We trust our doctors and nurses to take good care of us while we’re in the hospital and to make sure that we’re getting the care we need in order to heal and recover. Similarly, if we or loved ones are in a nursing home, we expect that good medical care is provided for those who may not be able to take care of themselves. There are almost 1.5 million nursing home residents in the United States, as of 2014, and as the baby boomer generation ages, that number is sure to grow. But what happens if there’s medical negligence in a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility? In some cases, medical negligence can cause injury and in some cases, even deaths, and can be emotionally harmful for the patient and their family members. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, you should seek out a medical negligence attorney.
What is Medical Negligence?
You may also hear medical negligence referred to as “medical malpractice,” though they’re not strictly the same thing. Essentially, medical negligence happens when a medical professional either doesn’t act in a manner that befits the medical standard of care or acts in a way that goes against the medical standard of care. This doesn’t always mean that injury or death occurs as a result of medical negligence, but recognizing medical negligence may result in a medical malpractice suit.
One example of medical negligence is a misdiagnosis — or a false diagnosis. Failing to diagnose heart disease or cancer, for example, can have deadly repercussions. If those aren’t caught early, it can be a long, hard road for patients.
Where Is Medical Negligence Most Often Found?
Medical negligence is tied specifically to the medical field. So doctors, nurses, dentists, home health aids, nursing home staff, etc., are usually those involved in these cases. Usually a medical malpractice lawyer or a medical negligence attorney will also be involved.
However, some areas of medicine tend to see medical malpractice suits far more than other areas. The top five fields of medicine that see the most suits are neurosurgery, thoracic-cardiovascular surgery, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and plastic surgery. It’s clear from looking at this list that surgery has one of the highest risks in the medical field — and mistakes made on the surgical table can be devastating.
However, medication and diagnosis errors also account for a significant portion of medical negligence claims and can be just as fraught. Another difficult area are mistakes made during childbirth that can have severe implications for mother and child.
In some unfortunate cases, nursing homes or other facilities that care for the aging can also have medical negligence cases brought against them. Staff members may be overworked — or simply not care — which results in low quality care.
What Can I Do If I’ve Been the Victim of Medical Negligence?
It’s always advisable to get a medical negligence attorney on the scene as early as possible, if you think you’ve been a victim of medical negligence or medical malpractice. It’s important to note that every state may handle medical negligence or medical malpractice suits a bit differently. Some may have a time limit for filing a lawsuit and if you’re past that cut off date, you won’t be allowed to file. However, if you find yourself in extenuating circumstances, having the assistance of a medical negligence attorney can perhaps help you find a loophole in that law.
Furthermore, your attorney can help explain some of the ins and outs of the process to you, get the paperwork squared away, and explain what to expect. The process can be very complex and at times, confusing, so having a professional on your side is always the right choice.
Don’t hesitate to call a medical negligence attorney if you feel that you’ve been wronged. They’ll be indispensable in assisting you with your case and making sure you get the justice you deserve.