Medical Matters

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The malpractice litigation crisis challenges you on two different fronts. It is said that every doctor will be sued about every 10 years, and high risk specialties every 2-3 years. It will affect your practice and your personal life. More lawsuits and more jackpot verdicts fuel the crisis, so that some areas report higher paid losses than collected premiums. Tort reform has lost many rounds, and even the wins can be eviscerated by court decisions. Contributing to this are many web sites aiding lawyers, or soliciting patients to sue. This site is dedicated to the premise that while we wait for real reform, the best education of our practice may be the best real protection. It complements the new reform efforts. Nowdays, good patient care and good proof of it go hand in hand. A common situation that sees a great deal of medical malpractice cases is pediatrics, as mothers sometimes claim that their family doctor had not fully prepared them for the possibility of their child falling ill. As a way to prevent this, many family doctors today suggest that parents consider cord blood banking as a way to ensure that their children will be taken care of, should they fall ill or be born with a genetic disease.

While practicing good medicine is the key preventive principle, it falls short because lawsuits and related problems are not usually due to malpractice. They also involve a language and a culture in law separate in many ways from medical practice. Additional complicated challenges in patient relationships and the gap between how medical care is given and how it appears from the medical record play a large role. And the "expert witness" may establish a surprising standard of care. Combining good medicine with a good defensible documentation is a special skill with needs not fully taught during training. It is too costly to learn it in a trial. Here, you can cover this material in a practical and organized way with less time and cost.

There are different types of malpractice. More often than not, we think of malpractice in terms of medical malpractice, but malpractice can apply to other professions such as law and accounting.

Malpractice usually refers to a professional who has special training and knowledge that the average person does not have,

for example having cataract surgery which is a ophthalmologist profession or a high qualified Nurse which has high degree, diploma gained within Nursing School . Malpractice occurs when a client or patient relies upon the training and knowledge of that professional, the professional handles that person's particular circumstance in a manner the standard of care for that professional's area of training, and that mishandling causes the client or patient to suffer damage. While affordable life insurance quotes are still possible, insurance against medical malpractice is increasingly less affordable.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider (a doctor, nurse, psychiatrist, etc.) has performed or has failed to perform a procedure, which results in an individual being harmed.

Are all bad results from medical treatment considered malpractice?

Absolutely not!
Even when an individual receives the absolute best of care, there are times when the result is less than desirable. Unfortunately, there are still times when healthcare providers fail to properly care for their patients with what is considered the appropriate standard of care and that failure results in their patients being harmed or damaged.

What does it take to prove a healthcare provider has committed medical malpractice?

One must prove that the healthcare provider was negligent in the handling of the patient's case, this is when one can make Medical negligence claims.
Negligence is when a healthcare provider has a duty to provide reasonable care, that healthcare provider fails to provide that reasonable care and that failure causes the patient to suffer damage.

How do you prove the standard of care, the breach of the care, causation and damages?

Typically, after a thorough review of a patient's records, those records are submitted to an individual who will offer testimony as an expert witness. More often than not, those experts practice in the same field as the healthcare provider in question. For example, if there is a question concerning the birth of a child, operation on breast augmentation, an injured person would retain an OB/GYN to render an opinion as to whether or not there was a failure to meet the standards of care in the area of medicine practiced by the offending physician.

Testimony will also be required to prove that the failure by that physician to perform certain procedures in a particular manner actually caused the damages or injuries.

Damages can be proven not only by medical experts but also by forensic, economic or rehabilitation experts who will testify to the nature and extent of the damage an individual has sustained as a result of the healthcare provider's failure to provide reasonable care.

What type of damages are available in a medical malpractice case?

It depends on the type of injury.
The type of damages that might be available to the victim of medical malpractice in a case involving a brain or neurological injury would be quite different than a situation where, for instance, a medical instrument was accidentally left inside a patient after surgery. The surgery patient may require additional funds to have further surgery to extract the foreign object as well as some level of compensation to address the pain and discomfort they have been through. There are many medicines that interfere with the way prednisolone works, or that increase the risk of side effects. If you have to take prednisolone for more than a few weeks, the chances are that you will put on weight. An individual who has suffered a severe neurological injury, on the other hand, may have ongoing rehabilitation needs for the rest of his or her life or, if the injury is severe, the patient may require costs to take care of his or her every need for years to come. The point is that there is no set formula for determining damages. Each damage situation has to be viewed and weighed on its own merits. It is advisable to retain legal counsel to assist an injured person in making an appropriate evaluation.

I've heard that medical malpractice cases are easy to win and often result in huge verdicts. Is that true?

Medical malpractice cases are vigorously defended, often very expensive to prosecute and can be emotionally as well as financially draining for all parties involved. We've all seen headlines where individuals have received millions of dollars in medical malpractice cases. But the headlines don't tell us that months later those amounts are often reduced by the trial judge or reduced at the appellate level, and sometimes taken away completely and the case sent back to be retried. In the majority of cases that go to a jury that renders a verdict, the healthcare providers prevail.

The large awards we hear about in the paper are often statutorily reduced because many states have imposed caps on damages. No matter what the jury may award, there may be a statutorily imposed limit on how much a party can receive in a medical malpractice case and those awards will automatically be reduced.
A medical malpractice case is often a very emotionally charged matter from the patient's and the patient's family's perspective as well as from the perspective of the physician or healthcare provider. Because of this, it is often difficult to reach an out-of-court settlement unless both parties have competent counsel and are willing to settle or use forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Often, parties find the process, which can last anywhere from a year and a half to two and a half years, to be emotionally exhausting. In addition to the emotional fatigue the parties endure, there is also the financial expense of retaining experts to defend and prosecute the parties' various positions.

Is it medical malpractice if your doctor just will not discuss your situation or if he or she is rude to you?

It is unfortunate that all of us do not have the skills to fully communicate our position to others and, while some of us may appear to be rude to others while at our job, that does not mean a party has a medical malpractice claim. Often the best way to resolve these situations is by trying to contact the doctor by phone or in person or, if that fails, by sending the physician your inquiries in writing so he or she can address your concerns. If you feel you still have not received answers to your questions, while this is still not medical malpractice, you may want to contact the licensing agency in your particular state that grants medical licenses to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to lodge a complaint.

Is it medical malpractice to be billed large amounts of money for medical services?

Even if you are vastly overcharged for your healthcare services, that in no way implies that the services you received were below the standard of care the healthcare provider was obligated to meet or if it was a failure to meet that standard of care that caused you or a loved one to be damaged. If you have questions concerning billing for healthcare, they should be directed to the healthcare provider's billing office and should not be the basis for a medical malpractice claim.

If I believe that I have been a victim of medical malpractice, how soon should I seek legal counsel?

The sooner the better. Most states have statutes of limitations, which is the period of time during which you must bring a medical malpractice claim. You may not meet the statute if you allow too much time to elapse. Statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims vary from state to state, so you should seek counsel immediately to properly apprise you of your state's statute of limitations.

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