Doctor and Physician Errors
Doctors and physicians are highly trained medical professionals who go through a rigorous course of study that may take 15 or more years. For example, a surgeon may spend four years in undergraduate school studying pre-medicine, four years in medical school and another three to seven years in clinical internships and residencies. Before the doctor can proceed, he or she must pass their Florida Medical Boards and become licensed - an indication that they have the necessary knowledge, proficiency and skills to practice medicine. Additionally, medical professionals must take continuing education credits regularly throughout their tenure.
Medical Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
With such extensive training, a patient would naturally think that their doctor can be trusted to properly diagnose and treat them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, a study by the esteemed Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reveals that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Incredibly, medical errors are third only to heart disease and cancer.
The eight year study reveals that:
- There are more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. due to medical errors
In addition to this astounding number of unnecessary deaths caused by physician errors, there are countless non-fatal medical errors every year as well.
Medical Errors are Made by Many Different Types of Doctors in Florida
In addition to a family doctor, there are numerous specialists and other medical professionals that may be responsible for medical errors.
They include but are not exclusive to the list below:
- Anesthesiologist or anesthetist
- Internal medicine doctor
- Obstetrician – OB/GYN
- Oral surgeon
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Physical therapist
There are various other specialists and medical professionals as well.
Examples of Medical Errors by Doctors and Physicians
Doctors and physicians are responsible for a wide range of fatal and non-fatal medical errors. These may occur in a doctor’s office, in a hospital or rehabilitation facility, in a rapid or urgent care clinic, in a nursing home, or in any venue where a patient is treated.
A few examples of medical errors include the following:
- Failure to diagnose
- Late diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery errors
- Failing to disclose surgical risks to patient before proceeding
- Birth injuries
- Injuries to the mother during pregnancy and/or delivery
- Medication and prescription errors – incorrect medication and/or dosage
- Anesthesia errors
- IV Infiltration errors
- Emergency room errors
- Emergency transport errors
Standard of Care, Medical Malpractice and Physician Error
Medical professionals have a duty to adhere to the medical standard of care. Florida Statute Sec. 766.102(1) sheds light on this:
- “The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider shall be that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
When the doctor, physician, or other health professional fails to adhere to the medical standard of care – basically, treatment that a similarly qualified, skilled and credentialed medical professional would provide – negligence and medical malpractice may have occurred.
- A victim of physician error may pursue damages in a medical malpractice case.
- Generally, the spouse or children under the age of 25 of the deceased victim may pursue damages in a wrongful death medical malpractice case.
What Types of Damages are Possible in a Physician Error Case?
A victim of medical error may potentially pursue economic and noneconomic damages. Every case is unique and depends on the circumstances. Generally, the claimant may pursue compensation for past and future medical expenses and treatment, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity and more. They may potentially pursue compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of sexual relations and more. In some cases, where the conduct of the doctor was extremely reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be available.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].
- Fl. Stat. 766.102(1), http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0766/Sections/0766.102.html