Facts and Myths about Medical Malpractice Claims
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Bensalem, Levittown, Feasterville and across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA
Sadly, not everyone who undergoes a medical procedure ends up with the results that they may have hoped. Medicine is not magic and the outcome of any procedure cannot be predicted with 100% certainty. However, how can one know if undesirable results or lifelong damage that someone may have suffered due to a hospital stay or medical procedure are as a result of ill-fortune or medical malpractice? In truth, there are many instances where individuals attribute the injuries they have suffered at the hands of doctors, hospitals or medical staff to misfortune when in reality the root cause may be medical misconduct or malpractice.
According to a recent study and contrary to popular belief, medical malpractice is greatly under-reported in the United States. This is no laughing matter as medical misconduct and medical malpractice in extreme cases can lead to serious and sometimes fatal patient injuries as well as cause great financial hardship for its victims.
Another recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and reported on in the Washington Post showed that about one out of every five people is has been a victim of medical mistakes, malpractice or negligence. The report went on to emphasize that, “medical errors by healthcare professionals not only put a patient’s physical health at risk, but they can be equally damaging to a person’s mental state and financial well-being.”.
What exactly constitutes Medical Malpractice?
In the public at large, there has always been confusion about what exactly constitutes medical malpractice. There is a common false belief that if someone undergoes a medical procedure, emergency or otherwise, and the results are less than ideal then this is somehow the fault of the doctor, hospital or other medical staff. In reality, this is not always the case. Though we place a high level of trust and confidence in healthcare professionals it is very important to remember that they are not miracle workers. With that stated, there are very specific circumstances where the doctor, hospital or other medical staff can and should be held liable for injuries caused while a patient is under their care.
Medical malpractice is defined as deviation from the standard of care that causes harm or when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through any negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The medical standard of care refers to the type and extent of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional, with similar training and education, who specializes in the same area of practice or serves the same function, would have provided to a patient under the same circumstances.
A deviation from the standard of care may happen for many reasons including doctor or hospital staff fatigue, inexperience, misdiagnosis, negligence, apathy or lack of communication between health care workers.
Anyone attempting to file a medical malpractice claim will need to be sure that their case and circumstance meets the legal requirements for such litigation.
Any valid medical malpractice claims must have the following characteristics:
- A provable deviation from the standard of care – This means that the medical standards that are recognized as being acceptable medical treatment by prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances, for whatever reason, were not followed.
- A provable and documented injury was caused by negligence or a deviation from the standard of care– It is not enough that a health care professional violated the standard of care for a valid medical malpractice claim. It must also be proven that an injury was suffered that otherwise would not have occurred in the absence of the malpractice.
- Proof that the injury or injuries that were received resulted in damages – In addition to an actual injury, it has to be proven that significant damages resulted from an injury received as a result of the medical negligence. Put simply, it must be shown that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering or significant past and future medical bills.
As a result of the great amount of misinformation surrounding medical malpractice claims in general, it is a common belief that there are too many malpractice cases and that these malpractice cases are the cause of higher premiums and doctor shortages. This could not be further from the truth.
The reality for many is that the often serious effects and damages caused by medical mistakes can be life-altering. For anyone who is injured due to a doctor or hospital negligence, it is important that they receive the compensation that they need and deserve. However, it is important to remember that just because someone is injured that does not mean that they will be fairly compensated. It is of critical importance to have an experienced attorney at your side to fight for your rights.
Retain a Skillful Med Mal and Personal Injury attorney serving clients across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA
At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our legal attorneys have decades of experience supporting clients in Bensalem, Levittown, Feasterville and across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA who have been injured as a result of doctor, hospital or the negligence of other health care professionals.