According to Statista, there were recently more than 12,000 clinical negligence claims reported to the NHS in England in one year.
And according to the Medical Malpractice Centre, between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice lawsuits occur every year in the United States.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or organisation neglects to provide the correct treatment, gives a treatment that causes harm, or omits to take appropriate action that results in a patient experiencing harm, an injury, or death.
Most commonly, medical malpractice involves medical errors like misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, incorrect medication dosage, and lack of aftercare.
Sadly, medical malpractice happens all too often. But who covers the cost of these medical mistakes?
Holding the responsible parties to account and gaining compensation
The cost of medical malpractice can be extreme. People can lose their lives due to medical mistakes.
Regardless of how minor or major the incident is, at least people who experience medical malpractice, and the loved ones of people who die due to medical errors, can claim compensation to bring the responsible party or parties to account and gain financial compensation.
By filing a lawsuit, you can gain damages for the cost of the malpractice. That includes being fairly compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, you should get advice from an experienced personal injury law firm like Wieandlaw.com as soon as possible.
To ensure your costs are covered, the individual or organisation you deem responsible for the malpractice has to be proven to be liable. That is why you need a lawyer on board – to prove that the individual or organisation is responsible.
Your lawyer will build a case and present evidence at a trial. Doctors and other experts will be called to testify. When it is proven that the individual or organisation was to blame for the medical malpractice, you will be awarded the damages you are entitled to.
What kind of damages can be awarded?
Loss of current and future earnings, medical expenses, and life care expenses are the economic damages that a plaintiff can receive.
They are known as compensatory damages. But compensatory damages can also include non-economic damages. They address the psychological and physical harm the medical mistake caused.
Punitive damages, which is a form of punishment, can also sometimes be awarded, but only when the defendant is found guilty of malicious or wilful misconduct.
Who could be responsible?
When we talk of individuals or organisations that could be responsible for medical malpractice, those individuals and organisations consist of numerous types of practitioners and healthcare providers.
Doctors, nurses, and all sorts of other health care professionals could be responsible. So could care home members of staff and maintenance employees. Pharmaceutical companies and entire hospitals could also be liable for malpractice.
What is medical malpractice?
Although we looked at what medical malpractice is in the introduction, let us delve deeper.
The thing that separates human error from negligence, with regards to medical malpractice cases, is whether the mistake was avoidable.
However, negligence is not always the cause of medical malpractice. For instance, an incident could occur because a doctor was following standard procedures; and the error was due to those procedures.
Here are just a few examples of medical mistakes that result in lawsuits:
- Surgical errors, such as incorrect surgery, unnecessary surgery, or leaving items inside a person’s body after surgery
- Treatment errors
- Misdiagnoses and late diagnoses
- A breakdown in communication
- Insufficient monitoring
- Equipment failures
- Failure to order appropriate tests or act on test results
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication
David Tobin did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.