Medical malpractice cases are inherently complex and difficult to prove. There is no law that says, “If this doctor failed to do X procedure in Y amount of time, negligence has occurred”. You’ll need to find a lawyer with experience in medical malpractice cases (these lawyers typically have a medical expert available to look into potential cases) to look at the facts of your case, and determine if all the required legal and medical elements are there, to justify pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The federal government recognizes tribal nations as "domestic dependent nations" and has established a number of laws attempting to clarify the relationship between the federal, state, and tribal governments. Generally speaking, Native American tribes enjoy immunity from suit—in federal, state, or tribal courts—unless they consent to suit, or unless the federal government abrogates that immunity. However, individual members of the tribe are not immune. Under certain circumstances, a tribal official acting in his or her official capacity, and within the scope of his or her statutory authority, may be cloaked with sovereign immunity. But if a tribal official's tortious acts exceed the scope of his or her authority, the official is subject to suit for those acts. See Cosentino vs. Fuller, Cal. Ct. App. (May 28, 2015).
Most states have modified the locality rule to include both an evaluation of the customary practices of local physicians and an examination of national medical standards. Physicians are called to testify as expert witnesses by both sides in medical malpractice trials because the jury is not familiar with the intricacies of medicine. Standards established by medical specialty organizations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, are often used by these expert witnesses to address the alleged negligent actions of a physician who practices in that specialty. Nonconformance to these standards is evidence of negligence, whereas conformance supports a finding of due care.
3. Evidence - keep track of any evidence which could be relevant to your case. Keep detailed records of your appointments with your GP, together with records of any telephone consultations and referral appointments. Your solicitor will arrange to obtain and copy of your medical notes and x-rays. You will have to pass this information on to your lawyer and it will be a lot easier if you have it at hand. Keep any prescriptions, receipts from further treatments, notes of further treatment and a diary detailing the progression of your health issues. For example, if you fell ill with appendicitis and your GP failed to diagnose it, you should keep a note of the progression of your condition, if you are well enough to do so. All of this is not vital, but very helpful.
While an investigation against your doctor could lead to the revocation of his license, such action is rare. Only in the most extreme cases, where the Board feels that your doctor is a threat to the well-being of his patients, will his or her license be revoked. The Board could decide to take lesser action such as limiting his license, issuing a censure and reprimand, or require him or her to attend training.
It is also important that you answer all our questions fully and truthfully, as any missing or incorrect information given could severely reduce the chances of winning the case or securing the maximum compensation. It is also worth noting that there is a time limit of three years which applies to clinical negligence claims. We will discuss this with you during our initial telephone call to determine the best we can whether you are within time to bring the claim.
A study by Michelle M. Mello and others published in the journal Health Affairs in 2010 estimated that the total annual cost of the medical liability system, including "defensive medicine," was about 2.4 percent of total U.S. health care spending. The authors noted that "this is less than some imaginative estimates put forward in the health reform debate, and it represents a small fraction of total health care spending," although it was not "trivial" in absolute terms.
Filing a complaint against a doctor with your state’s medical board is usually the first step in bringing disciplinary action against a doctor. Although the particulars vary by state, when the board receives complaints against doctors, it enters them into a system. The board then reviews complaints or refers them to another agency if needed. The medical board may ask to see medical records. If you complain about a doctor, the medical board will not disclose your identity.
Keep in mind, the standard of care differs from region to region and takes your doctor’s level of education and experience into account. As a result, a rural internist with a small private practice is not held to the same standard of care as a board-certified infectious disease specialist practicing in a cutting edge urban hospital. The well of knowledge and experience from which each doctor is drawing is vastly different.
The majority of the American public supports reforms to the malpractice system. However, surveys show that the majority of the American public also vastly underestimate the extent of medical errors. Recent research has shown that while both health consumers and health producers are concerned about some of the adverse consequences of healthcare litigation, health consumers perceive that increased healthcare litigation can reduce the incentives for negligence on the part of healthcare providers.
A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence. Skillful doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when using reasonable care. The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis. This means looking at the "differential diagnosis" method the doctor used in making treatment determinations.
Damage: The physical and/or monetary costs to the plaintiff that resulted from negligent acts by the medical provider. An example of damage would be a physician assistant’s failure to diagnose the right medical condition which then caused the patient to become sicker, to spend more money on additional therapy, and to incur lost wages for missing work.
Regardless of the type of medical test performed, if the results are not communicated in a timely and appropriate manner and the patient subsequently suffers harm, it may form the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Harm, however, must be suffered, as a patient who suffers no injury after a failed communication will probably have no basis for a lawsuit.
The more common (and some believe more reliable) approach used by all federal courts and most state courts is the 'gatekeeper' model, which is a test formulated from the US Supreme Court cases Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 ), General Electric Co. v. Joiner (522 U.S. 136 ), and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (526 U.S. 137 ). Before the trial, a Daubert hearing will take place before the judge (without the jury). The trial court judge must consider evidence presented to determine whether an expert's "testimony rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the task at hand." (Daubert, 509 U.S. at 597). The Daubert hearing considers 4 questions about the testimony the prospective expert proposes:
Among the leading causes of medical misdiagnosis is a failure to communicate diagnostic test results. Communication of a diagnosis is arguably as important as the diagnosis itself. Patients deserve to know the results of the medical tests they receive in a timely manner. Test results should also be communicated from the lab or testing facility to the medical providers responsible for the patient’s treatment.
Where the Canadian system differs most significantly from that of the United States is in how health insurance is provided. In Canada, all of the provinces have a single health insurance program that covers virtually all residents. For example, Ontario has the Ontario Health Insurance Plan and Quebec has the Quebec Health Insurance Plan. The federal government subsidizes these provincial health insurance plans through its general revenues. There are no separate payroll deductions to fund the health care plans and Canada does not have a separate old-age health care program like Medicare in the United States.
Examples of doctor negligence involve patients' complaints not being taken seriously enough, illnesses being incorrectly diagnosed, GPs refusing to carry out blood tests, incorrect or inappropriate medication being administered, incorrect doses of medication being prescribed, referrals to specialist consultants not being made in time or at all and follow up appointments/treatments not been carried out quickly enough . They can also include serious illnesses (such as cancer) being misdiagnosed as something less serious, broken or fractured bones going undiagnosed due to lack of referral for x-ray, failing to follow-up on a patient’s complaints and concerns, failing to correctly identify an illness or injury and treating an injury or illness in a manner which leads to complications and/or further injury or illness.
The FTCA basically carves out a limited exception to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. As it applies in the context of claims against the Veterans Administration, the law only allows veterans to sue to recover damages incurred due to negligence of an employee or agent acting “within the scope of their employment.” Furthermore, the law only allows for damages if the plaintiff would ordinarily be entitled to damages even if the negligence or omission was due to the actions of an employee of a private company, under the laws in effect where the incident happened.
When a claimant uses this exception, the state cannot be included in the suit; instead, the name of the individual defendant is listed. The claimant cannot seek damages from the state, because the claimant cannot list the state as a party. The claimant can seek prospective, or future, relief by asking the court to direct the future behavior of the official.
Suing the Government under the FTCA is different than suing a private company or individual. There are a number of hoops that you have to jump through before you can even file the lawsuit. There are also certain limitations in lawsuits against the Government that you don’t have in lawsuits against private parties. While you are entitled to a trial under the FTCA, it is a “bench trial,” meaning the judge renders the decision and not a jury. Fortunately for the victims in the above-referenced malpractice case, the judge recognized the serious and permanent nature of the child’s injuries and the extraordinary expenses that would be required to provide for the child’s future medical and life care needs.
At some point, the hospital might make an offer to settle the case. So, it is important for the patient to determine the value of the case. The patient should consider all possible losses and harm stemming from the malpractice, including, past and future medical expenses, past and future wage losses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life (the decreased value of a person’s life as a result of the injury, measured by changes in lifestyle, such as the loss of the ability to enjoy sports, walk or play with children), and loss of consortium (losses to family members as a result of the injury, measured by loss of companionship or the loss of the ability to engage in certain activities).
The first medical malpractice cases in the United States centered around a breach of contract and not failure to adhere to a standard of care. This meant that the defendant physician made some sort of express promise to skillfully render care and obtain a good result. Failure to do so was grounds for a suit. Five years after George Washington's inauguration, the country saw its first recorded medical malpractice lawsuit. A man sued the surgeon who operated on his wife and caused her to die, despite having made promises to the two that he would operate skillfully and safely. This breach of contract case resulted in a plaintiff verdict and an award of 40 pounds.
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But Clink, this isn't a case of the patient saying "If only I had known about this" it's a case of the patient saying "If the doctor hadn't lied about this when I asked." Those are two very different things. In the former case, you could say that it was something that the patient hadn't thought of beforehand and that the doctor wasn't obligated to disclose. In the latter, the patient did think about it beforehand, expressed that they considered it to be something that they needed to know, and the doctor deliberately gave them inaccurate information. You can't draw a line from one to the other that easily.
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Doctor Liability, Damages Are Small – Some states have enacted tort reforms that apply caps to the amount of money an injured patient can recover from a medical malpractice claim. Under these caps, a patient may only be entitled to a $250,000 verdict. While this amount of money may seem large, the patient must share that money with expert witnesses, investigators, and attorneys. In the end, the patient’s financial recovery may be slight. Attorneys may hesitate to take a case if it seems like the recovery will be negligible. However, some patients are more concerned with filing suit as a matter of principle than as a means of financial recovery. Sometimes lawyers are willing to take a case to help the client make such a statement.