Every surgical procedure has its dangers. If you need to have surgery, the last thing that you or your loved ones want to hear is that something went wrong. But the following question arises, is the doctor automatically responsible for harm made to the patient’s health? The answer is no. You need to be able to prove that you were hurt by the direct action of your doctor.
In this article, you will find the difference between malpractice and an unavoidable accident. If you can prove that you were a victim of a careless doctor, you may get some monetary compensation for all your expenses.
Medical Malpractice: Conditions and Consequences
Like all medical malpractice claims, you must show a direct relationship between the action and the injury. This means that you will need the help of an expert. He will explain how he would do the procedure. His testimony helps to set the “medical standard of care”. Meaning that if your surgical procedure falls below this level, your doctor is held accountable.
It is important that the expert has the similar experience and level of education of the accused. You can’t sue a doctor of malpractice if the testimony is from a medical expert with much greater skills. Because the medical standard of care is set taking into consideration two or more different approaches, both doctors must have an equal experience level. This way you will be comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
This means that the fact your health was affected by the surgery is not enough. Sometimes there is no other way to avoid these damages. If this is your case, you can’t sue the doctor of malpractice. Even on some occasions, the doctor has to choose to make a little harm to avoid bigger damages to your health.
If the doctor performed the surgery on-site in an emergency, he could be free of any responsibility. Medical professionals are protected by the “Good Samaritan Laws”. But the care provided must follow some standards. The difference is, in these kinds of scenarios, the standard of care is relatively low.
Once you were able to prove that your doctor was indeed careless, you must show that got injured by his actions. For this, you must have the help of a doctor, and a medical malpractice lawyer.
Types of Surgical Errors
Before going into surgery you or a family member must sign a form. This document shows that you are aware of the dangers of the procedure. Because of this, identifying a surgical error is a straightforward process. If the damage suffered wasn’t in the document, you are a victim of malpractice.
Some examples of surgical errors are:
- The administration of the wrong medication or in the wrong proportions.
- Making an incision in the wrong part of the body.
- The doctor left a piece of equipment inside your body.
- During the procedure, one or more nerves were damaged.
- The doctor performs the wrong surgery on the patient.
- The administration of a medication that causes an allergic reaction.
- The doctor accidentally punctures an important organ or vein.
- Medical equipment is not sterilized.
Conditions That Enhances the Possibility of Errors.
Like accidents, surgical errors are random events. But some conditions favor them. Some of the most common are summarized here:
- Extreme Fatigue: It is known that the medical staff's shifts are long. Meaning that they could be extremely tired. Fatigue prevents people from making rational decisions.
- Lack of skill: Sometimes your doctor is not up for the task. He may lack the skill required to perform the surgery.
- Wrong treatment path: This happens when the practitioner takes an alternative way that doesn’t follow the established plan.
- Lack of care: On certain occasions, the doctor just doesn’t have the due care needed during the procedure.
- Deficient surgery plan: The doctor didn’t make sufficient preparations. This comprehends everything from the pre-operatives actions to the procedure itself.
- Performing under influence: Many doctors are under a lot of stress. Sometimes they could use either drugs or alcohol to quench it. It may sound crazy, but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible.
- Deficient Communication Between the Staff: The name explains itself. For example, the administration of the wrong dosage of anesthesia by the unclear command of the doctor.
I’m a Victim of Malpractice. What’s Next?
After you have the medical expert testimony, you should get in contact with a lawyer. You must find a seasoned medical malpractice attorney in your area. He will review your case and help you or your family to take the right steps. This way, the possibility of getting compensation is better.
To prove that, you are a victim of a careless doctor, you must survey through a bunch of laws. These are very complex and could be difficult to understand. Having a lawyer, who is an expert in the medical field, allows you to focus on your recovery. He will be responsible for filing your claim and summiting all the relevant paperwork.
Most hospitals have insurance to cover medical malpractice expenses. It is the job of your lawyer to make the most of the relevant clauses. This way you could achieve a better settlement.
Don’t forget to make the claim quickly. All medical malpractices follow the statute of limitations. Meaning that you have a fixed window to make your claim. After it ends, you are not allowed to sue the doctor. But if you have a great medical malpractice lawyer, he could be able to extend that window, giving you more time to make the claim and achieve compensation.
Don’t Go Through This Alone
You can do the process all by yourself. But having a lawyer will level the playfield. He will defend your interest and he will try to get as much money as possible. This way you don’t have to carry all the financial liability. Remember that these errors will bring more medical expenses. If your doctor is responsible for all the injuries, you won’t have to pay for them out of your pocket.