25 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FACTS

September 17, 2015 | Welcome
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Medical malpractice is a huge problem in the United States and results in injury and many deaths annually. Here are 25 things a person should know about medical malpractice.

  1. Medical negligence is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US.
  2. There are 80,000 to 100,000 deaths in the US annually as a result of an error in diagnosis
  3. 195,000 patients die in hospitals each year because of preventable errors.
  4. $38.8 billion was paid out for misdiagnosis of a patient between 1986 and 2010.
  5. There are approximately 15,000 to 19,000 suits filed each year in the US.
  6. A study by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine conducted a study in 2009 that concluded that the majority of medical doctors will face a lawsuit some time during their professional career.
  7. Malpractice causes a great deal of stress for medical doctors. This can lead to early burn-outs of their careers as well as depression.
  8. 80% of the lawsuits brought to court end up with no payouts at all.
  9. The key to a medical malpractice case is that the medical professional must violate the general standard of care of a patient as set forth by the medical community.
  10. The standard of care changes depending on the age of the patient and the location of the care.
  11. Two things have to be proven in order for there to be malpractice:
    1. Must be proven that the doctor made a mistake
    2. Must be proven that the mistake caused harm
  12. The injury or harm usually has to be substantial because of the high cost of litigation. There must be considerable injury to the plaintiff.
  13. The person harmed usually doesn’t have to pay any costs up front. The legal firm will cover all costs then only collect any fees if the plaintiff wins. Upon winning, the legal firm will get a percentage of the settlement.
  14. Legal cases taken to court can take months or years to fight. There is a statute of limitations to file any injury case which is usually about 2 years.
  15. An expert witness will be needed to testify to your injury and also testify that the medical professional made an error that caused your injury.
  16. Both the plaintiff and the defendant will present expert witnesses. They can cost up to $1000/hour.
  17. Medical negligence can happen during the diagnosis, during the treatment, or advice for treatment after an illness.
  18. The majority of malpractice cases are because of misdiagnosis of an illness.
  19. Some malpractice cases are a result of sexual misconduct by the attending physician. This is extremely difficult to collect on because of the difficulty proving substantial harm to the patient.
  20. Malpractice can also be considered in patients who did not give informed consent. If a patient isn’t notified of all the risks of a procedure, he may have a case if something severe happens as a result.
  21. 1 out of every 3 patients will be a victim of an error during a hospital stay.
  22. Many lawyers like to deal directly with the patient before they obtain legal counsel so they can settle for less money.
  23. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must disclose all evidence before there is a trial. Sometimes an agreement can be made prior to a trial and the suit can be settled out of court.
  24. If the case does go to trial, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. He must prove the defendant provided less than the standard of care for that particular case and region and then also prove the defendant’s care caused substantial injury.
  25. In the event of a trial, the case is decided by either the judge or a jury. Many times the losing party appeals the decision and prolongs the case even further.

As with any injury, the best advice to give is to consult an attorney. Don’t think that you don’t have a case until you have spoken to someone who can give you the best advice on what to do. A legal professional will have the best chance of telling you if you have a case of malpractice or not.

References

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248175.p What is medical Malpractice

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/05/16/10, by Demetrius Cheeks, article name is 10 Things You Want to Know about Medical Malpractice

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