Malpractice is defined as negligence on the part of a professional whose behavior has deviated from accepted standards of practice, thereby causing harm to a client. Malpractice can occur through omission or through an intentional act. In the State of Georgia, as well as elsewhere in the United States, the courts provide a remedy for individuals who believe they have been the victims of malpractice: They can bring the facts of their case before a judge or a jury and a binding legal determination can be made.
Medical malpractice, in which the omission or act is committed by a health care professional, is the best known example of professional malpractice. Health care professionals who can be sued for malpractice include doctors, surgeons, nurses, dentists, chiropractors and podiatrists; hospitals, skilled nursing care facilities and the manufacturers of medical devices can also be sued.
A 2008 study performed by the Department of Health and Human Services found that one in ten patients who die within three months of a hospitalization do so because a preventable error that occurred while he or she was hospitalized. These are the types of errors that can become the basis of medical malpractice suits.
Many different types of injuries can give rise to a medical malpractice claim. Some of these include:
Medication Errors: Medication errors may account for as many as 7,000 unnecessary deaths per year.
Misdiagnosis of a disease: Misdiagnosis is one of the most common of all malpractice-related errors. Over 30 percent of all the 1.5 million medical malpractice errors that occur every year are associated with misdiagnosis. Cancer misdiagnosis, in particular, can have deadly implications for patients since early detection and treatment is often the key to surviving the disease.
Infections: Statistics show that four percent of all hospitalized patients will acquire a nosocomial infection as a result of being hospitalized. Nosocomial infections account for 17,000 and 70,000 deaths in the United States every year.
Surgical errors: Surgical errors have been declining over the last decade. However, in the instances when they still take place they can be devastating to the patients involved.
Anesthesia errors: Anesthesia is an inherently risky procedure and patients are advised of this fact when they sign the consent forms that are prerequisite for any surgical procedure. However, within the parameters of that risk, errors occur far too frequently in the areas of dosage, oxygen delivery, mishandled intubations and failure to monitor an unconscious patient properly.
If you or a loved one thinks you’ve been the victim of professional medical malpractice, contact the law firm of Eric J. Hertz, P.C. at www.hertz-law.com where we can review your legal options today!
DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be considered, legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction following a individualized consultation. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney in your area.