When Californians aren't feeling well and seek treatment from a health care professional, they usually assume that the professional has the knowledge, training, and skill necessary to provide them with the appropriate diagnosis and care. In many cases, this assumption is correct. However, sometimes doctors, nurses, technicians, and other care providers make mistakes that cause serious injury, disability, and even death. If you or someone in your family suffered injuries due to such a medical mistake, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Not all mistakes constitute medical malpractice. In order for a mistake to be considered malpractice, the medical provider must deviate from accepted care guidelines in a way that results in a patient's injury or death. Medical malpractice could be something that your health care provider did that shouldn't have been done or something he failed to do. Medical malpractice can come in a variety of forms, including:
- Misdiagnosis. Receiving the correct diagnosis is essential to getting the appropriate care. If you're given the wrong diagnosis, you may receive treatment for a condition you don't actually have, while not receiving the medication you need.
- Surgical errors. A number of surgical errors can occur if surgeons fail to follow established procedures, including operating at the wrong site. Complications can occur after these surgical errors, including acute respiratory failure, blood clots, post-operative infections, metabolic issues, and wounds that reopen.
- Medication errors. A health care provider who administers the wrong drug or incorrect dosage can put lives at risk and cause serious injury.
- Birth injuries. Inadequate training in how to handle deliveries with complications can result in serious injuries to vulnerable newborns. If you can prove that a medical professional was at fault in a way that harmed your infant, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries.
- Anesthesia errors. Mistakes can be made when putting patients “under” before a surgery. These mistakes can include dosage errors, delayed delivery of anesthesia, dangerously prolonged sedation, failure to recognize complications, and failure to fully inform the patient.
- Monitoring errors. Most patients need to be monitored after treatment or surgery to ensure proper post-care and medication. Injuries can occur when medical professionals fail to monitor a patient appropriately.
- Treatment errors. Health care professionals are expected to follow medical protocols when treating patients with serious or long-term conditions. A provider who deviates from these protocols, by providing treatment that's too lax or too aggressive, may cause serious injury to his patient.
- Emergency room errors. Emergency room staff members are trained to treat the most serious injuries first. If the staff incorrectly determines that your injury wasn't serious enough for immediate treatment and a negative result occurs from that decision, you may be able to claim medical malpractice.
The Burden of Proof for Medical Malpractice
Doctors aren't the only medical professionals who can face lawsuits for medical negligence. Other health care providers such as nurses, medical technicians, paramedics, dentists, and chiropractors can also be responsible for medical malpractice.
A malpractice case may seem clear cut to the injured patient, but these types of cases can be difficult to prove. In order for a claim to be considered medical malpractice, you must be able to prove the following:
- The medical professional failed to follow accepted standards of care. Industry best practices exist to keep patients and providers safe. If a health care professional fails to follow these standards, he may be found negligent.
- The patient sustained injuries as a result of the provider's negligence. It's not enough to prove that a health care professional was negligent; you must also prove that the negligence resulted in serious injury.
- The injuries resulted in significant damages. Once you've shown that there was negligence that resulted in an injury, you must also show that the injury caused damages such as serious pain, financial strain due to medical bills, or lost wages due to the inability to work.
Have You Been Injured by the Negligence of a Medical Professional? Our Attorney Can Help.
If you or a family member suffered injuries as a result of mistakes made by a medical professional, you may be entitled to seek compensation. However, because medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove, you'll likely need the representation of a legal team who has extensive experience with these types of cases. The knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you build a strong case. With offices in Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville, we’re proud to serve Fontana and the entire Inland Empire/High Desert region. Contact us today at 909-481-0100 or toll-free at 888-694-3529 for additional information.