Elizabeth A. Hancock

What is Medical Malpractice? 5 of the Most Common Causes.

According to John’s Hopkins Medicine, medical malpractice incidents account for 10% of all deaths in the United States. That statistic makes it the third-highest cause of death in the country. Yet, despite these alarming figures, these cases tend to be under-recognized. Patients’ families and friends accept it as part of the risk.

Not every medical error is medical malpractice, and patients mustn’t falsely accuse doctors just because the outcome of their care wasn’t what they wanted or expected. However, it’s equally important to know how to identify a case of medical malpractice so you can receive compensation. 

In this post, we’ll look at the five most common causes of medical malpractice so you can better identify the signs.

Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

If you think you or a loved one is a victim of a medical error, you’ll need a medical malpractice lawyer. Find one that will provide you with an initial consultation, as determining whether or not your case is worth a lawsuit is crucial. Attorney Elizabeth Hancock evaluates each case individually. If you indeed have a medical malpractice case, she’ll start to gather information and details about the incident. 

Any medical malpractice attorney’s job is to prove one key thing: that the medical staff did not meet the appropriate standard of care. If your lawyer can’t prove that, then you probably don’t have a case. 

Despite injuries and deaths being so high from medical errors, medical malpractice cases aren’t as common as you may think. In 2015, 68% of claims were either dropped, withdrawn, or dismissed before trial. And of the 7% of cases that did go to trial, the defendants won 88% of them. If you think you have a medical malpractice case, it’s essential to be sure. And that’s where a medical malpractice lawyer comes into play.

What is Medical Malpractice? Identifying the 5 Most Common Causes.

First, to help you better grasp the idea of an appropriate standard of care and whether or not you need a medical malpractice lawyer, here are five of the most common examples of medical errors.

#1 — Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses are the number one cause of medical malpractice cases. If a physician doesn’t diagnose an illness or ailment correctly or on time, that can easily result in further injury, longer stretches of recovery time, or even death. In many misdiagnosed conditions, the treatment causes severe side effects that harm the body in other ways. Imagine being diagnosed with a cancerous tumor, undergoing rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, only to discover it was just a benign cyst. In this example, the treatment for the misdiagnoses would cause additional harm to your body.

Remember, your medical malpractice attorney must prove that the doctor didn’t meet the appropriate standard of care. How would she do that? By demonstrating that a more competent doctor, while in the same situation, wouldn’t have made a mistake. This strategy puts the responsibility on the physician.

#2 — Injury or Death During Pregnancy or Childbirth

Unfortunately, there are several ways that a doctor can injure a fetus or the mother before, during, or after childbirth. Simultaneously, some fetal injuries are naturally occurring, so it’s essential to distinguish fault in these cases. Did the doctor not correctly diagnose medical conditions like preeclampsia or anemia? Did the doctor improperly use equipment or fail to anticipate a complication? Was the doctor negligent when advising prenatal care? Your lawyer will need to dig deeper to determine fault in these cases.

#3 — Anesthesia 

Mistakes involving anesthesia are not quite as common as surgical cases — but with anesthesia comes a much more heightened risk. Sometimes the anesthesiologist administers too much or too little, or perhaps they aren’t paying attention to vital signs, and then an incident occurs. In some cases, the hospital uses defective equipment or intubates the patient incorrectly. All of these can cause injury or death and do not provide an appropriate standard of care. 

#4 — Informed Consent

If you find out that a doctor or nurse did something without the patient knowing, it’s undoubtedly malpractice. Doctors are obliged to follow patient wishes and cannot act on their own without consent. For example, let’s say the patient chooses one course of treatment, and the doctor decides at the last minute that another approach is better, and that decision results in injury to the patient. In that case, the patient didn’t receive information about the treatment and/or the doctor acted without consent.

#5 — Infection

Believe it or not, hospitals are hotbeds for infections, and it’s not uncommon for patients to develop them after surgery. One of the most common infections is staph infections, in which some varieties have become resilient to antibiotics. Without taking the proper precautions, you or a loved one could contract an illness, and rarely do hospitals divulge this risk.

How to Prove Doctor Negligence

To receive compensation for medical malpractice, your lawyer must prove doctor or practitioner negligence — as in, they didn’t meet the standard of care. Elizabeth Hancock builds a case by gathering details and developing arguments that prove medical malpractice. She will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. But Elizabeth’s focus goes beyond that — she also strives to hold the doctor accountable to ensure that these errors don’t happen again. 

If you have any questions or require a medical malpractice lawyer in Louisiana, get in touch with Attorney Elizabeth Hancock, and she’ll review your case.

Elizabeth A. Hancock

Call Attorney Elizabeth Hancock when you need effective legal representation after an accident. Attorney Hancock is a reputable personal injury and medical malpractice attorney at the firm of Morris and Dewett, LLC in Shreveport, Louisiana. She'll work tirelessly on your case to reach the best possible conclusion. Call her today to arrange a consultation.


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