We as a society place great trust in the doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health workers responsible for our medical care. By and large, these workers are well-educated, thoroughly trained and cautious. They want what’s best for their patients, and a poor outcome doesn’t necessarily mean they were negligent.
However, there are physicians and health care workers who make mistakes, are careless and sometimes act recklessly. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed 1 percent of all doctors in the U.S. account for approximately one-third of all paid medical malpractice claims.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys understand well the obligations that doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers have to their patients. Although medical malpractice laws in Florida are complex, the essence of it is that these entities and individuals must provide patients with reasonably-skilled care such that patients do not suffer worse illness or injury as a result of seeking medical help. Although there is no mandate to provide “the best” care, they must provide a level of care that is reasonably accepted by those in that specific industry or field in that region.Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
We trust these individuals with our well-being, our lives and those of our loved ones. When these professionals fail in this duty and injury results, a medical malpractice claim may be warranted. Some of the claims you may consider filing:
- Misdiagnosis / Delayed Diagnosis / Failure to Diagnose. This occurs when a doctor issues the incorrect diagnosis or fails to provide a timely diagnosis in light of clear evidence of the correct diagnosis. Expert witness testimony is required to show the doctor or other health care worker should have been able to diagnose the problem, but failed. In cases of misdiagnosis, we often have a plaintiff who receives treatments or medications that were not appropriate and may have resulted in harm. In delayed or failed diagnoses cases, patients miss out on valuable time and treatment, resulting in serious injury or even death. A medical malpractice lawyer at our Fort Lauderdale firm can advise you on whether you may have a misdiagnosis claim.
- Birth Injuries. Injuries in childbirth can affect both the mother and child. For example, a failure to timely diagnose pre-eclampsia can result in death or injury to both the mother and child. A failure to quickly identify and act on fetal distress could result in a lack of oxygen to the fetus, leading to severe cognitive and physical injuries, including cerebral palsy, fractured bones or partial paralysis (i.e., Erb’s palsy). Malpractice in these cases may occur at several different junctions. For example, negligent prenatal care could include failure to diagnose conditions like gestational diabetes, anemia or Rh incompatibility. Negligence during childbirth could result from failure to find out the cord is wrapped around the child’s neck or that the baby’s head is too large or that a Cesarean section is necessary.
- Medication errors. Mistakes with pharmaceuticals are one of the most common complaints in medical malpractice cases. It could involve a doctor who wrote the wrong prescription or the incorrect dosage or a pharmacist who improperly filled it or a nurse who improperly dispensed it. These can lead to harmful drug interactions or other serious side effects. The most common error is improper dosage.
- Anesthesia errors. These are relatively uncommon errors, but when they do happen, they can be fatal or result in permanent injury or brain damage. These cases typically stem from the anesthesiologist failing to thoroughly investigate a patient’s medical history or not informing the individual of the necessary preoperative protocol. There have also been cases when too much anesthesia had been given or the patient’s vital signs weren’t properly monitored throughout the procedure.
- Surgical errors. Surgeons do occasionally slip up in the operating room. This could involve something like harming a nearby organ or operating on the incorrect body part. Another problem we see from time-to-time is a surgical instrument or device (usually a surgical sponge) left inside the patient’s body.
Florida Statute Chapter 766 deals with medical malpractice and related claims. Medical malpractice cases require more preparation than a typical injury or wrongful death case because it is not enough to prove the doctor made a mistake or that injury was suffered as a result. Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers would have to prove the doctor violated the applicable standard of care. The only way to do this is through expert witness testimony – and this has to be presented even before trial begins.
The four elements of any medical malpractice case in Florida are:
- Duty of Care. When a patient-doctor relationship is established, the physicians has a duty to act within the “standard of care,” which basically means to provide care that is reasonable and appropriate.
- Breach of Duty. This means the health care professional in some way breached that duty of care, and that he or she deviated or fell below that standard.
- Causation. Plaintiff has to show that the health care provider’s breach of that standard of care either caused or contributed to causing harm to the patient.
- Damages. Plaintiff needs to show he or she suffered some degree of harm as a result of the doctor’s error.
If you have been harmed by a careless or negligent doctor or other health care provider, the medical malpractice attorneys at our Fort Lauderdale firm can help you recover damages.
Contact Fort Lauderdale Attorney Richard Ansara at The Ansara Law Firm by calling toll-free (888) 267-2728.