Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims

Physician negligence can result in devastating ramifications. However, with the exception of a handful of claims, filing a lawsuit is seldom a straightforward process.

According to An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States, medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely common, with rates of claims increasing since the 1960s. In the United States, medical malpractice law is administered on a state level, including the "statute of limitations." Varying on a state level, this legal aspect specifies the time the injured party can file a claim. Cases are typically filed in state trial court and, in some instances, could move to federal level.

Medical malpractice falls under tort law, which concerns professional negligence. Typically, the goal of such cases is resolving the dispute before it goes to trial, and few of these claims actually end up in court. According to a study led by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School with results published in May 2012, the majority of medical malpractice claims lead to litigation, but from here, they are dismissed. With claims involving defense costs from 2002 to 2005 examined, the study found that 55.2 percent of claims result in litigation, but 54.1 percent overall are eventually dismissed by courts. Percentages, as well, vary with specialty. Additionally, the study revealed, cases that do result in a verdict are ruled 79.6 percent of the time in the physician's favor.

Reflecting this aspect is the difficulty of proving a claim. Not getting the desired outcome from treatment is not considered a valid enough case. Instead, four points must be fulfilled for a case to be considered malpractice: a physician's obligation and standard of care must be established, a breach of this standard must be shown, an injury resulting from the breach must additionally be indicated, and damages related to the injury must further be present.

Several errors may qualify as negligence if injury and damage occurs: improper diagnosis, medication errors, poor health management, treatment, or aftercare, or an act of omission. While many of these instances are open-ended, others clearly point to negligence: equipment left inside a patient during a procedure, operation on the wrong limb or spot of the body, and performing a non-emergency procedure a patient did not consent to. However, patient harm in a hospital is not negligence; instead, for a medical malpractice case, a physician's care must specifically veer off from the standard level expected.

Proving this aspect and the lengthy legal procedure are why such cases last, on average, 19 months before a verdict is announced. The pre-trial period of discovery, particularly, extended the lifespan of a case. During this time, a medical malpractice attorney requests documents, such as patient records and tests, interrogations, and depositions. The lawyer, after the case is filed, gathers information about the opposing party and then, during the deposition, formally questions the opposing party, who is under oath, for later use in court.

According to Medical News Today, 195,000 U.S. patients die from preventable, in-house medical errors per year, with 15,000 to 19,000 lawsuits filed annually. As one in three patients encounter a medical error of some kind, most doctors will face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit during their careers.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Medical Malpractice and Cardiovascular Disorders

Did you suffer from a cardiovascular disorder? Did you lose a loved one to this type of illness? As this is such a common condition in the U.S., it is important that people are well-educated regarding the different types of cardiovascular disorders and symptoms which accompany each. Heart failure is a condition that affects approximately five million people across the country. On top of this, there are a further 550,000 new cases of heart failure every year. Heart failure does not actually mean that the individual's heart has failed. It simply means that the heart is not working at is maximum capacity in various degrees. As a result, the blood will not as effectively be able to bring nutrients throughout the body. The two main types of heart failure are systolic dysfunction and diastolic dysfunction and doctors can determine which type of heart failure it is by administering an ejection fraction test.

Another common and serious type of cardiovascular disorder is coronary heart disease. This is caused when plaque builds up in the arteries, causing the blood flow to be reduced. This plaque can be caused by fat and other substances building up on the walls of the arteries. When the individual is still in the early stages of coronary heart disease, the most common side effect will be pain in the chest. There could also be a pressure on the chest and shortness of breath. If the doctor suspects that the patient is suffering from coronary heart disease, they can administer a CT scan, an echocardiogram, or a nuclear stress test.

Many people throughout the U.S. suffer from angina. There are three main types of angina: stable, unstable, and Prinzmetal's angina. Angina is a side effect of other cardiovascular disorders and its main symptom is pain or discomfort in the chest area. Anyone who is suffering from angina should immediately seek medical attention as it could be pointing to a more serious underlying issue. If a doctor misdiagnoses angina, they could also be failing to detect other issues the patient is dealing with.

If you suffered from any of these conditions, how do you know if medical malpractice played a role in the case? The first element which must be proven in a malpractice case is that there was a doctor-patient relationship. This step is usually easy to legally prove. After this, it will have to be shown that the doctor did not uphold their duty of care. If they were negligent in their treatment of their patient and this treatment resulted in injury, they could and should be held accountable for their actions. By getting in touch with a medical malpractice attorney, you could learn more about whether or not you have a solid case.