It is commonly perceived and stated by proponents of injustice that medical malpractice litigation isfrivolous and its proliferation does nothing but increase health care costs which hurts “us all.” One recent study shows that medical errors result in approximately 250,000 deaths annually, which fact generally puts medical malpractice in line as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Study Release date: May 3, 2016.
Doctors, nurses, dentists and other similar professionals oftentimes are depicted as persons whose opinionsshould be trusted and can do no wrong. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that they are human and susceptible to error. They may make mistakes, some of which can lead to injury or death. Even if their mistakesare unintentional, they must still be held accountable for the results of their actions the same as would be any other professional or individual for that matter.That said, what constitutes medical malpractice in a particular case under a particular set of circumstances is not straight forward and requires the involvement of well credentialed medical experts. The jury instruction read to jurors sitting on medical malpractice cases states in pertinent part:
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. Reasonable care on the part of a health care provider is that level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by similar and reasonably careful health care providers. Negligence on the part of a health care provider is doing something that a reasonably careful health care provider would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful health care provider would do under like circumstances.
If you find that the treatment or procedure involved in this case was carried out in accordance with the prevailing professional standard of care recognized as acceptable and appropriate by similar and reasonably careful health care providers, then, in order to prevail, (claimant) must show by the greater weight of the evidence that his or her injury was not within the necessary or reasonably foreseeable results of the treatment or procedure.
If you believe medical negligence may have occurred, you should move swiftly to obtain your medical records and have your situation examined by an attorney experienced in and having the resources to properly evaluate your potential claim. There are very short and absolute time periods with which you must abide and quite frequently it takes a number of months to evaluate a case and secure the medical opinions that are necessary to obtain before you may even start the statutorily mandated pre-suit process in Florida. At Lewis Legal Group, your potential claim is our priority and we will get you the information you need to make important decisions going forward.
Notable cases include:
Estate of S v. Local Area Hospital – $825,000 Pre-suit settlement.
Mr. S’s elective knee surgery went well. However, during his time in recovery, a nurse brushed off his complaints of nausea and fatigue as being related to the anesthesia. These complaints occurred, however, several hours after surgery had ended.Nevertheless, she ordered an EKG that neither she nor the physician reading it appreciated that it indeed was an abnormal EKG. Mr. S coded and died shortly thereafter. Pre-suit was initiated following the receipt of a qualified medical opinion that the EKG was abnormal, should have been read as abnormal and that had it been read as abnormal, measures could have been taken to prevent the subsequent cardiac arrest and death. Mr. Shaffer was nearly retired and survived by his beloved wife of over 40 years. Liability was admitted which served to cap non-economic damages.
Estate of C v. Local Area Hospital – $425,000 Pre-Suit Settlement
Mr. C had a long history of urological and cardiac issues. He was cleared for elective urological surgery which was performed without incident. Following surgery, the patient was put on a pain pump so he could self-administer Dilaudid. Dilaudid can reduce respirations which in turn can cause one to go into respiratory and then cardiac arrest. In light of this reality, the following anesthesiologist ordered that the patient have a pulse oximeter employed while on the pump in order to continuously gauge the patient’s oxygen saturation. If the saturation went below a certain level, an alarm would sound and staff would be able to respond timely. The nursing staff forgot to place the device on Mr. C who subsequently went into respiratory arrest for which there was no alert due to the absence of the monitoring device. Mr. C died. He is survived by his devoted wife of over 25 years and an adult son.