When a person is told that a loved one must have surgery, it can be a fearful time regardless of whether the surgery is routine or rare. As anyone who has undergone or watched a loved one go through a medical procedure knows, prior to the procedure the physician will ask that many forms are completed with regard to the known risks and potential hazards associated with a surgery. These forms have been created in an attempt to limit a physician’s or hospital’s liability for any injury that occurs during or pursuant to the medical procedure. What many people may not know is that a doctor is not immune from being held accountable for mistakes made during a surgical procedure.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional provides substandard care or treatment to a patient, which resulted in the harm, injury or death of a patient. Substandard care may take the form of a specific action that should not have been taken, or a physician, nurse or surgeon failing to take a certain action when action was necessary. To clarify, a healthcare provider is not responsible for all injuries suffered by a patient under their care, but only those injuries that were received as a result of their deviance from the level of care that they should have provided.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When a patient dies as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, the family of the patient may file a lawsuit based on the wrongful death of their loved one. Medical malpractice cases can affect people regardless of economic class. While the case filed by the widow of the late Bernie Mac has been withdrawn, it brought to light many common issues dealing with wrongful death claims stemming from alleged medical malpractice. Wrongful death claims can be difficult to prove, as it generally requires a showing that a doctor in a similar field under similar circumstances would have acted differently than the doctor accused of malpractice. For example, proving that a doctor’s negligent diagnosis caused the wrongful death of a patient would likely require a showing of one of two things: that the doctor did not provide the correct diagnosis to the patient where a skilled, competent doctor would have; or, that the doctor provided the patient with the correct diagnosis but did not conduct the appropriate tests or ask for help from specialists to ensure the diagnosis was correct.
Losing a loved one can be a difficult and overwhelming time, and filing a lawsuit is possibly the last thing on the minds of grieving family members. However, when someone is injured at the hands of a physician, it cannot be assumed that the physician provided the level of care to which their patient was entitled. While nothing can bring a loved one back, investigating a possible wrongful death claim is important to ensure that healthcare providers are held responsible for the dereliction of the duty they owe to every patient entrusted to their care. An attorney at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. can help you learn more about your options for recovery. Contact the Antioch offices today for a consultation.