WHEN WE ARE SICK OR INJURED, WE PUT OURSELVES IN THE CARE OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, AND MOST PEOPLE TRUST THAT THEY WILL DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE US WELL.
Patients are vulnerable, and they trust that the doctors they choose have the appropriate level of skill and professionalism. Professional malpractice does occur, though, and at an alarming pace. Patients suffer complications, additional injuries or even death as a result of medical negligence.
Between 2004 and 2014, there were nearly 600,000 cases of medical malpractice that involved either a medical malpractice payment or an adverse action against the doctor. A New England Journal of Medicine study looked at around 1,400 resolved medical malpractice cases. They learned that no one specialty was most likely to be found negligible in a malpractice suit. The most common defendants were OB/GYN practitioners, with 19% of cases. The next most common specialties were general surgeons, with 17% of cases, and primary care physicians, with 16%.
Cliff Rieders is a founder and member of Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority. Although there is known underreporting, one-third of one million serious events and incidents are reported to the Patient Safety Authority every year in Pennsylvania alone. There are approximately only 1,400 medical malpractice cases filed in the Commonwealth.
Some Common Instances of Medical Malpractice
There are a number of situations in which negligence may lead to injury or death. Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has decades of experience representing Pennsylvanians who have been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional. Listed below are some of the scenarios which could lead to a malpractice action:
- Death or injury from incompetence or dishonesty
- Negligence in labor and delivery, causing injury to the infant or the mother
- Delay in making a correct diagnosis, worsening the original condition
- A failure to diagnose a serious medical condition
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Filling a prescription order with the wrong drug or the wrong dosage
- Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical implements in the body
- Failing to order tests or dismissing patients’ health complaints
- Infections acquired in the hospital where unsanitary conditions or procedures can be proven, or where there has been failure to respond to developing infections
- Use of dangerous or defective medical devices
- Anesthesia errors, in which a patient is given too much or too little anesthesia.
These are just a few of the issues that can be caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other medical professional. An individual whose condition is made worse by or who suffers additional issues because of a doctor’s mistakes may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Generally, awards are designed to compensate for what has been lost due to negligence. However, punitive damages may be awarded where a very high burden is met, when the physician’s actions are determined to be deliberate, egregious, or the result of wanton disregard for his or her patient’s health and safety.
Holding Doctors Accountable for Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be quite complex. You need the assistance of experienced attorneys to ensure that a doctor who commits malpractice is held accountable.
Doctors and hospitals have good attorneys working on their side. A charge of malpractice can be damaging to a doctor’s reputation and career, so they rarely admit fault willingly. By having a skilled and experienced malpractice lawyer working on your behalf, you can increase your chances of having a favorable outcome of your medical malpractice case.
Medical malpractice attorneys will offer consultations to hear about your case. If your attorney feels that you have a legitimate claim, he or she will file a lawsuit. These cases are different from other personal injury cases where damages can be negotiated; medical malpractice is nearly always litigated in court.
Doctors are covered by insurance and will have defense attorneys to argue their side of the story. Typically, they will present expert witnesses who will testify that you or your loved one’s treatment was in line with the accepted standard of care.
Your attorney, meanwhile, will have expert witnesses to present your side and show that your care was not in line with the accepted standards in your community. They will demonstrate that your care was negligent and was the direct cause of injuries or illness that you suffered as a result.
What should you do if you feel you are the victim of Medical Malpractice?
The sooner you are able to speak to a lawyer, the better your odds can be. It is important to save all treatment records, medical bills, receipts for medications that you were prescribed, and other documents. Having these when you talk to a lawyer can save time and give the attorney the materials needed to argue your case.
Achieving results when it counts.
Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing families who have suffered an injury or loss due to a medical professional’s negligence. We offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. If you or your loved one has suffered because of medical negligence, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling 800-326-9259, or by using our online contact form. Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the State of Pennsylvania and other states where appropriate, offering a free consultation on all injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.
Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical malpractice that almost every attorney in the state uses. He teaches the subject at seminars throughout the state to other experienced lawyers. Cliff Rieders is a member and founder of Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority, and has an intimate level of knowledge concerning the Mcare Act, which governs medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania, and the workings of the Mcare Fund, which helps to insure many doctors and hospitals in the Commonwealth.