Our lawyers are focused on medical malpractice claims. We have extensive experience handling complicated claims involving medical errors, and our knowledgeable legal team is prepared to thoroughly investigate your case. We will need to show exactly what happened and identify every party that may be held responsible. Our team will gather all the evidence and consult with outside medical experts to show that there is a clear basis for your claim.
Writing for the court in Alden, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that in view of this, and given the limited nature of congressional power delegated by the original unamended Constitution, the court could not "conclude that the specific Article I powers delegated to Congress necessarily include, by virtue of the Necessary and Proper Clause or otherwise, the incidental authority to subject the States to private suits as a means of achieving objectives otherwise within the scope of the enumerated powers."
Prominent physicians Nathan Smith and R.E. Griffith of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania respectively held the belief that medical malpractice lawsuits were beneficial and necessary, serving as a tool of accountability in a profession that was poorly regulated. The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 with the goal of promoting standardization of the profession, as well as elevating the standing of physicians in society. At the time, the vast majority of suits stemmed from orthopedic malpractice and deformations that resulted from botched amputations. As physicians sought to raise their own standards, higher patient expectations ensued. With the arrival of liability insurance for physicians, medical malpractice suits shot up in the States in the late 19th century.
Being unhappy with your treatment or the results of that treatment does not mean the doctor is liable or guilty of medical malpractice. The doctor must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, you must be able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor would not have if they were treating you under the same circumstances. The doctor’s care is not required to be the best possible, merely “reasonably skillful and careful”. Whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful is often at the heart of a medical malpractice claim.
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.
The medical industry uniquely benefits from broad autonomy and self-regulation. Standardization of care and general oversight work to balance physician autonomy, and some may say they even erode that autonomy to an extent. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) enforce patterns of practice to which providers must adhere. Emerging technologies throughout the 20th century paved the way for new treatment methods, but they also “raised patient expectations [while] multiplying the possibilities for mishaps.” In an examination of the interplay of autonomy and oversight, the Drexel Law Review wrote "Standardization and oversight serve to further reinforce patient expectations. By way of contrast, a disorganized profession typified by idiosyncratic practices discourages perceptions of consistent quality. Formal organization of the medical profession was intended, in part, to counter this characterization.”
Doctor Mistake, Serious Injury – Despite significant harm to the patient, sometimes it is impossible to prove a case of medical malpractice against a physician. For example, an older patient with a heart condition may die after receiving the wrong medication. After an investigation, experts may determine that although the physician prescribed the wrong medication, the incorrectly prescribed drug had the intended effect on the patient. In this case, there is physician negligence (for prescribing the incorrect medication), but no causation (the mistake did not cause the harm to the patient).
Medical malpractice claims don't only cover errors in diagnosis and treatment. Once you've established a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor owes you a duty of care and treatment with the degree of skill, care, and diligence as possessed by, or expected of, a reasonably competent physician under the same or similar circumstances. Part of that duty of care is to be forthcoming with your diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis, as reasonably competent physicians would not lie to their patients.