Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
Every time you visit a healthcare provider—even if just for an annual wellness exam—you are putting your life in someone else’s hands. Because the stakes are so high, doctors have an obligation to provide a certain standard of care for each and every patient.
There are certain conditions that physicians simply cannot cure, and some complications are unavoidable, but no one deserves to leave a hospital, urgent care center, or family practice in worse condition than when they arrived. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of patients end up doing just that every year because medical malpractice occurs far more often than it should.
If a doctor makes a mistake when diagnosing or treating someone but realizes it almost immediately, that patient may be able to leave the office unscathed. If, on the other hand, the error goes unnoticed and serious complications arise as a result, the patient may be able to hold the provider financially accountable for any damages incurred as a result.
Those who have received substandard care from a physician can turn to the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert. We use first-rate experts, cutting-edge technology, and a relentless, straightforward approach to protect each client’s best interests and to maximize the value of the final settlement. Call us today at 305-445-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer in Florida.
Common Types of Medical Errors
There are many different kinds of mistakes that doctors, nurses and hospitals make which wind up harming patients, making them worse off than they were before, requiring additional surgeries or lengthier treatment, and in many cases causing a needless death. All harmful medical mistakes due to negligence, incompetence or failure to perform according to the accepted standard of care may be compensated through a medical malpractice claim, but some medical errors seem to crop up more often than others. See below to learn about some of the most common types of medical errors committed by Florida doctors and hospitals, and contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. if you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice.
Although some specialties have higher rates of malpractice than others, anyone can receive substandard care from any kind of physician at any stage of diagnosis or treatment. Fortunately, the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert handle all types of medical negligence claims, including those involving:
Birth Injuries: Labor and delivery pose certain risks for both the baby and the mother. Some birth injuries may be inevitable because of unanticipated complications, but many others are preventable. If your child sustained a debilitating birth injury because of negligence, the lawyers at Halpern Santos & Pinkert can help you fight for the compensation needed to cover medical expenses, home care, and even modifications to your vehicle and residence.
Anesthesia Errors: Undergoing any kind of procedure that requires anesthesia puts patients at additional risk of serious harm and even death. Building a strong claim around an anesthesia error can be challenging, though, because it is possible to experience anesthesia-related complications during surgery despite receiving adequate care; however, if negligence played a role in your situation, our legal team will find a way to prove it.
Diagnosis Errors: Misdiagnoses can result in invasive treatments for conditions that the patient does not actually have, while delayed diagnoses can prevent patients from receiving timely treatment for the conditions that they do have. Because medicine is far from an exact science, diagnosis errors are one of the most common kinds of malpractice, and researchers have determined that such mistakes are responsible for thousands of patient deaths annually.
Surgical Errors: Common surgical errors include puncturing blood vessels or organs, operating on the wrong side of the body, and leaving foreign objects like sponges or tools inside the patient. Receiving negligent postoperative care could also be considered a surgical error and may warrant a medical malpractice claim if complications arise as a result.
Medication Mistakes: Errors can arise at every stage of administering medication. For example, a doctor might prescribe the wrong drug, a pharmacist might prepare the wrong medication, or a nurse might administer the wrong dosage. Depending on the circumstances, some medication errors can cause life-threatening complications.
Doctors are human beings and may sometimes make mistakes like everyone else. That said, doctors and hospitals use terms like “sentient events” or “never events” to describe mistakes that are so serious they simply should never happen. Errors during surgery can end up requiring an additional surgery to correct the mistakes made the first time, and revision surgeries are especially risky due to the patient’s already weakened state. At their worst, surgical errors result in a patient’s death. Pre-op and operating room protocols can help prevent many common errors from occurring, yet even the simplest procedures are ignored, with disastrous results. Operating room errors include:
Performing surgery on the wrong body part – The human body is bilaterally symmetrical, which is a fancy way of saying we have two sides with many body parts and organs duplicated on the left and the right. Marking the surgery site during the pre-op phase is one way to make sure there is no confusion in the operating room.
Operating on the wrong patient – Hospitals and surgery centers are busy places, and patients often get moved from bed to bed or room to room prior to a procedure. Scannable bracelets and simply asking for the patient’s name before moving to the OR and prior to beginning the procedure can prevent a dangerous operation on the wrong patient.
Foreign objects left in the patient – Sponges, clamps and surgical instruments wind up getting sewn up inside of patients all the time. These objects can later cause severe pain and serious, even life-threatening, complications that may require emergency surgery to remove. Simply keeping track of all instruments used in an operation and taking a count before sewing up the patient can prevent this needless and harmful error.
Diagnosis is an essential part of treatment that should not be rushed, but doctors with busy schedules and a waiting room full of patients may make the quick and obvious diagnosis when instead they should consider other options and perform what is known as a differential diagnosis. Other times, radiologists and other lab technicians may perform their tests incorrectly, or x-rays and other scans may be misread by the doctor. A 25-year study of hospital practices in the U.S. found that misdiagnosis is responsible for one-quarter of medical malpractice cases, as well as 44% of deaths and 34% of disabilities resulting from medical error.
Missed or Delayed Diagnosis
When a diagnosis of cancer gets missed because the appropriate test or screening is not performed or is read incorrectly, the patient can go from having a curable cancer to a terminal one. Cancers of the breast, lung, colon, ovaries, testicles and cervix are some of the most common yet serious or deadly cancers that get missed. Other conditions susceptible to a missed or delayed diagnosis include heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, infection and pulmonary embolism.
When doctors fail to order a c-section or wait too long to order one, serious injury to baby or mother may result. Doctors should know when a cesarean birth is indicated and should not hesitate during labor to perform one. Other birth injuries may occur due to improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors or other tools during delivery, or failure to monitor fetal and maternal health during labor.
Birth injuries to mother or child may also occur due to a failure to monitor maternal health during pregnancy, checking for conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Medical mistakes during delivery can result in serious or life-long injuries to the baby including cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy). Doctors and hospitals may claim a birth injury is due to natural circumstances and not a medical mistake. Our seasoned Florida medical malpractice lawyers understand how to investigate what happened, uncover the truth, and hold doctors and hospitals accountable when their serious errors caused significant harm.
Do I Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If a procedure does not go as planned, that does not necessarily mean the patient can automatically sue the physician or facility for any damages that result. Like other kinds of personal injury claims, the basis of any valid medical malpractice case is negligence.
In order to recover compensation, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. If the suit is against a surgeon, for example, the patient must prove that he or she deviated from the generally accepted standard of care and that any reasonable surgeon in the same position would not have acted in the same manner as the defendant, and this difference in behavior would have resulted in a different outcome.
Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys Will Help You Prove Negligence & Liability
The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Halpern Santos & Pinkert can help you identify the parties who may be liable for any complications you experienced while receiving medical care. After reviewing the details of the case and determining who may be at fault, we will help you gather evidence to hold them financially accountable.
There are various kinds of proof that can be used to demonstrate liability in a medical malpractice case. The actual evidence our attorneys gather will ultimately depend on the specifics of the case. In general, though, types of proof commonly used in these claims include:
- Eyewitness Testimony : Other members of the surgical team may have to testify regarding everything they saw during the procedure.
- Case Studies: If the complication you suffered is relatively rare, that could be indicative of medical malpractice. Case studies can help you determine the prevalence of your particular condition and how it typically develops.
- Statements from Specialists: Other providers in the field can testify as to how they might have responded in the same situation your physician faced when treating you. If they would have acted differently, it will contribute to the strength of your claim.
- Medical Records: Assuming they were not altered, your medical records can provide insight on your health before, during, and after diagnosis or treatment.
Call 305-445-1111 to Speak with a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida Today!
The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert are here to answer questions regarding your claim and ultimately help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has more than 60 years of combined experience resolving personal injury and wrongful death cases, and we will not be satisfied until you are. Call 305-445-1111 or fill out our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.