When a medical professional treats a patient, they are required to adhere to recognized and accepted standards of care within the medical community. The term “standard of care” refers to the medical or healthcare treatment that a similarly credentialed and trained healthcare provider would have or should have provided under exactly the same or similar circumstances. When a medical professional deviates from these medical protocols, resulting in harm, injury, complications or death to the patient, medical malpractice may have occurred.
Where Does Medical Malpractice Happen?
Medical malpractice – also known as medical negligence - can and does occur in an endless variety of circumstances and situations. Additionally, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of medical professionals who are in a position to commit medical malpractice. For example, medical malpractice may occur in the following places or situations by the following medical professionals. These are just a few examples:
- Ambulance – first responders and emergency medical treatment providers
- Hospital emergency room – emergency room doctors, interns, nurses, technicians and others
- Hospital – all departments within the hospital
- Operating rooms - surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical assistants, nurses, specialists
- Doctor’s offices – doctors, nurses, X-ray technicians, blood test technician
- Outpatient settings – nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, urgent care clinics, etc.
- Other healthcare providers – dentists, oral surgeons, OB-GYN, chiropractors, podiatrists, etc.
- Pharmacies – pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, doctors and other prescribers
Proving Medical Malpractice
Proving a medical malpractice case is a complex matter that requires the skill and knowledge of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The basics of a medical malpractice case include the following:
Duty. The medical professional and the patient must have a relationship and within that relationship, the medical professional must owe a duty to the patient. For example, if a surgeon is hired to operate on the patient’s heart to repair a valve, there is a legitimate relationship. The physician has a duty to perform in accordance with medical standards and protocols.
Breach of Duty. There must be a breach in the duty of the medical professional. For example, if a heart surgeon negligently leaves a sponge inside the patient’s chest, there is an obvious breach of duty, as this in and of itself violates the medical standards of care of heart surgeons. It is important to note that not all breaches are this obvious.
Damages. The patient must experience harm as a result of the breach of duty. In this example, it was discovered that the sponge caused an infection in the patient’s heart, leaving extensive and permanent heart damage. Not only did the patient have to undergo another dangerous major surgery to remove the sponge, she was left with permanent injuries, including a damaged and weak heart.
Causation. There must be a direct link between the negligent actions and the injury. In this case, it could easily be said, “but for the negligent conduct of the doctor, there would not be a sponge left in the heart.” Therefore, there was causation.
Virtually all medical malpractice cases require the expert testimony of a medical professional to prove that medical malpractice occurred.
Damages and Compensation for Medical Malpractice
There are three types of damages that a plaintiff can potentially pursue and receive in a medical malpractice case.
- Economic damages: includes past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings and other quantifiable damages and expenses
- Non-economic damages: includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement and other areas
- Punitive damages: punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for engaging in egregious, extreme, reckless and/or outrageous conduct
Statute of Limitations
A case must be filed within the statute of limitations or the plaintiff forfeits the right to file forever. Please discuss your specific case with Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo immediately so he can examine the details and inform you of the exact dates by which your case must be filed. It is always advisable to discuss your case with your attorney immediately so he will have adequate time to thoroughly research, investigate, and file your case.
Medical Malpractice Attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo Serves Clients in Miami, South Florida and Throughout the State
Attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo has his client’s best interests at heart and will always pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible. He offers a free, no-obligation case review. If you cannot travel to his office, he or one of his team members will be glad to meet you in your home, hospital room or wherever you might be. Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo represents clients in all medical malpractice, personal injury, and insurance claims matters. No recovery, no fees.
For a free case review, you can reach Attorney 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].