ELMIRA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHTS OF VICTIMS
When you receive treatment from a hospital or doctor, you expect that you will be cared for in a professional and competent manner. You place your health, and often your life, in the hands of others. In the majority of cases, medical professionals are fully qualified, experienced, and provide excellent treatment. However, even the most experienced professionals sometimes make mistakes that result in serious injury or even death. This may be medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a form of negligence where an injury results from the failure of a professional or medical facility to exercise care, skills, or diligence in performing a duty. At Proudfoot Law Firm, we have experience handling medical malpractice cases, both in and out of court. We have received favorable jury verdicts and settlements against both hospitals and physicians.
Some types of medical malpractice cases we can help with include:
- Plastic Surgery Malpractice
- Cancer Misdiagnosis
- Pediatric Malpractice including Birth Injuries
- Complications during Birth or C-Section
- Misread Diagnostic Tests
- Misread Charts
- Mistakes in Prescription Drugs Prescribed or Dispensed
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
Determining whether or not you have a claim is one of the most difficult aspects of medical malpractice claims, especially for non-lawyers. When it comes to medical treatment, there are rarely any guaranteed outcomes. Despite your doctor’s best efforts, treatment can be unsuccessful. Some procedures carry certain known risks such as harmful side effects. The fact that your treatment was unsuccessful or resulted in other complications does not necessarily mean that you are a victim of medical malpractice. Rather than assume that you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, the best thing you can do is consult with an experienced Elmira medical malpractice attorney.
Some of the factors that may indicate that you have a medical malpractice claim include the following:
- You suffered side effects or complications that were not disclosed
- You received the wrong treatment
- The doctor, nurses, or other medical professionals ignored obvious signs of distress
- You were prescribed the wrong medication
- You suffered severe harm as a result of your treatment
The facts will be critical to your case, including your medical history and treatment records. Proving your claim will also likely require obtaining an expert opinion from other medical professionals. An Elmira medical malpractice attorney can investigate your case to determine whether you are a victim of malpractice and help you understand your options.
DEFINING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Instead of a simple negligence standard that is applied in a typical personal injury case, medical malpractice cases are judged according to the medical standard of care. There is no single defined standard of care – the standard of care can vary from case to case. In general, the standard of care can consist of what the medical community considers the standard course of treatment for a particular illness or injury. As a result, some of the factors that will determine whether you have a claim will include the following:
- Your age
- Your medical history
- The nature of your injury or illness
- The experience, training, and specialization of the medical professionals involved in your treatment
Generally speaking, specialists are held to a higher standard of care than general practitioners. As a result, your family doctor’s failure to make a cancer diagnosis may not be considered malpractice as compared to an oncologist.
In some cases, geographic location may also play a role. Medical professionals who practice in large metropolitan areas see more patients and have greater opportunities to consult with colleagues than those who work in more rural areas.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered harm as a result of the malpractice. While this may sound obvious, this can be more challenging than many people realize. The insurance companies who defend medical professionals against malpractice claims will often try to argue that the harm you suffered was unavoidable or was a known risk. They may also try to argue that your condition deteriorated because of the nature of your illness or injury, not as a result of the negligent treatment that was provided. Again, this may require expert testimony to prove that the harm you suffered was the direct result of medical malpractice.
If you suspect that you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, determining whether you have a claim is very difficult. An experienced Elmira medical malpractice attorney can review your case, investigate what happened, and then provide guidance as to how you should proceed.
TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Medical malpractice occurs any time someone suffers harm as a result of a medical professional’s negligence when they provide treatment. Most medical malpractice claims fall into one of the following categories:
- Birth injuries. While modern medicine has greatly reduced the risk of injuries during birth, injuries to either the mother or child or both are still quite common. Many of these injuries are the result of failing to monitor the baby’s vitals, incorrect use of medical equipment, or failing to take prompt action when faced with signs of fetal distress.
- Emergency room errors. Emergency rooms are high-pressure environments where people who are seriously ill or injured need immediate medical attention. Emergency medical professionals are still required to provide treatment according to the standard of care. Mistakes in the emergency room can delay necessary treatment, lead to additional complications, and sometimes result in death.
- Surgical errors. Surgical errors are often the result of inexperience or incompetence on the part of the surgeon, but can also include inadequate planning and care leading up to or following the procedure. Incision errors, including damage to surrounding tissues or operating at the wrong location, are also more common than many people realize. Surgical errors can also include post-operative infections or leaving surgical devices inside the patient’s body.
- Prescription errors. Failing to prescribe the correct medication or administering the wrong dosage can not only prolong your condition but can also result in serious harm to your health if you experience severe side effects.
- Diagnostic errors. Failure to make the correct diagnosis or taking too long to make a diagnosis can delay necessary treatment when time is of the essence. While some illnesses can be very difficult to diagnose, doctors can be held liable when they fail to make a proper diagnosis as the result of failing to review your medical record or failing to conduct a thorough examination.
- Brain hypoxia. Serious injuries can occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Brain hypoxia injuries are fairly common during childbirth but can occur during any procedure where there is a sudden lack of oxygen to the brain.
The above is not a complete list of the types of medical malpractice you may experience. If you have suffered harm at the hands of a medical professional, an Elmira medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim.
At Proudfoot Law Firm, we are prepared to evaluate your potential medical malpractice case at NO CHARGE. If you feel that you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact Elmira Medical Malpractice Attorney Steve Proudfoot to review your claim.