Medical Malpractice

When hospitals publish value statements, they often cite “accountability, integrity, and personal responsibility” as fundamental. Often, these values don’t match what we (the community at large) experience in our interactions with healthcare providers at the hospitals.

We expect healthcare providers (and related staff) who care for us to be trustworthy, ethical, and well-trained. We don’t expect to suffer great harm and injury and then have to sue for medical malpractice. Don’t worry. Seeger Weiss medical malpractice lawyers are well-trained, compassionate and ready to assist you.

Seeger Weiss’ highly experienced personal injury lawyers can help you determine whether you have a potential case for a medical negligence or medical malpractice suit. If your family has experienced the tragic toll of a birth injury, we can also help. See four situations that could warrant a birth injury lawsuit.

The Medical Malpractice System

The medical malpractice system has two primary goals: to compensate injured patients and to deter physicians from careless behavior. Patients who are injured by substandard healthcare may be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice exist when a healthcare provider undertakes care of a patient and their duty to the patient was breached by failing to maintain a relevant standard of healthcare resulting in injury.

Four Elements Needed to Prove Medical Malpractice

Tort Law encompasses negligence, personal injury, and medical malpractice claims. A tort is a wrongful act that is committed by someone or an entity that causes injury to another person or property. Negligence is a failure to act as an ordinary, prudent person or reasonable person would under similar circumstances.

The following four elements are needed to prove negligence in a medical malpractice case:

 

Duty: Initiated when the healthcare provider accepts responsibility for the healthcare and treatment of a patient.

Breach of duty: The act of omission or commission causing injuries or damages to the patient.

Proximate cause: Evidence between the breach of duty and the damages that occurred.

Injuries or damages: What the patient suffered.

Finding a Physician Guilty

Although a physician may not have acted with “evil intent” his/her actions may result in a prosecution and conviction if those actions appear to be those of a healthcare provider who was carelessirresponsible, or indifferent to the patient’s well-being.

A factor that seems to figure most prominently in the decision to bring a criminal prosecution of medical malpractice forward is the failure of a healthcare provider to follow-up appropriately on one’s patients.

Whether a physician is guilty or innocent is based on what a reasonable physician would have done under the same circumstances. Evidence of past conduct can also be introduced to establish a pattern of criminal malpractice.

To further illustrate, here are some medical malpractice examples:

  • A court found a culpable state of mind existed and convicted a physician because he had ignored repetitions of the same problem with the same or different patients.
  • A legal action proved a physician had sufficient knowledge based on his previous experience of the problem to have known the problem would cause danger, but he ignored the danger.
  • A ruling concluded the physician possessed a guilty state of mind because he had sufficient facts to know that the patient was in danger, but did nothing to mitigate the danger.

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