Most people have complete trust in their doctor. After all, our doctors are responsible for our health and well-being so having that trust is crucial. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes make mistakes, and those mistakes can mean a matter of life and death – literally. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia personal injury attorneys have been advocating for medical malpractice victims and their families for more than 30 years and understand how catastrophic these cases can be.
What Are the Elements Needed to Prove Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be caused by the actions of a physician, hospital, or any other healthcare provider. There are three elements that must be present whenever a patient is injured or develops a medical condition in order to be classified as medical malpractice. These elements are:
- There was a violation of the recognized standard of care. Medical providers are required to follow certain standards that are recognized by the medical community as being acceptable. Every patient has the right to expect that their medical provider will uphold that standard of care. If the medical provider fails to provide that standard of care, then it is legally considered negligence.
- The patient suffered an injury due to that negligence. If the medical provider was negligent, but the patient was not injured, then it is not considered malpractice since the patient has not suffered any loss. However, if the patient did suffer an injury and that injury was a direct result of the provider’s negligence, it is medical malpractice.
- The patient suffered significant damages and losses as a result of the injury. These damages can include significant medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and disability.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many different types of negligent actions that can be deemed medical malpractice. The most common actions or behaviors include:
- Discharging a patient too soon from the hospital
- Failure to act on diagnostic test results
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to follow up with a patient
- Failure to order diagnostic testing
- Failure to protect patients from developing possibly fatal infections in the hospital
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Ignoring patient’s symptoms
- Leaving objects inside a patient’s body during surgery
- Prescribing incorrect medications or dosages
- Surgery on the wrong body part
- Surgical errors
- Unnecessary surgery
When you are looking for a medical provider or will be a patient at a hospital, make sure to research information that is available to ensure that the providers you are choosing to not have any histories of malpractice. You can check the state’s medical board and licensing board to see verify medical school records and board certifications, as well as any disciplinary history.
Let a Virginia Malpractice Attorney Help
Victims of medical malpractice often have their lives severely impacted. The injuries they sustain often leave them with much pain and suffering. Victims are left with high medical expenses and financial struggles from being unable to work. And in too many cases, families are left without their loved ones because the victims do not survive the injuries.
If you or a family member has been a victim of a medical practitioner’s negligence, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to set up a free case evaluation with one of our dedicated Virginia malpractice attorneys.