffered an injury. Many times a mistake is made, however, no actual injury occurs and therefore, it does not give rise to a lawsuit. In addition to an injury, there are several requirements that must be met. There are three basic parts to a successful medical malpractice case. These requirements must be proven in court:

  • The doctor or other medical professional had a duty or standard of care to provide you as a patient. Medical professionals are held to a high standard of care.
  • The doctor failed to meet the duty of care. The doctor did not meet the high standard of care that is required by the medical profession.
  • The doctor’s mistake caused the injury. Your injury must be a result of the doctor’s error.

In general, you must have suffered an injury due to the doctor, or other medical professionals’ negligence. Negligence simply means that the person did something, or failed to do something, which he or she knew or should have known could cause harm. For example, a doctor knows that prescribing the wrong medication could harm a patient.

You may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Damages include money for your medical care, compensation for a permanent, disabling, or disfiguring injury, or punitive damages such as money for pain and suffering. The law limits the amount of money you can receive in medical malpractice cases.

Medical malpractice cases can be complex. It is helpful to seek guidance and representation from an experienced Mooresville medical malpractice attorney. At Arnold & Smith PLLC, we understand medical malpractice cases and know how to gather the proof necessary to win your case. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for a free case consultation.