You’ve probably read in your Louisville newspaper or heard on TV or radio about people suing doctors or hospitals for “medical malpractice.” The term seems to imply that a medical professional did something deliberately to harm someone, but that is rarely the case.
Medical malpractice has more to do with making mistakes, overlooking important health details, and poor follow-up than with intentional endangerment of a patient. Alas, these goofs can irreparably harm or even kill the unfortunate victim.
Definition of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is an act of omission or negligence by a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional, resulting in harm to a patient. The harm could result from mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or health management.
The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), which is accredited by the American Bar Association to board certify medical malpractice attorneys, states that a medical malpractice claim must have the following characteristics:
- The standard of care was violated. For any medical situation, certain standards exist that are considered acceptable treatment by “reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances.” If medical care does not meet these standards, then the patient may claim negligence.
- An injury was caused by the negligence. A patient must prove that he or she suffered an injury that would not have occurred had there been no negligence and that the negligence caused the injury.
- The injury resulted in significant damages. Because medical malpractice lawsuits are very expensive to litigate, the patient must show that the damages are greater than the cost of pursuing the case. The patient has to prove that the medical negligence resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills.
Medical Malpractice Examples
The following are some examples by ABPLA of situations that may be considered medical negligence and could end up in a lawsuit:
- Failure to diagnose
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Surgical errors or surgery at the wrong site
- Improper medication or dosage
- Poor follow-up or aftercare
- Premature discharge
- Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history
- Failure to order proper testing
- Failure to recognize symptoms
A simple oversight or a seemingly small error by Kentucky medical professionals can result in lifelong misery or even death. The medical malpractice lawyers at Gray and White Law will listen to you describe the harm that you suffered, as well as the value to you of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Kentucky. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation, confidential consultation.