Medical Malpractice

Where a medical care provider fails to utilize the principles of sound practice or fails to use that degree of skill, care, and diligence expected by the standards of practice accepted in the medical community, and such departure from the “standard of care” causes serious injury to the patient, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice. Medical Malpractice claims are generally met with great resistance from the offending hospital or physician, who regard such claims as a black mark on their professional reputation and fight aggressively to defend their case.

The prosecution of medical negligence claims is an art form requiring the attorney to be well acquainted with the law and medical principles and procedures. The proof necessary to win a malpractice claim requires the lawyer to: 1.) enlist the assistance of medical professionals to evaluate the merit of the claim 2.) explore weaknesses in each case and to finds experts to testify not only regarding the resulting injuries but also what went wrong and how the patient’s injuries were the result of the medical provider’s malpractice.

Medical claims are time consuming and can take 2-4 years to resolve and can cost the lawyer thousands of dollars to prosecute. As a consequence, only claims involving devastating medical injuries are typically selected by Plymale and Dingus for prosecution. Some of the more common claims we see are as follows:

Errors in Diagnosis: This includes misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of stroke, heart attack, cancer, brain injury, diabetes, occlusive blood clot, or severe trauma to internal organs.

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Radiology Errors: Improvement in medical imaging has done much to improve early diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, a misread mammogram, CT scan, MRI, Barium enema, or ultra sound often leads to a wrong diagnosis. If the misdiagnosis causes catastrophic outcome for the patient, perhaps it is time to talk with a qualified malpractice lawyer.

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Retained Objects: It seems inconceivable that a surgeon could leave a surgical instrument or a sponge inside a patient. There is 1 person in the operating room whose job is to count instruments and sponges before and after the surgeon is done and before he closes the incision. In spite of extensive precautions to avoid retained objects, however, it does happen and the consequences vary. At the least, a 2nd surgery to remove the object will be required. If undiscovered, a retained sponge can cause life threatening infection. Leaving behind objects intended for removal is clear malpractice.

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Unnecessary Surgery: While unnecessary surgery alone seldom makes a winnable malpractice claim, unnecessary procedures that lead to life threatening consequences may warrant contacting a malpractice lawyer. Common unnecessary surgeries with sometimes life threatening complications include pacemaker implant, coronary bypass, hysterectomy, cesarean section delivery and gastric bypass.

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Hospital Acquired Infections: Hospitals are full of sick and infected people and are virtual depositories of bacteria and virus. The effort of hospitals to rid the institution of these infections through use of antibacterial and antiviral agents and antibiotics has resulted in the evolution of the antibiotic resistant germ. Many of the injuries caused by these antibiotic resistant microbes cannot be proven to result from malpractice, but some can. Most compensable claims resulting from hospital acquired infections do not involve the fact of infection but rather result from the failure of hospital staff to promptly recognize or properly treat the infection before it becomes life or limb threatening to the patient. If you acquired an infection while hospitalized and believe it was ignored or improperly treated, give us a call to discuss your claim. The call is free and the peace of mind may be priceless.

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Anesthesia Errors: Anesthesia is administered by medical professionals who do nothing else because the greatest risk in any medical procedure is its administration. Too little means patient pain and movement during a procedure. Too much can kill the patient. Common anesthesia errors include inadvertent administration of an overdose; administration of a type or amount that the patient’s poor health won’t tolerate; failure to timely recognize that the patient is in trouble because of the anesthesia or to respond to this medical emergency; and failure to take a proper patient health and anesthesia history. Whatever the cause, one fact remains constant. Anesthesia errors kill.

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Surgical Errors: Surgeons frequently refer to surgical errors as “surgical misadventures.” Such a description simply belittles the devastating effects that a surgical error can cause. Common surgical errors include perforation or severance of arteries, bowel, ureter, uterus, or nerve tissue; taking too little, or worse, too much of the body part which is being removed; improperly repaired organs or incisions and mistaken organ identification.

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