While the modern American medical system delivers miracles on a daily basis, it also is responsible for millions of mistakes each year.  These mistakes have real consequences – according to Johns Hopkins patient safety experts, 250,000 deaths each year can be attributed to medical error in the U.S.  The risk of serious injury and death is particularly grave for inpatient hospital admissions.  The causes of medical errors are many and include negligence by medical providers, poor communication between medical staff, and medication errors.

               The legal system is the primary mechanism by which patients receive compensation for injuries and death caused by medical malpractice.  Under Florida’s medical malpractice laws, a patient can recover from a provider who is found to have committed medical malpractice both economic damages, and non-economic damages.  In certain situations, he may also recover punitive damages.  Economic damages include the present and estimated future costs of medical treatments of the injury caused by the medical malpractice, as well as lost income and estimated loss of future income.  Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and worsening of prior injuries.  Punitive damages may be recovered for injuries caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

               In order for you to make a successful medical malpractice claim, you must show that a medical provider or providers failed to diagnose or treat you according to the applicable standard of care.  Florida law defines the standard of care to be the level of care that would be exercised by a reasonably prudent medical provider in the accused provider’s specialty or medical community.  There are inherent risks to all medical procedures.  For this reason, not every injury that results from a medical procedure qualifies as medical malpractice.  If you feel that you may have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, contact us for a free consultation to assess your options.

Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims:

1.  Surgical Errors – surgeries are complex procedures in which decisions must often be made at the spur of the moment.  It is therefore no surprise that errors frequently occur in this situation that causeharm to the patient.  Common surgical errors include damage to tissues and organs adjacent to the surgical site, incision and/or surgery on the wrong site, and failure to remove surgical equipment from the site of surgery once the operation has ended.

2. Anesthesia Errors – anesthesia errors can cause serious harm and death.  This type of error is therefore often the basis for medical malpractice suits.   Specific mistakes in the provision of anesthesia care include: failure to thoroughly investigate the patient’s medical history for potential anesthesia complications, failure to monitor the patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia, and improper intubation techniques.

3.  Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis – A medical professional has the obligation to do a physical assessment, take your medical history, and make a reasonable diagnosis based on these factors.  It is not uncommon for a doctor to fail to diagnose a disease based on symptoms that usually indicate a benign situation.  For example, a mass is more often benign than cancerous, so a doctor may fail to diagnose cancer or order additional tests on this basis alone.  Whether a failure to diagnose is medical malpractice depends on whether the jury finds, after hearing testimony from expert witnesses, that the doctor breached the applicable standard of care.  The diseases that are most often implicated in claims for failure to diagnose are heart disease and cancer.

4.  Medication errors -  Prescription medication errors are a huge problem both in the inpatient and outpatient settings.  According to the Food and Drug administration, errors in the prescription and administration of prescription drugs injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States alone. 

               A doctor may be liable for prescribing the wrong drug, the wrong dose, or failing to check other drugs that a patient takes for possible interactions.  A pharmacist may also be held liable for failing to check potential interactions among all of a patient’s medications prior to dispensing a prescription medication.  Doctors and nurses make medication errors when they administer a medication that wasn’t ordered, give an incorrect dose, or use an improper method of administration.  Classes of drugs that are most often involved in litigation over medication errors tend to be those that have potentially serious adverse effects such as blood thinners, antibiotics, and corticosteroids.


Contact a Dedicated Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice injuries can cause long-term hardship and emotional devastation to the victim and their loved ones.  If you have suffered harm because of the negligence or misconduct of a medical professional, contact Clarke Law P.A. today.   I am smart, experienced and dedicated to protecting your rights!