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Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional acts in a manner which results in the injury or death of a patient under his or her care. Medical professionals are held to high standards of competence and professionalism. When a medical professional fails to act in accordance with the accepted standard of care to which he is held and it results in harm to the patient, it is considered medical malpractice. Medical malpractice includes any treatment, lack of treatment, or other departure from accepted standards of medical care or safety on the part of a healthcare provider that causes harm to a patient. All hospitals are liable to their patients for the torts of its employees (doctors, residents, and interns).

Medical malpractice actions are governed by the Medical Malpractice Reform Act of 1985, which was designed to encourage a quick and less expensive resolution of medical malpractice claims. If a competent adult patient refuses treatment recommended by a doctor, the doctor must follow the wishes of the patient; otherwise, the doctor would be criminally liable for assault and battery. The doctor has no obligation to inform the members of the patient’s family that treatment has been refused.

If a licensed professional provides emergency services for which no compensation is sought and if the professional acted as a prudent member of the profession, he is not liable for any damages as long as the medical treatment rendered was in accordance with the accepted standard of care. However, if someone who is not a licensed medical professional tries to help someone during an emergency out of the goodness of his heart, he is liable for his actions and can be sued for negligence if the injured person suffers further damages or dies.

Useful Link:

  • Florida Statutes Related to Medical Malpractice - Title XLV

Common medical malpractice cases can include:

  • Failure to perform surgery or other medical procedure properly
  • Delay in treatment
  • Failure to properly explain medical procedure or potential side affects
  • Prescription errors
  • Failure to diagnose medical condition
  • Improper treatment

Medical malpractice can result in serious injuries, including:

  • Birth injury
  • Coma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Injured organs
  • Cardiovascular injuries
  • Amputation
  • Wrongful death

How to prove medical malpractice:

Successful medical malpractice claims should satisfy the following elements:

  • Injury: The doctor or health care provider accidentally caused an injury to the patient. It is often difficult to prove this element in a case because, most likely, you need another medical doctor to prove that the injury is connected to the actions of the doctor or health care provider. 
  • Negligence: Carelessness on behalf of the doctor or health care provider is negligence. It is necessary to show that the medical treatment provided by your doctor or health care provider was below the “accepted standard of care.” This is usually compared to what other doctors and healthcare providers in your community would usually do in a similar situation. 

Proximate cause means a cause that is legally sufficient to result in liability, a cause that directly produces an event and without which the event would not have occurred. Proximate cause must be proved to win a medical malpractice case. People have been led to believe that there are hundreds of thousands of medical negligence lawsuits every year and only a handful of genuine medical errors. In reality, the reverse is true. There are very few medical negligence lawsuits, and hundreds of thousands dying from preventable medical errors.

Statute of limitations

The time limit for filing medical malpractice claims varies depending on your injury. It is best to contact an experienced injury attorney for the exact limitations period.

How to win a medical malpractice case

It is often difficult to pursue a medical malpractice case because they typically involve numerous expert medical witnesses and complex medical facts. An injured person should hire an experienced lawyer to help him by providing the expertise needed to win.  If you or a loved one believes that you have been injured by a healthcare professional in Broward County, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney immediately to learn more about your rights, the value of your case, and the types of recoveries that are available to you. 

 

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