Phoenix Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When the medical treatment and care provided by a healthcare professional falls below the high standard of care that is expected, it can constitute medical negligence. Medical malpractice can result in a catastrophic injury or even a wrongful death. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will fight for the rights of victims of medical malpractice. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, an attorney can help you pursue a claim for injuries caused by negligence, failure to follow established safety procedures, or a misdiagnosis.
Medical malpractice can occur when a physician, nurse, or another type of medical professional breaches the standard of care during treatment, causing an injury that was preventable. Standard of care refers to the procedures that a doctor or another type of medical professional must follow when treating a patient. A medical malpractice claim must prove that a physician not only breached the standard of care, but the patient was injured as a result. You may not have a valid claim if no injury resulted from the breach.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can occur when a physician fails to diagnose a condition, misdiagnoses a condition, makes errors during a surgical procedure, prescribes the wrong medication, or administers the wrong medication. Of course, every procedure or surgery carries some level of risk, but the medical professional should be well aware of the risk and must inform their patient of any associated risks. Patients should never have to consent to a procedure or surgery performed without understanding their rights. If a patient decides to undergo a procedure or surgery after they have been made aware of the risks, the physician must do everything in their power to reduce the risk of harm. When a physician fails to do so and injuries occur, the patient may have a valid medical malpractice claim.
A patient can be a victim of medical malpractice in many different ways. Below are some common examples.
This type of error can cause the patient to suffer greatly from the negligence of a medical professional. There are three types of anesthesia:
Each type of anesthesia is used in different circumstances and comes with possible complications.
One of the most serious complications related to anesthesia use is anesthesia awareness. This is when a patient wakes up during surgery and can feel or see the surgery in progress.
When anesthesia is used incorrectly, and a patient dies or is injured, the negligent medical professional may be held liable. A patient who experiences anesthesia error can recover compensation for both emotional and physical injuries.
Examples of anesthesia errors include:
- Administering medications that interact negatively
- Failing to use machines correctly
- Administering anesthesia too late
- Failing to act when vital signs change
- Failing to properly monitor vital signs
- Administering the wrong dosage
- Administering a drug that the patient is allergic to
- Choosing the wrong drug
- Faulty equipment
- Switching off the alarm on the pulse oximeter
Emergency Room Medical Malpractice
While the environment in an emergency room is rushed and hectic, a medical professional is still expected to provide a high standard of care to their patients. However, negligence by nurses, doctors, and other medical staff can lead to debilitating and serious injuries. When a medical error in the emergency room occurs, the victim can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their injury such as birth injury.
Medical malpractice in the emergency room can include:
- Failing to monitor post-treatment
- Failing to treat or recognize postoperative infections
- Medication errors
- Delaying a diagnosis or misdiagnosing pulmonary embolisms, strokes, appendicitis, aneurysms, and blood clots
- Failure to diagnose cardiac problems
- Misreading test results, x-rays, or medical charts
The hospital where the patient was injured can also be sued in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The hospital can be charged with inadequately evaluating an employee’s qualifications, including level of education, certifications, and prior experience. If a hospital hires an underqualified or incompetent medical professional, then it can be held liable for a patient’s injuries due to the employee’s incompetence.
Additionally, hospital employees can engage in conduct that can amount to medical malpractice, such as:
- Failing to follow hospital protocol, resulting in injuries such as infection
- Performing non-consensual or pointless surgery
- Misusing medical equipment
- Administering the wrong dosage of medication
- Administering the wrong type of medication
- Failing to order diagnostic tests to determine treatment options
- Failing to send a patient to a specialist if the care under their current physician is insufficient
- Neglecting a patient to the point that their condition has become unstable
- Refusing to offer a patient or neglecting to offer a patient proper treatment
- Making an inaccurate diagnosis
Hospital Vicarious Liability
A hospital can be vicariously liable for an injury that was caused by the negligence of their employee including doctors, nurses, and medical assistants because an employer has a duty of care to supervise and direct their employees. This type of liability will cover the negligence of employees, in addition to systemic problems within the facility, including infections that were acquired from unclean instruments, and unreasonably long wait times for emergency treatment.
However, a hospital can’t be held liable for the negligent acts of an independent contractor. Many physicians are not employees of the hospital but are usually employed on a freelance basis while they operate their own private practice. A hospital can only be found negligent for the actions of an independent contractor if the independent contractor lacks requisite experience, is underqualified, or they seemed to be acting under the direction of the hospital.
If a lawyer is able to prove that the medical professional was an employee of the hospital, the patient who was injured under their care can also sue the hospital.
Some medical facilities can get around this issue by requiring their independent contractors to notify a patient that they’re not employees of the hospital, or by posting signs that indicate their status around the facility. If a patient was not reasonably apprised of the doctor’s independent contractor status, the medical facility can be held liable for any injuries caused by medical malpractice.
Medical Device Error
While many types of medical devices are regularly used to prevent, treat, and diagnose diseases, their misuse or failure can result in death or serious injury.
There are three types of medical device defects that can cause an injury:
- Inadequate warnings
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
The device manufacturer can be held liable if the defect caused an injury or death.
Additionally, medical devices can be used incorrectly by healthcare professionals. When negligence, recklessness, inadequate knowledge, or improper training in using a medical device or instrument leads to an injury, the medical professional that used the device incorrectly can be held liable.
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
Failure to correctly diagnose an illness can have a devastating effect on a patient and their family. An injury that results from a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can leave a patient with pain that’s debilitating, lasting physical impairment, or it can result in death.
Conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed include:
- Ectopic pregnancies
- Brain tumors
- Ovarian cancer
- Vascular diseases
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
An injured patient must prove that the medical professional was negligent in order to recover compensation in a misdiagnosis lawsuit.
Examples of negligence that results in a misdiagnosis can include:
- Failing to recognize symptoms
- Failing to listen to a patient
- Failing to check a patient’s medical history
- Ordering the wrong test
- Failing to interpret test results correctly
When a patient is misdiagnosed, their illness will have time to progress without proper treatment.
This can result in death. When a patient is misdiagnosed with an illness that they’re not suffering, they can also be subjected to risky and painful treatments.
Postoperative care involves the subsequent care and monitoring that a patient should receive following a treatment or surgery. A medical professional is responsible for monitoring their patients for any signs of complications that can arise from treatment or surgery, monitoring vital signs, treating and preventing infections, giving patients detailed care instructions for post-surgical care, prescribing the correct medication to patients that can prevent complications and can aid in the healing process. If a physician does not monitor their patient properly, or they do not notice any symptoms, that patient can suffer a serious injury.
Some types of conditions, illnesses, and infections that can arise from postoperative negligence include:
- Respiratory infections
- Pulmonary embolism or blood clots
- Staph infection
- Organ perforation that went unnoticed
- Tissue necrosis
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Internal bleeding
- Viral infection
Other Examples of Medical Malpractice
Other examples of medical malpractice can include the following:
- Surgical error malpractice
- Psychiatric malpractice
- Orthopedic malpractice
- OB/GYN malpractice
- Dental malpractice
- Cosmetic surgery malpractice
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, keep in mind that having an experienced attorney on your side can have a major impact on the success of your case.
There are many factors that go into proving a medical malpractice claim.
A lawyer will help prove that you and your physician had a doctor-patient relationship. A patient must hire their physician and a doctor must have agreed to work for a patient. A medical practitioner can only be sued for malpractice that’s committed within the scope of employment.
Duty of Care
A doctor is required to perform duties that are consistent with the medical field’s accepted standards. All medical professionals have a legal obligation to a patient to act in the same manner that another medical professional would in the same situation.
Breach of Duty
A medical practitioner must have violated the duty of care they owed their patient to be considered negligent. For the duty of care to be broken, the physician must have failed to provide care that another medical professional would have in a similar situation.
To have a valid claim, a lawyer must also prove causation. An injured patient must prove that their physician’s breach of duty caused their injury. Through expert witness testimony and medical records, a lawyer can show the relationship between their client’s injury and the doctor’s negligence.
The injuries caused by the negligence of a medical professional must have caused non-economic or economic damages. This means that the healthcare professional cannot be held liable for your injuries unless you incurred additional medical expenses, damage to future earning capacity or lost wages, or pain and suffering. You can file a lawsuit if your physician was negligent and injured you as a result.
Damages are awarded to compensate an injured patient for the harm that was caused by the negligence of a medical professional. Compensatory damages attempt to make the injured patient whole again and will provide compensation for non-economic and economic losses.
Economic losses can include:
These damages will cover the cost of assistive devices, prescription drugs, physical therapy, doctor visits, and hospital stays. When an injury is permanent or severe, the victim can also be awarded compensation for any future medical expenses.
A patient who is forced to take time off work to recover from their injuries may be able to receive compensation for lost wages.
Loss of Earning Capacity
When a patient is not able to earn the same amount of money at work as they did prior to their injuries, they may receive compensation for their loss.
Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering can compensate the victim for any physical pain caused by medical malpractice injuries. These damages can also include compensation for any emotional distress, such as frustration, fear, depression, and anxiety that can develop due to their injuries.
Loss of Consortium
A spouse can be awarded compensation for things such as the loss of companionship and loss of assistance of his or her loved one. Parents can also be awarded compensation for the loss of affection, love, and companionship of their minor child in a wrongful death claim. Additionally, minor children can be awarded compensation for the loss of companionship, guidance, aid, and assistance from their parent as the result of a wrongful death.
Other Types of Damages
In certain situations, there are other types of damages available, including loss of parental support, disfigurement, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, or the loss of companionship. When doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals act with gross negligence, an injured patient can be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the liable party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
What Does a Phoenix Medical Malpractice Lawyer Do?
Medical malpractice lawsuits differ from personal injury cases since they involve two intertwining areas of expertise: medicine and law. This type of case can be very complex and will require the skill and attention of a lawyer who is well-versed in both medicine and law.
A medical malpractice lawyer will have a firm understanding of medicine, can navigate through complex medical records, and knows which experts to consult. They will also know the right questions to ask and will be able to anticipate the strategies used by the medical professional’s team of attorneys.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Phoenix can:
- Help you understand your legal rights
- Explain your options moving forward
- Can determine potential liable parties
- Will collect additional evidence that will support your claim
- Can review information that can establish your claim
While facts and evidence may be on your side, how strong your case is can fall on your attorney and their negotiation and litigation skills in the courtroom.
Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases
A statute of limitations limits the amount of time under which an injured patient can pursue a lawsuit against a negligent party. The failure to file a claim within this timeframe can prevent the victim’s right to recover compensation.
In Arizona, victims of medical malpractice will have two years to file a claim.
Speak with the Top Phoenix Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
At the Ferguson Law Group, we know that medical malpractice can result in serious, debilitating injuries that can impact every aspect of your life. We also know how important it is to file a claim within the statute of limitations, which is such a short timeframe for these types of serious injuries. If you have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, don’t put off filing a claim. Time is of the essence. Contact the Ferguson Law Group today to schedule a consultation and let our team of Medical Malpractice attorney and Phoenix wrongful death lawyer help you fight for justice and receive the compensation you deserve.
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