YOUR INJURY ATTORNEYS IN THE NEWS: TRUTHS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Unbelievable as this may sound, the third most common cause of death in the United States is medical error! Also hard to believe is the fact that, while 225,000 people die each year from some form of medical malpractice, only 2% of victims (or their survivors) pursue a case against their medical providers.
In a 2013 article estimating patient harms associated with hospital care, John T. James lists five different types of errors that happen in hospitals:
- errors of commission – the wrong action is taken, or the right action is performed improperly
- errors of omission – an obvious action was needed, but never performed
- errors of communication – physician failed to warn the patient what actions to avoid, or medical providers failed to adequately communicate important information to another
- errors of context – physician failed to take into account constraints in a patient’s life that could negatively affect the outcome
- diagnostic errors – mistakes resulted in delayed treatment or the wrong treatment being given
Lawsuits may be filed against doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and others who provide healthcare services. When a hospital’s employee injures a patient, the hospital itself may be held liable.
Earlier this month, the law firm of Ramey & Hailey filed a medical malpractice complaint against three different practitioners, one hospital, and one healthcare organization. All were named as having, through errors of commission, omission, and misdiagnosis, brought about the sad, sad result of a patient’s loss of her right eye.
Under Indiana medical malpractice law, malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the recognized “standard of care” in the treatment of a patient (which means what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances).
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice complaint in Indiana is two years. What that means is that a medical malpractice action must be brought within two years from the date the error allegedly happened. The latest statistics show that, with 28,000+ licensed physicians, there are some 426 doctors for every 100,000 Hoosiers, with approximately 21 lawsuits filed a year.
As noted in Nolo.com, “A medical malpractice lawsuit is usually a fairly complex undertaking. There are special procedural rules and compensation limits.” This is one area that truly demands experience and expertise on the part of an attorney. What our Indiana personal injury lawyers have learned over these many years pursuing medical malpractice cases is that medical malpractice is the most intensely personal and emotion-laden kind of case there is, demanding dedication to the cause of helping clients attain the compensation they deserve, while helping to ensure that the same kind of errors are not repeated on other innocent victims.