Real life isn’t like medical television shows. Sometimes, good doctors make mistakes; lives get lost and loved ones pass. It’s heartbreaking, life-changing and many times totally avoidable. When we hire physicians to care for us, we place our lives in their hands. We trust their judgment and believe that they will keep our loved ones safe and make high-caliber decisions when needed. In May of 2016, The Washington Post reported that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States!
Medical malpractice can be defined, in simplistic terms, as when a person dies as a result of the care he or she received and not the injury itself. On this page, we’ll review the basics of medical malpractice and how it relates to a wrongful death claim.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Basics
To successfully prove that a loved one lost their life due to medical malpractice, one of the following three things must be demonstrated:
1. That a doctor-patient relationship existed.This means that a person was formally under the care of a medical doctor instead, for example, of casually receiving advice from them.
2. That the doctor was negligent in his or her actions. It is essential to differentiate that, simply because one may be unhappy with the outcome of medical treatment, it does not mean that malpractice has occurred. To put it straight, sometimes accidents happen and people die. If one is going to sue for medical malpractice and wrongful death, it must be proven that a doctor did not act in the reasonable way that other competent professionals would.
3. That this negligence led directly to the passing of your loved one. If your loved one was previously ill, this might be hard to prove; to win a wrongful death lawsuit, an individual’s passing must be specifically attributed to an act of negligence.
Different Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many different situations that can lead to wrongful death via medical malpractice. Claims can fall into one of three categories:
- Failure to diagnose; when a competent doctor should have discovered or recognized a patient’s illness or reached a diagnosis, which would have prevented the patient’s death.
- Providing improper treatment; if a patient’s death is the specific result of treatment that any other competent doctor would not offer, there is a cause for a lawsuit.
- Not warning of known risks; if a doctor does not warn a patient of the risks involved with a course of treatment – known as the duty of consent – the doctor’s actions may be deemed medically negligent and, therefore, the physician may be sued for medical malpractice.
Examples of Medical Mistakes That Cause Wrongful Death
We’d like to believe that all doctors treat each patient with the same high-quality care. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Hospitals are busy and can be understaffed. People are working a mile a minute! Insurance companies dictate health care, and quality of medical care offered to the general public is in constant decline.
Several examples of ways that medical malpractice may attribute to the wrongful death of a loved one include:
- Equipment failure or malfunction
- Administering the wrong medications or dosage
- Losing medical files, improperly documented health updates or confusing the records of multiple patients
- Bumbled communication between necessary health care personnel
- Improper diagnosis
- Neglect in monitoring patients conditions while they are hospitalized
In addition to the above, “gross negligence” can be attributed when the actions that lead to wrongful death are extreme. For example:
- a patient bleeding to death because a doctor failed to act;
- performing treatments on the wrong patients; and
- leaving surgical instruments – such as sponges, clamps or tongs – behind in a patient’s body.
How a Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
At this time of loss, pain and confusion, you should never be left to shoulder your burden alone. Big decisions can become huge chasms of fear and anxiety. An experienced team like the group at Green Law Firm can step in and be by your side from the moment you connect with us until your claim has been settled. We will work tirelessly to show that:
- a doctor or hospital owed your loved one a duty of care;
- that this hospital or doctor breached this duty with the care they provided;
- that the breach in care directly attributed to the death of your loved on; and
- as a result of this, you (and your children, if any are present in the family unit) have suffered a direct emotional and physical loss.
To Them You Are a Number. To Us, You Are Family
Green Law Firm understands the lowbrow tactics of heavy-handed insurance adjustors and health care providers who may be protecting their interests against yours. We can assess your case, 100 percent risk-free to you. We aren’t paid unless you receive compensation. To the hospital that oversaw your loved one’s care, you may be a statistic. To us, you are a family, life and a legacy! We will intervene to build a strong case before evidence disappears, witnesses forget what happened or the statute of limitation expires.
When big, bullying health care companies or doctors make mistakes that lead to the loss of life, we believe in making them pay. It’s right vs. wrong! Do not speak to an insurance adjuster representing the doctor or hospital who provided your loved one’s care. Let us help! Contact us at 843-747-2455 today.