In a news article, CNBC reported in 2018 that a Johns Hopkins University study claims that more than 250,000 people die from medical errors in the US annually. The same article also reveals that the number of deaths from medical malpractice goes as high as 440,000 in other reports. Because of this, fatality due to medical errors has become the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States.
What is medical malpractice?
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys’ (ABPLA) website, medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient.
The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management. In the medical profession, it is a failure by a physician, hospital, or health care professional to perform his/her duty to a patient, resulting to worsening the patient’s condition, causing an injury or death.
As mentioned before, these are from errors in surgery and anesthesia, traumas in birth, wrong prescription, and the like. We all know that all medical procedures have risks, and this is the reason why doctors need to get their patients’ consent before performing a procedure and they should inform patients of the risk involved. If there is negligence, the services of a medical malpratice attorney is often sought by the victims’ families so they can get justice and compensation for the loss of their loved ones or to support the medical needs of their injured family members.
What does a medical malpractice attorney do?
A medical malpractice attorney represents patients or surviving family members of clients who are seeking legal action against medical practitioners who failed to provide the proper medical attention. It is good to note that a medical malpractice is very difficult to prove. This is why oftentimes it will take a gargantuan effort on the side of the accuser to show beyond doubt that the accused is guilty and yes, it takes a lot of time and a huge amount of money to do so. The medical malpractice lawyer must be exceptional in building a case for his/her client.
In the beginning, these lawyers may interview their clients, the medical professionals and other people involved in the case. They investigate what transpired and they do their research and analysis of medical records and doctors’ notes in relation to the case.
Evaluation of the medical condition of the patient is also done if the patient/client is still alive. They work with medical experts in order for them to make their own case theories and legal strategies. Experts, usually another doctor or healthcare professional, are called upon to express their expert opinion on the patient’s case so that the lawyer can conclude if the doctor who treated his/her patient deviated from the standard or simply just failed to do the right thing. Then, all the gathered evidence is pieced together.
Litigation, or performance of a legal action, is also a major task of medical malpractice lawyers. A lot of paperwork, legwork, medical examinations, interviews, are performed. For them, due diligence is a must at all times. Just like all lawyers, a medical malpractice attorney has a specialization for a particular type of medical malpractice like for surgery errors, birth traumas, and the like. Before becoming a medical malpractice attorney, one must go to college and finish law school then pass the State Bar. Board certification is oftentimes required from authorized organizations in the United States.
If you’re thinking of filing a medical malpractice claim or if you’ve been a victim of a medical malpractice, it is best to hire a competent medical malpratice lawyer who will file the right claim on your behalf and help you get compensated. Medical malpratice lawyers know how to negotiate the best possible outcome and can assign an economic value to the damages caused by negligence and medical malpractice.