Medical malpractice occurs when a health-care provider deviates from the accepted standard of care in the treatment of a patient and, as a result, injures or kills a patient.
Medical Malpractice Facts
- The Journal of the American Medical Association and John Hopkins Medicine report that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
- Following cancer and heart disease, medical malpractice accounts for the loss of more than 250,000 lives every year.
- According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 50% of medical malpractice suits are filed against practicing surgeons.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 106,000 patients die each year because of the negative effects of their medication.
- The Institute of Medicine estimates that medication errors are the most common of medical errors, with 1.5 million people suffering injury from these mistakes each year.
What’s the difference between medical malpractice and simply a bad outcome?
Not all negative outcomes are indicative of medical negligence. In many instances, bad outcomes are related to known complications of a particular procedure or treatment. A key element in a medical malpractice case is where the professional in question has caused probable harm to the patient.
Anyone who provides medical services or is involved in patient care can be guilty of medical malpractice. This includes doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, attending medical staff, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and non-medical support staff at hospitals and doctors’ offices.
In some cases, medical malpractice claims will extend to include administrators, medical supply companies, and others who may contribute, however slightly, to patient harm.
What can patients do to lessen the likelihood that they’ll experience medical malpractice?
Being proactive about medical care is undoubtedly the best step. Patients should do research to understand their health condition, and document their symptoms. They should prepare and ask health-care providers a list of questions that they feel are important.
It’s also critical not to allow yourself to be intimidated by the medical system. Speak up and advocate for your own well-being. If patients sense that something is wrong, they should tell—or ask—their health-care providers. Although it’s important to trust your doctor or nurse, it’s also important to listen to your body … and use common sense. Also advisable: Have a family member or friend accompany you on important visits to health-care providers.
Scartelli Olszewski has been handling complex medical malpractice cases for nearly two decades. Our success in winning these cases is well-known. Because there is a Statute of Limitations, or time limit, that applies to medical malpractice cases, you should not delay in contacting a Scranton medical malpractice lawyer. For a free consultation with our team at Scartelli Olszewski, contact us today.