The short answer is yes; you can sue a doctor or any other medical expert, including nurses, anesthesiologists as well as pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and so on for negligence. You only need to prove fault that leads to personal injury.
Your safety as a patient should be a priority in all health care centers. That’s why hospitals have a legal duty to ensure they only work with qualified and experienced teams to minimize infection risks and also prevent medical errors. But even so, this is not always the case. According to a 2013 study, 210,000 to 440,000 patients succumb to injuries, accidents, infections, and other conditions and events encountered while in the hospital annually. Another study revealed that Medicare patients had a 1 in 4 chance of being hurt or dying while getting treatment in the hospital.
It’s essential to keep in mind that most medical diagnosis errors are preventable. Health care facilities need to strive to protect their patients from injuries, accidents, infections, and errors. If you feel like something might go wrong, are just concerned, or notice a mistake happening in the hospital, you should talk to someone right away or report the case to responsible parties.
Understanding medical malpractice
Medical malpractice is where you are injured by a healthcare practitioner who fails to execute his or her medical duties competently. It occurs when a doctor has an obligation to you but fails to uphold the standard of care reasonably tasked on them. As a result of their actions, you are injured and suffer damages. Your incident needs to have all these elements to be termed as medical negligence. Negligence can include:
- Medical diagnosis errorhappens when a doctor fails to identify a dangerous disease or mistakenly diagnose one condition as another.
- Surgical errors occur when a surgical procedure goes wrong, like operating a wrong body part, or person and exposure to life-threatening infections. Anesthesia errors, organ perforation, and leaving surgical tools inside the body are also common examples of surgical errors.
- Medical error is where the hospital staff prescribes to a wrong dosage or wrong medication type to the patient.
So, can you sue the doctor or medical facility?
As mentioned earlier, you can sue a medical doctor or their facility if they fail to uphold their legal duty to you. But it is not enough to demonstrate that there was negligence. You also need to show that the negligence caused your injuries – something that’s easier said than done. Usually, this is the part where you need the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. In which case, you’ll need to provide your lawyer with letters from hospital, medical receipts, doctor’s notes, test results, diagnosis-related information, images of the injuries, and any personal log entries data about your medical history. Your lawyer will also bring in an expert witness – usually a medical expert – to assess your case from a medical angle and determine negligence and causation.
Damages in a medical malpractice case can include recovery for medical expenses, pain, and suffering lost wages, as well as reduced quality of life.