When people go to see their doctor, nurse, or go to the hospital, they are trusting their medical professional to diagnose and treat their condition if they are ill and to conduct the proper preventative diagnosis and tests to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. In fact, medical mistakes that amount to medical malpractice happen far too often. According to a John Hopkins University School of Medicine report completed in 2016, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States—resulting in 250,000 or more people dying each year.
Given these alarming statistics, the chances that a family member or you will be the victim of medical malpractice is quite high. The consequences can be devastating if your doctor makes an error—such as operating on the wrong body part or missing a diagnosis of cancer. Obtaining the compensation you deserve—and equally important, justice—can be impossible if you do not have an experienced medical malpractice attorney fighting for you who understands what you must prove to win one of these complex, disputed claims.
Importance of the Medical Standard of Care in Virginia Medical Malpractice Cases
You must show that your health care professional violated the medical standard of care and that you were injured as a result in order to win or settle your medical malpractice claim. What is the medical standard of practice? The medical standard of care is the accepted medical standard of care that all medical professionals in a given medical field must follow. Although the medical treatments patients are given may be different, they must all receive the same medical standard of care for their condition.
Which Medical Professionals Could Be Liable to You for Medical Malpractice?
Many medical professionals could be involved in your medical care and could take actions that caused you harm and that violate the medical standard of care for your treatment. If you suspect a medical error occurred that has worsened your medical condition or caused you to suffer another injury, one of these professionals could be responsible:
- Doctors. While many doctors do not make mistakes, others can commit malpractice if they fail to read a medical test properly, make diagnostic errors, prescribe wrong medications or ones that a patient is allergic to, make surgical errors, or make one of many other mistakes.
- Anesthesiologists. If an anesthesiologist gives too little or too much anesthesia or fails to properly monitor your vital signs, you could suffer a serious complication, such as a heart attack.
- Nurses. Nurses are often the main caregivers for patients and have a lot of responsibility for your care. If a nurse gives you the wrong medication or wrong dosage, fails to use medical equipment properly, or does not respond when your medical condition requires it, this could amount to medical malpractice.
- Pharmacists. Pharmacists often make medical errors by filling the wrong prescription, giving the wrong dosage, or failing to include the proper instructions. They could also make a mistake by filling a prescription that is incompatible with other medications that you are taking.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many ways that your doctors or other medical professionals could make tragic errors in your treatment. Some of these include:
- Misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis can lead to your medical condition worsening or your doctor failing to correctly diagnose and treat an illness—such as cancer—before the disease progresses too far to be treated.
- Delayed diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis of your medical problem can result in the same disastrous consequences of a misdiagnosis—and even your death.
- Surgical errors. Unfortunately, doctors have made unforgivable errors such as operating on the wrong person or on the wrong body part. Other more “minor” surgical errors can cause you to suffer serious complications or die.
- Emergency room errors. Failing to order appropriate tests, failing to read test results or misreading them, giving delayed treatment, and prescribing the wrong medications are a few of the many ways medical malpractice occurs in emergency rooms.
- Anesthesia errors. You could suffer life-threatening complications if anesthesia errors are made while you are having a diagnostic test or surgery.
- Medication errors. Medication errors are common when the incorrect medicine or dosage is prescribed. In addition, if your hospital staff or your doctors do not keep track of all the medications you are taking and their interactions, they could commit medical malpractice that causes you to suffer a serious reaction to your medications.
- Pharmacy prescription errors. Like medication errors by health care professionals and hospitals, medication errors made at a pharmacy could cause you to suffer serious injuries and need to file a medical malpractice claim.
Let This Be One of Your First Steps If You Suspect You Are the Victim of Medical Malpractice
If you or a family member were injured due to your doctor’s or other medical professional’s negligence, you could suffer catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries, cancer, organ damage, or amputations. Medical malpractice claims are complex and difficult to prove. One of your first steps should be to retain an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can obtain the medical evidence and experts you need to prove that the medical standard of care was violated in your case. The legal team at Greenspun Shapiro PC is experienced in both building medical malpractice cases and negotiating settlements with the insurance companies for the negligent parties. Call our Fairfax firm today at (703) 352-0100 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.