At Wittenstein and Wittenstein, we believe that the role of an attorney should extend beyond knowledge of the law and how to apply it. Whether specializing in medical malpractice or another field of law, an attorney should be sensitive to the needs and concerns of each client, and regard them as a human being rather than a statistic. Let Wittenstein and Wittenstein represent you.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical Malpractice, otherwise known as medical negligence is an especially common occurrence. It occurs when a doctor, nurse or other health professional fails to provide their patient with thorough, professional care, which can lead to an array of different consequences, such as substantial loss of income, personal injury and in some extreme cases, death.
Doctors, nurses and other health care providers are expected to adhere to certain standards of practice and when they fail to do so, they can be held accountable if their patient somehow suffers as a result of their actions. Depending on the nature of the malpractice, the health care provider can be brought to court.
A medical malpractice attorney should be fully knowledgeable of the medical malpractice laws in their state and how to apply them appropriately. They must be able to prove that the medical professional violated or deviated from the appropriate standard of care and that the injuries sustained by the patient are a direct result of such negligence.
There are numerous examples of medical malpractice. Below are just a few:
Failure to Diagnose
Sally tells her doctor about a small lump in her left breast that she suspects might be a sign of the early stages of breast cancer. The doctor doesn’t take her seriously and Sally is forced to undergo a radical mastectomy (assuming that the cancer hasn’t already metastasized.) The doctor can be held accountable for failing to diagnose the cancer, as well as the financial, medical and emotional burdens Sally incurs.
Dan complains of severe and consistent pain in his chest. The doctor misdiagnoses it as indigestion and sends him home. Dan suffers a massive heart attack, but survives. The doctor can be held liable for an incorrect diagnosis, leading to unnecessary trauma for the patient.
During birth, a doctor fails to recognize fetal distress, thus resulting in loss of oxygen to the brain for a period of time. As a result, the baby suffers brain damage. The doctor can be held accountable for failing to recognize signs of fetal distress.
Dan goes to have back surgery and a doctor accidently leaves a piece of equipment inside of him. Dan could be entitled to compensation for having to undergo a second surgery to remove the medical tool.
What is a Birth Injury?
Giving birth to a child is a momentous event in a woman’s life, but even when in the hands of trained medical professionals, a pregnant woman can experience complications during labor and delivery that can affect her unborn child. These complications range in severity from treatable bruises to mental impairment. Some of these injuries happen purely by chance, but others can be the result of medical negligence. The following situations could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- If the baby is significantly larger than eight pounds and thirteen ounces, there is an increased risk of damage to both mother and child. If the doctor fails to suggest Caesarian section as an alternative method of delivery, and the mother sustains serious injuries (i.e. a tear in the vaginal canal), it could be grounds for a medical malpractice case.
- Signs of fetal distress (i.e. irregular heartbeat, lack of adequate oxygen to the brain, umbilical cord entanglement) that are undetected or ignored completely, which result in mental and/or physical impairment.
- A baby generally comes out headfirst, but if the buttocks or legs emerge first, the doctor must act in a timely fashion to get the baby out. Failure to do so can result in fetal death via suffocation.
- Misuse of child delivery equipment (i.e. forceps) that cause the child serious harm.
- The application of hormones intended to accelerate the birthing process results in complications for the mother or child.
We at Wittenstein and Wittenstein understand how frustrating it can be when a person isn’t feeling well and the doctor isn’t able to diagnose their condition. Without first knowing what the ailment is, it can be difficult for the doctor and the patient to agree on the appropriate course of medical action.
The following factors could hinder or otherwise complicate a medical diagnosis:
- The patient may have more than one medical problem which can complicate the diagnosis process.
- Perhaps for fear of a less than desired diagnosis, a patient may not be entirely truthful about their symptoms.
- Certain illnesses are usually rare in people belonging to certain age groups. For example, lung cancer is more common in older adults than young people, so a doctor may rule it out if the patient is young. Smoking is a major factor in lung cancer diagnosis, but it isn’t the sole catalyst for developing the disease.
- Although great strides have been taken, there is still a great deal about the human body that is not completely understood by the medical community.
At Wittenstein and Wittenstein, we believe that an attorney, irrespective of their area of specialization, should be sensitive to the needs and concerns of each client. Have you or someone you love been a victim of a surgical error? You may be entitled to compensation. Let a Wittenstein and Wittenstein lawyer represent you.
When a patient undergoes a surgical procedure, whether for cosmetic enhancement or health improvement, the surgeon and his assistants are expected to be cognizant of operation procedures and safety. The potential consequences of surgical errors, compared to other types of medical malpractice, can be especially grave.
The following are examples of surgical errors:
- Before operation, a surgeon fails to thoroughly inform their patient of the complications that could arise following the procedure.
- The patient develops a potentially life threatening infection after the surgery.
- If medication is required following the operation, the wrong kind is prescribed.
- A surgeon performs on the wrong patient.
- A surgeon performs on the wrong part of the patient.
- A surgeon accidently leaves a piece of equipment inside of a patient after an operation.