Do You Need A Lawyer For A Medical Malpractice In New York
Although most doctors are competent and routine surgeries are often successful, a small percentage of healthcare providers make too many negligent mistakes. In fact, past studies have estimated that about 250,000 Americans die annually due to careless medical errors. And medical negligence has been named the third leading cause of death in this country. Even a John Hopkins, pre-pandemic study estimated that the lives of up to 440,000 people (in one year) might have been saved — if they had been properly protected against negligent medical errors.
While mistakes occur in all treatment specialties, four groups of physicians were more often targeted than others in 2021 lawsuits. They included general and plastic surgeons, orthopedists, and urologists. Of course, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers were named in many other cases.
If you’ve been seriously harmed due to the careless or negligent behavior of any healthcare provider, you should immediately discuss your concerns with your experienced New York City medical malpractice law firm. Our attorneys have been handling complex malpractice cases for years and know how to present a strong case on your behalf. So, if you’ve been asking yourself — how can I find a medical malpractice lawyer near me? — our qualified firm is ready to help.
The following material briefly reviews the basic facts we must establish while presenting your case and a working definition of “medical malpractice.” This information also describes specific acts and omissions that can constitute negligence, and it looks at the unique challenges that can arise due to various medical errors.
- 1. What exactly is medical malpractice?
- 2. What basic facts must we establish when filing a medical malpractice claim?
- 3. Common mistakes made by doctors that help establish negligence
- 4. Specific medical conditions or issues that are often misdiagnosed or mishandled
- 5. Additional key statistics regarding recent medical malpractice claims
- 6. What can we each do to minimize the chances of falling victim to medical malpractice?
- 7. Get Legal help for a medical malpractice
What exactly is medical malpractice?
This basic term refers to certain acts or omissions of healthcare providers that can cause harm to
patients. Once formal medical relationships have been established, all doctors and other healthcare providers (HCPs) must act in accordance with the level of skills expected of reasonably prudent providers acting under similar circumstances. In some cases, hospitals and others who employ medical staff members can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of those they hire.
What basic facts must we establish when filing a medical malpractice claim?
- A formal doctor-patient relationship was in existence at the time that you suffered harm. Of course, clients also sue hospitals or clinics when the alleged harm was caused by medical staff who are not licensed physicians. There are many circumstances that imply the establishment of a formal relationship between a patient and the treating party, including times when you seek treatment in a hospital emergency room.
- The doctor who harmed you, by act or omission, behaved negligently. Being displeased with the care you received is not enough. The evidence must show that the doctor failed to properly handle your diagnosis, treatment, or both. As we prepare your case, we will be looking for evidence that proves that your doctor was not “reasonably” skillful.
- There is direct evidence indicating that the doctor’s negligence caused your injury. Diagnostic and treatment errors are often well documented in medical records and can support large settlement amounts – or high jury verdicts.
- The damages you have suffered can be directly traced to the doctor’s negligence. We can usually document evidence of your physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, and other similar costs.
Common mistakes made by doctors that help establish negligence
- A timely or accurate diagnosis was never made. Sadly, many doctors who aren’t certain they know what you have may just let it ride, hoping you leave – or that some other problem may supersede the one that brought you to see them. Cardiologists are among the specialists who too often try to delay making an accurate diagnosis.
- The treatment provided was inadequate or inappropriate. Unfortunately, some doctors fail to carefully research the treatment they suggest, or don’t even bother to check to see if the new drug they’re suggesting can cause serious complications (due to other drugs you are already taking). In addition, many treatments require regular blood tests that some doctors may fail to provide – leading to serious drug side effects. Some physicians also refuse to take adequate time to obtain thorough medical histories from their patients.
- Known treatment risks are not explained to a patient. Negligence is often about being careless or too rushed (or lazy) to complete all the necessary research prior to recommending new drugs or other forms of treatment to patients.
There may also be cases where a more senior healthcare provider, like an M.D., fails to properly train and regularly supervise nurses, nurse practitioners, medical residents, or general clinic staff. Such oversight failures can lead to serious errors that directly damage patient health.
Specific medical conditions or issues that are often misdiagnosed or mishandled
- Many birth-related issues. Doctors must be sure to advise patients about various tests they should consider taking prior to pregnancy (or during early weeks of pregnancy). These can help avoid placing the mother or baby at a higher risk for serious health conditions. Sadly, poor choices are sometimes made during the birthing process itself. These can cause a baby to not receive proper oxygen or to suffer various types of birth defects. If certain serious illnesses run in your family, your internist should normally refer you to a genetic specialist for further testing and advice.
- Anesthesia. Surgeons or their appointed staff members must always speak with patients prior to performing any operations. They need to inquire about all current chronic medical conditions and prescription drugs being taken.
- Proper antibiotics must be timely provided under various circumstances. Given the high chance of picking up an infection in a hospital or during surgery, care must be taken to be sure patients are monitored for common bacterial infections. Unfortunately, sepsis has become a deadly risk of spending time in a hospital.
- Basic surgical errors. The most familiar ones include operating on the wrong side of a patient’s body (or on the wrong limb) and leaving sponges or other instruments inside someone after closing the wound. Equally harmful is failing to properly monitor all patient vital signs during surgery.
- Missing early signs and symptoms for such conditions as DVT, diabetes, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and dementia. Doctors must proactively investigate all likely causes for your troubling symptoms. With DVT, deep-vein thrombosis, a timely diagnosis is crucial. When your complaints of leg pain and swelling are quickly dismissed, you may soon have a blood clot dislodge that may cause a deadly pulmonary embolism.
Please be prepared to name all the diagnostic and treatment errors you believe may have been made in your case when you first contact our law firm. Once we accept your case, we will search your medical records for evidence that supports your claims.
If you believe a doctor has committed medical malpractice against you or a close loved one, you should immediately consult with your New York City medical malpractice lawyer. There are statutory deadlines for filing these types of cases. Also, the sooner you hire an attorney, the quicker we can start investigating your case while you concentrate on obtaining the added medical care you may still need.
Additional key statistics regarding recent medical malpractice claims
- During 2021, sixty-two (62) percent of American specialists reported being sued, compared to 52 percent of primary care doctors.
- Failure to diagnose patients was referenced in 31 percent of all the reported lawsuits, while 29 percent involved a claim that the patient suffered complications from the treatment provided.
- During 2021, New York was among the 10 states with the highest number of filed medical malpractice lawsuits. The other nine were: New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina.
- While 29 percent of the doctors sued stated they felt the lawsuits might harm their careers, 71 percent were not concerned. Of course, many doctors have been excused by courts from earlier lawsuits and are hoping that may happen again.
What can we each do to minimize the chances of falling victim to medical malpractice?
- When you’re reporting a new condition, request/demand a clear diagnosis within one or two months, at most. When a doctor fails to act quickly – you have probably not found a sympathetic ear – or someone who takes your symptoms and complaints very seriously.
- Only go see doctors with easily verified track records – and try to only visit physicians highly recommended by family members or friends who have obtained treatment from the doctor. If you have no other choice, then take your current treating internist’s suggestion as to who you should go see. And always get a second opinion when any type of surgery is being suggested (and try to speak to someone who has undergone the procedure you are currently contemplating). Also, call your state’s Medical Board and see if your doctor has any complaints on file – a surprising number of them have been challenged before.
- Try to schedule surgeries early in the morning. That’s when surgeons and support staff are fully rested and eager to start the day. Make sure they review all the medicines you are currently taking – and know about each of your chronic medical conditions, if any. Although opinions may vary on this topic, you may want to avoid scheduling an elective surgery for July. It’s during that month when many hospital residents are just starting on new assignments. Also, some studies clearly indicate that surgeries completed earlier in the work week are less likely to involve complications.
- Trust your instincts. If your doctor refuses to look you in the eye and speak to you with respect, chances are that behavior will never change. Find another specialist right away. Likewise, any doctor who tries to hide medical test results from you is not worthy of your trust, especially if you were recently assured that “nothing could possibly be wrong.”
Get Legal help for a medical malpractice
If you have suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of any doctor or other healthcare provider, please contact your New York City medical malpractice law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.