No one expects doctors and nurses to be perfect, or for any medical treatment to be risk-free. We do, however, expect medical providers to be well-trained and competent, and to always meet professional standards of care to minimize the risks we face by avoiding preventable errors.
Sadly, they sometimes fail to meet these standards. When this happens, it is known as medical malpractice and it can have devastating consequences. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a doctor’s errors or negligence, you might benefit from hiring an experienced Bloomington medical malpractice lawyer to help you with your case. Our experienced accident lawyers in Illinois can assist in preparing you for the legal process and ensuring you know what to expect at each step.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs where a doctor does something they should not have done or failed to do something they should have done and their act or omission violates the applicable standard of care. Not all medical complications are the result of malpractice. If you suspect that you have been harmed by medical malpractice you should schedule a free consultation with an experienced malpractice attorney who can review the facts of your case.
If a provider has a duty to care for a patient and does not meet this standard of care, it is likely to be considered medical negligence. If the negligence results in harm, such as serious injury or death, an individual can seek compensation for the resulting damages.
It is important to note, however, that medical malpractice does not mean that the doctor or nurse meant to do something wrong or that they intended to hurt the patient—cases involving intentional wrongdoing by medical professionals are very rare, although they do happen. No matter the intent, these medical errors can have catastrophic consequences, which means anyone injured by a medical professional’s malpractice could benefit from enlisting the help of a Bloomington attorney.
What is the Standard of Care?
The standard of care generally is the level of care that is required of a reasonably competent medical professional with a similar background and under similar circumstances. For example, the standard of care for a physician working in a busy emergency room is not the same as the standard of care that applies to a cardiac surgeon in an operating room. What standard of care applies to the facts of the case often is a point of dispute between the parties. The standard of care is developed through expert witness testimony. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine what standard of care applies to your case.
Common Types of Medical Negligence Claims
Obviously, medical care is complicated and tricky. When something goes wrong, it is not always easy to know exactly what happened and whether negligence played a role. That is one of the reasons that a knowledgeable Bloomington medical malpractice lawyer n with expert medical resources might be crucial to get the answers a person needs.
Some errors are subtle and not immediately obvious. However, the medical profession refers to some types of errors as “never events” — in other words, things that should never happen. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a fact sheet on eliminating never events — serious, preventable, and costly medical errors. According to the National Quality Forum (NQF) these “never events” are errors in medical care that are clearly identifiable, preventable, and serious in their consequences for patients. They indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a health care facility. Some of these “never events” include:
- Surgical Events, such as:
– Surgery performed on the wrong body part
– Performing surgery on the wrong patient
– Performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient
– Leaving a foreign object in the patient after a procedure
– An intra-operative or immediately post-operative death in a normal healthy patient
- Care Management Events, such as:
– Medication errors resulting in death or serious disability (wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong time, wrong route of administration, wrong preparation)
– Severe bedsores (pressure ulcers) acquired after admission to a health care facility
– Serious reactions associated with administration of incompatible blood or blood products
– Maternal death or serious disability associated with labor or delivery on a low-risk pregnancy
– Death or serious disability associated with the use of restraints or bed rails
– Death associated with a fall while being cared for in a health care facility
- Product or Device Events, such as:
– Death or serious disability associated with the use or function of a device in patient care in which the device is used or functions other than as intended
Though not on the NQF list, some childbirth injuries and birth conditions may not be due to natural causes, but rather due to medical negligence. These include conditions such as cerebral palsy and other brain injuries, shoulder dystocia, bone fractures, nerve damage, and paralysis.
How Do I Know if I Have a Malpractice Case?
If someone was the victim of medical negligence in a “never event”, they likely have a strong medical malpractice claim. But, of course, malpractice can be more subtle. For example, about a third of claims filed are related to diagnostic errors. Missed or delayed diagnoses can cause a patient to endure unnecessary treatments or not get the right kind of medical attention — both of which can cause irreparable harm. Misdiagnosis most often occurs in the setting of tumors and cancer, heart conditions, infections, blood clots, and, of course, in emergency room visits.
The bottom line is that the only way to know if a person has a viable medical malpractice claim is to consult with an experienced lawyer in Bloomington who has experiencing with these cases. A skilled attorney could review all of a person’s medical records and consult with a knowledgeable licensed medical professional to determine whether the injured individual has a potential claim. In most instances, a claim for medical malpractice cannot be filed in the state of Illinois without first being certified by a licensed physician. The process can be time consuming, meaning individuals should not delay in calling an attorney. The sooner they reach out, the more time there is to a case evaluated prior to any filing deadlines.
What is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is a person who is retained by a party in a lawsuit to provide testimony. People are “experts” when they have specialized knowledge or training beyond that of a lay person. Expert witnesses are essential in medical malpractice cases to explain the medical procedures and terms to the jury and to explain how the doctor violated the standard of care.
Call a Bloomington Medical Malpractice Attorney for Assistance
Cases arising from doctor errors and mistakes are some of the most complicated of all personal injury cases. They require resources that make them expensive to pursue, and as a result, very few injury lawyers handle them. However, it is almost impossible for non-lawyers to navigate the complicated legal and statutory requirements to bring a malpractice claim on their own.
If you feel you or a loved one has been harmed due to the negligence of a medical professional, you will likely need compassionate and knowledgeable legal help. A Bloomington medical malpractice lawyer could carefully listen to you, review all of your medical records, and get any necessary expert medical opinions. We can then explain your legal options so that you can understand them and decide on the best way to proceed with your legal claim. And, we do all this at no expense to you, unless and until we are successful in obtaining compensation for your harm.
Do not miss legal deadlines. Contact us now for a free consultation.