Medical malpractice is a significant concern for both healthcare professionals and the patients they serve. Anyone who believes themselves to be a victim of medical malpractice should connect with a California medical malpractice attorney to investigate the chain of events that led to the suffering and determine if it constitutes a malpractice case with legal merit.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
The term medical malpractice refers to any situation in which a healthcare provider neglects to uphold the established “standard of care” when treating a patient. The “standard of care” is often defined as what any other healthcare professional would have done or not done in the same circumstance.
When this is neglected beyond reason, any harm to a patient puts the medical professional who was responsible for their care in a vulnerable legal position. Common instances of medical malpractice include the following:
- Surgical Errors: Making a surgical error during an operation can have significant implications on the health of the patient. In some cases, it could even worsen their condition. For example, a surgeon could accidentally operate on the wrong part of the body or conduct the wrong procedure. This could lead to unnecessary pain for the patient, and they could have something unnecessarily removed from their body. Other examples of surgical errors include foreign bodies being left in the body or not providing enough anesthesia to keep a patient asleep during surgery.
- Delayed diagnosis: If a medical provider ignores blatant symptoms a patient has been expressing and does not give them a timely diagnosis, it could result in a condition becoming worse. For instance, a gynecologist might dismiss symptoms of endometriosis as normal menstrual cramps, causing the condition to worsen and the patient’s pain and suffering to continue. In extreme cases, a delayed diagnosis could rob someone of the chance to fully recover, or the outcome could be fatal. Another example of this type of malpractice could be if a doctor fails to order the appropriate blood tests and inaccurately assures their patient they thoroughly investigated their symptoms.
- Medication errors: Any evidence that a doctor has prescribed or administered the wrong medication to a patient could put them in danger of a medical malpractice claim. This is because the wrong medication can lead to extreme adverse reactions, such as a prolonged illness, new health issues, or even wrongful death. The incorrect medication could also interact with another medication the individual takes, which should have been a non-issue if the accurate medication was administered.
- Ignoring a patient’s symptoms: Dismissing a patient’s symptoms as nothing to worry about could prolong their inability to receive the treatment they genuinely need. The same is true for misinterpreting symptoms. Therefore, healthcare providers must listen carefully to their patients and be thorough when investigating an individual’s symptoms. Even if it doesn’t strike the doctor as extremely concerning, they should still conduct whatever testing necessary to be certain and ease their patient’s mind.
- Not informing a patient of risks: Any instance when a healthcare provider neglects to share the risks of a treatment before gaining a patient’s consent can leave them vulnerable to outcomes they didn’t prepare for. Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their own healthcare, and any evidence that a doctor infringed upon that right through their own neglect could be subject to a malpractice investigation. In such cases, patients might choose to sue for medical malpractice.
Q: How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice In California?
A: There are four key elements that need to be satisfied in order to prove medical malpractice occurred. The first and second elements are that there was a professional duty owed to the patient, and that duty was breached by either a deliberate act or neglect. The third element is that there is evidence to suggest a connection exists between the breach of duty and the patient’s injury. Finally, there needs to be clear loss or damage to examine.
Q: What Is the Hardest Element to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case?
A: The link between a medical practitioner’s breach of duty and the patient’s injury is often the most difficult point to make in a malpractice case. This is because the court requires more than proving that a health professional was negligent in a specific act. It must also be shown how that negligence directly caused harm and suffering to the patient. This becomes complicated because patients often have pre-existing conditions or other medical issues that could also have contributed to their injuries.
Q: What Are the 4 Cs of Medical Malpractice Prevention?
A: As a medical malpractice preventative initiative, the “4 Cs” were developed as an anagram for doctors to keep essential behaviors in mind. The 4 Cs stand for compassion, communication, competence, and charting. Compassion requires that all healthcare providers show empathy and genuine interest in the affairs of their patients, while the communication aspect is to ensure that all patients are fully informed about the condition of their health and the nature of their treatments.
Competence is a critical characteristic, as patients rely on a doctor’s skills and knowledge to receive the care they need. Finally, charting demands that all doctors provide a clear record of a patient’s care.
Q: How Long Does Someone Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in California?
A: The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice allegation in California is three years from the date of injury. However, in many cases, an individual may not discover the injuries they have sustained from inadequate care until months or even years after a specific procedure or treatment.
Therefore, the statute of limitations for malpractice claims makes clear that as long as there is reasonable cause to believe that the patient discovered their injuries well after the point of care, their three-year timeline begins at that moment rather than when they received care.
Contact McLachlan Law, APC, Today
If you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice or are unsure if your injuries constitute the grounds for such a claim, contact our attorneys today. We have extensive experience in medical malpractice law and can investigate your experience to determine what options exist to seek compensation.