What are medical malpractice claims?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are a subset of negligence actions. A medical
malpractice lawsuit alleges that a healthcare provider is responsible
for a patient’s injuries or death because they provided medical
treatment that fell below the recognized standard of care within the medical
community. In each case, the appropriate standard of care that the healthcare
provider should have maintained in the given medical situation is a question
that will be addressed by the judge or jury. Each party will have an opportunity
to provide evidence to support their position regarding what the appropriate
standard of care should have been for the particular medical situation.
This evidence often includes the use of expert witnesses who possess specialized
knowledge regarding the particular medical specialty involved.
Currently, Georgia lawmakers are considering changes to the State’s
medical malpractice statutes, which would take these type of negligence
cases out of courts. Under the new system, medical malpractice claims
would not be considered by a judge or jury. Rather, an administrative
panel would provide victims with compensation on a no-fault basis, much
like the existing workers compensation program.
Most medical malpractice lawsuits involve medical error.
Often times, medical malpractice lawsuits involve
medical error on the part of a healthcare provider. The three most common types of medical
malpractice claims are the failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and
the failure to warn of known risks.
Failure to Diagnose
A patient may have a viable failure to diagnose claim if their healthcare
provider did not properly identify their illness when most competent medical
professionals would have been able to properly diagnose the condition.
For example, the healthcare provider may not have ordered tests that are
routinely administered when a patient presents symptoms, which the victim
exhibited, and the test results would have led to a proper diagnosis.
Last week, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a $5 million verdict in a
medical malpractice case where a misdiagnosis on the part of the emergency room’s medical
staff resulted in a double amputation.
A patient may have a viable medical malpractice case if their injury or
death resulted from improper medical treatment. This includes circumstances
where a healthcare professional does not properly administer a medical
treatment. Examples include prescribing the wrong medication of the patient’s
condition or administering the wrong dosage of medication.
Failure to Warn
Medical professionals owe patients a duty of informed consent. This means
that they must inform patients of the known risks associated with a particular
course of treatment. If a medical professional fails to warm a patient
regarding a known danger and the patient sustains that type of injury,
they may have a viable medical malpractice claim.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should
contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the circumstances
of your case and provide you with advice and guidance on how to achieve
the most favorable results possible given your situation.