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Medical Malpractice

When a patient is harmed or dies due to the actions of a doctor of other medical professional, it may be a case of Medical Malpractice. It is of great concern and misfortune when a medical practitioner fails to competently perform their medical duties. The law firm of Goldfinch Winslow, LLC can provide sound solutions and reliable guidance for all facets of medical malpractice litigation.

There are various considerations to make note of in order to seek a medical malpractice action. These can include proof, statutes of limitations, and rules of notification to the doctor. These rules vary from state to state, however there are some general principles that can help in determining if an attorney can assist you.

There are requirements that need to be met for any medical malpractice suit: 

  • Proof that a physician-patient relationship existed.
  • Proof that the medical professional was negligent and a medical expert’s statement of what treatment would have been correct, reasonable, and careful.
  • Evidence that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury “more likely than not” and have a medical expert testify that the negligence caused the injury or death.
  • Evidence of specific damages caused from the injury or harm such as: mental anguish, physical pain, disability, added high medical bills, and lost wages.
  • Statute of limitations means that in the majority of states, one must seek a medical malpractice claim between six months and three years, depending on the state. If the lawsuit is not filed in time, it will be dismissed by the court. Some states begin the time period of limitation at the moment the negligence happened, while others begin when the patient should have discovered the injury.
  • Special medical malpractice review panels are required in many states. The patient plaintiff must first submit their claim to a specified malpractice review panel of experts. The panel hears arguments, reviews evidence, reviews the expert testimony, and determines if malpractice did in fact occur. The panel’s decision does not replace an actual medical malpractice lawsuit, and it does not award any damages. The results of the review panel can be shown in court, and courts will often agree to a panel’s finding to toss a case out before going to trial if the panel found no evidence of actual medical malpractice.
  • Evidence that the physician or medical professional was provided with notice of the malpractice claim is required in some states. The patient needs to provide a basic description of the claim prior to filing any other documents.
  • Qualified expert testimony is usually required at trials. They are generally persons with knowledge and experience in the particular medical field described in the claim. In rare circumstances expert testimony will not be required, such as when an item was left inside of the patient after a surgery.
  • Be aware that there are limits or caps on damage awards to medical malpractice patients in most states.

Situations that can commonly lead to medical malpractice claim: 

  • Delayed Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis, or Failure to Diagnose
  • Improper Treatment
  • Informed Consent: Patient was not properly warned of the known risks

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Birth Injury

Our attorneys at Goldfinch Winslow, LLC know that birth injuries can involve physical and emotional turmoil, and can place a financial burden on the family. Families often struggle with the costs of the special care, physical therapy, schooling, and medical needs for their children. When the negligence of a healthcare provider or doctor results in a birth injury, the family may be able to recover some compensation via a birth injury lawsuit. We will listen. Our experience with birth injury claims can help you determine the path to take that fits your individual needs.

In the unfortunate and sad situation of an infant’s birth injury, the child’s parents may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional(s) who performed the delivery of the baby. For a claim to have validity, the negligence must be shown to have led directly to the birth injury. When a healthcare professional’s performance falls below the expected standard of care, our birth injury attorneys use extensive experience to help in determining whether your child was injured due to medical malpractice.

Some medical causes of birth injuries are: insufficient pre-natal testing, delay in ordering a Caesarian, improper forceps use, improper vacuum use, hypoxia, rupture of the membranes, improper use of a labor-inducing drugs, and failure to diagnose placenta abruption, previa, or umbilical cord entrapment.

The failure to discover certain medical conditions in expectant mothers can also lead to birth injuries. These include failure to identify potential birth defects, ectopic pregnancies, neonatal lupus, preeclampsia, Rh incompatibility, anemia, gestational diabetes, or hypoglycemia.

Birth injuries can be caused by various and sometimes unavoidable factors. It is important to contact an attorney specialized in this area of law. The attorneys at Goldfinch Winslow, LLC will examine your medical records, diagnostic tests, electronic fetal monitor strips, and the use of any birthing tools. We also work with experts in the medical field to study and determine if medical malpractice contributed to your child’s injury.

Our legal experts review claims involving the following types of birth injuries: brachial plexus, brain damage, cerebral palsy, clavicle fracture, Erb’s palsy, facial paralysis, Klumpke’s palsy, head trauma, shoulder dystocia, congenital muscular torticollis (wry neck or loxia), and injuries resulting from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Due to the complexity of birth injury lawsuits, it is important to hire a skilled medical malpractice attorney experienced with obstetrical negligence. The statute of limitations only allows parents a specific period of time to take legal action, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

ER Malpractice

First responders such as firefighters, ambulance teams, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are somewhat protected by laws in the majority of states. These protections were created in order to maintain a robust emergency response system that can focus on saving lives rather than always being concerned about law suits. This does not mean that a first responder can get away with negligent or reckless behavior that causes injury to a patient. In fact, a proven blatant lack of reasonable care could be the grounds for a malpractice suit; and the first responder’s employer can also be held legally and financially responsible in these situations.

The normal malpractice laws and rules apply to emergency room nurses and physicians as the exceptions provided to first responders do not apply to ER personnel. There are also a few states that allow a hospital to be sued for emergency room malpractice.

Similar to all other medical malpractice claims, the injured patient has to be able to provide proof that a usually competent doctor would not have performed the same under the same circumstances. The proof of negligence can be more difficult as it is expected that in an emergency, normal calm consideration is not possible since an emergency requires quick thinking and fast moves.

Examples of emergency room negligence are: failure to detect complications, poor assessment of patient charts, medication errors, dosage errors, improper monitoring, and surgical errors.

If you have been injured due to emergency room negligence, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Goldfinch Winslow, LLC in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina can help you investigate the situation and determine who is responsible.

Hospital Malpractice

The law firm of Goldfinch Winslow, LLC is here to help you if you or a loved one has been hurt by the actions of a hospital. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety reported that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. Statistical data has shown that medical errors come in third in the nation’s leading causes of death, just behind heart disease and cancer.

If you feel you have cause for a case, there must be enough evidence available to prove hospital negligence. The proof that hospital staff did not provide reasonable care and that insufficient care was a direct cause of the injury is the most important step.

Hospital staff cannot be considered negligent only because their efforts were unsuccessful and if it was an acceptable treatment based upon the information the physician or staff had when the choice of treatment was determined.

There are special laws that apply to hospital malpractice cases. The guidelines are similar as those required in other malpractice cases such as: the statute of limitations period, documented expert opinion, and a signed statement from a hospital expert confirming that hospital malpractice may have been committed and became a direct cause of the claimant’s injuries.

When it is not made evident to the patient that the attending doctor is not a direct hospital employee, the patient may sue the hospital as a result of the doctor’s malpractice. Many hospitals seek to avoid this issue by informing patients within the admission paperwork that the doctor is not an actual hospital employee.

In the hospital emergency room, typically the hospital will not have ample opportunity to advise the patient of a physician’s employment status. This often allows for an injured patient the ability to seek a case against the hospital for their injuries caused by the emergency room care. If a hospital retains a dangerous or incompetent doctor on its staff, the hospital can be held responsible as per the laws in many states.

Similar to all other medical malpractice claims, the injured patient has to be able to provide proof that a usually competent doctor would not have performed the same under the same circumstances. The proof of negligence can be more difficult as it is expected that in an emergency, normal calm consideration is not possible since an emergency requires quick thinking and fast moves.

If you have been injured due to hospital malpractice, the experienced attorneys at Goldfinch Winslow, LLC in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina can help you.

Surgical Errors

Sometimes a patient can be injured from medical malpractice in the operating room. In an unfortunate situation, a surgeon may be negligent during an operation and the results can be minor to permanently damaging. Operating room injuries can be the result of error in determining organs for removal, punctured internal organs, or surgical instruments being left inside of the patient’s body. Serious infections could also occur due to the actions of negligent nursing staff during the operation or during the after care.

According to a study led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, surgeons make mistakes more than 4,000 times a year in the United States. They are only human after all. There were 9,744 cases of surgical errors reported and identified between 1990 and 2010. Out of those cases, 6 percent of the patients died, 32.9 percent were permanently injured, and 59.2 percent of the patients suffered a temporary injury.

It is of great misfortune when an operating room medical practitioner fails to competently perform their surgical duties correctly. The law firm of Goldfinch Winslow, LLC can help provide knowledgeable guidance in cases of surgical errors and medical malpractice litigation.

Anesthesia Errors

Often more dangerous than surgical errors, anesthesia mistakes can result in permanent injury, brain damage, or even death. One tiny error by the anesthesiologist can be life-altering for the patient.

Medical malpractice can be committed even before an anesthesiologist administers any drugs if they fail to inform the patient of the risks involved, fail to investigate the patient’s medical history for allergies or possible complications, or if they fail to clearly and firmly inform the patient to follow certain preoperative instructions – such as not eating for a certain period of time prior to surgery.

Anesthesia errors can mean the patient was provided with too much anesthesia, not monitored properly, that defective equipment was used, or that the patient was not correctly intubated.

In a journal published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, there were 2,211 recorded anesthesia-related deaths in the United States during the period of 1999–2005. The report also stated that each year in the United States, anesthesia or anesthetics are reported as the underlying cause in approximately 34 deaths – and contributing factors in another 281 deaths – with higher mortality risk in the elderly and in men.

An understanding of patient rights and procedural risks for yourself and your loved ones is very important.

Misdiagnosis

Many medical malpractice complaints stem from misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. If a serious condition like bacterial meningitis or cancer is not diagnosed properly or quickly by a physician who has been caring for a patient – it could lead to the patient missing out on receiving the treatment they need in time for it to be effective. This allows the condition or disease to become worse before it is treated. Misdiagnoses of a condition can also harm a patient, and sadly can also lead to their untimely death.

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can be proven as medical malpractice claims by documenting and comparing what the healthcare provider determined – or missed – with what another provider of the same competence and specialty would have done. If a reasonably skillful and competent physician would not have made the same diagnostic error under the exact same circumstances, then the treating physician could possibly be found liable for medical malpractice.

Nursing Home/Elderly

One of the difficult decisions for a family to make is the decision to place a loved family member in a nursing home or residential care facility. When a loved one’s health or mind deteriorates to the extent that they require focused attention, family members must determine the best method to handle the situation. A tremendous amount of trust is placed upon nursing home facilities to professionally and compassionately provide the care that their resident patients deserve.

The staff and management of a nursing home facility are responsible in ensuring the safety, and well-being of loved ones. Appallingly, nursing home malpractice and abuse is real. The emotional and physical injuries not only hurt the patient, but the entire family. In cases that it becomes apparent that a nursing home resident suffered neglect or harm, the family members feel their trust had been betrayed and can often feel heavy guilt and emotional distress for choosing the facility. The damage and injuries inflicted on the patient can be mental, emotional, or physical.

Signs of abuse and neglect are often hidden, so it is suggested that loved ones make frequent, random, and unannounced visits to the care facility.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can include: physical assault, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. The signs of abuse include malnutrition, bed sores, broken bones, bruises, abrasions, cuts, burns, dehydration, uncleanliness, mood changes, lack of appetite, withdrawal, and severe depression.

The legal right to compensation exists in the event that you or a loved one became the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse. If there is evidence or injury, you need to explore all of the legal options quickly due to the statute of limitations rules. Seek the advice of a trusted attorney right away.

Medicine Errors

Pharmaceutical medications can improve one’s quality of life and safe a life; however, the wrong medicine, incorrect dosage, or improperly tested drug can harm or kill.

Sometimes pharmaceutical companies may rush a drug onto the market before sufficient data has been collected through extensive testing. Testing is important in order to discover possible dangerous side effects, potential allergies, and medicine or food interactions. Sometimes drugs that were determined to be relatively safe can cause unfortunate consequences.

A study completed in 2006 found that medication errors harm up to 1.5 million people in the United States each year. Medication errors can occur due to incorrect prescriptions, improper administration, wrong dosage, or harmful interactions with other drugs. Patients could be adversely affected if the doctor prescribed the wrong medication or the correct drug may be provided to the wrong patient. A common prescription drug error occurs when the patient is given too much or not enough of a medication.

Situations that can cause drug errors include: physician wrote the dosage incorrectly on the prescription slip, the prescription is correct but medical staff administered an incorrect amount, or malfunctioning equipment administered drugs in too large of dose.

Medication errors do not just happen in the doctor’s office or at the hospital. Drug errors can also occur at the pharmacy or at the patient’s home.

If you feel that you or a loved one has been adversely affected by a medicine, or prescribed a harmful drug; contact Goldfinch Winslow, LLC. Pharmaceutical companies can be quite difficult to get help and answers from. Our experienced product liability and medical malpractice attorneys will fight for you and help you every step of the way.

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