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Medical Malpractice Deaths 2017 | Can You Sue Your Doctor

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when the loss could have been avoided. Often in cases of medical malpractice, those who are left behind after a loved one's passing wonder why the doctor is not going to jail for murder. Is it possible for one to charge a doctor with murder when their treatment of a patient was so poor as to result in death?


Malpractice in the misdiagnosis of cancer may involve failure to order proper tests, failure to evaluate test results, failure to refer the patient to a specialist and failure to identify obvious physical symptoms. The most common types of cancer that are misdiagnosed include colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer. A delay in the diagnosis of cancer may allow the disease to advance and make the condition more difficult to manage.
Another motivating factor: A quick, honest “apology” might prevent a future claim, or provide an opportunity for a settlement without the need for litigation. Insurance companies typically want to settle with an injured person directly if they can, and this allows them to do so before the full extent of injuries are known, as well as preventing the injured person from hiring an attorney who could increase the settlement value of the claim through their representation.
A doctor cannot terminate care of a patient when the patient is at a critical stage of treatment, solely because the patient is unable to pay for the care. However, if the patient is in a stable condition and is given ample warning of the termination, a doctor may be able to stop treatment. For example, in a 1989 case in Iowa called Surgical Consultants, P.C. v. Ball, a patient had gastric bypass surgery and suffered abscesses afterwards. She sought treatment from the operating physician, who saw her 11 times post-surgery but then refused to continue seeing her because she had not paid her bill. This was not considered abandonment because the patient was not considered to be at a critical stage of treatment.
If you file a complaint with the medical board and then file suit, know that the medical board can only take administrative action against the doctor’s license to practice medicine. It can’t help you pursue a medical malpractice case. It also can’t disclose any information that it collects during the course of its review with you or your family members.
The biggest hurdle for patients to get over in bringing a claim is a law that sets up a defence for all professionals accused of negligence.  It says that if the professional acted in a way that was widely accepted in Australia by that professional’s peers as competent professional practice then the professional is not liable.  Note that ‘widely accepted’ does not necessarily mean that the majority of professionals have to agree to the practice.

This means that if a psychiatrist properly diagnoses and treats a condition, gives the correct medication and monitors it properly, the patient can still go after the doctor if she experiences a 1 in 10,000 complication simply by saying, "If I had known X about my doctor I would have chosen to be treated by someone else." Remember there is nothing in the appellate opinion to limit the range of potential background questions. We are focussing on his responses to direct questions by the patient, but the opinion wasn't really designed to delineate what duties (if any) are owed when patients ask personal questions. The appellate opinion just opens the door, and I'm raising the 'what if' questions.
The concept of medical responsibility is historically entrenched, with first mentions dating to the fabled Code of Hammurabi, which famously established the "eye for an eye" maxim. The code arguably offers the founding statement of medical malpractice law, reading “If the doctor has treated a gentlemen with a lancet of bronze and has caused the gentleman to die, or has opened an abscess of the eye for a gentleman with a bronze lancet, and has caused the loss of the gentleman's eye, one shall cut off his hands." Millennia later, "lancet" would become synonymous with the of concept medical responsibility in highbrow intellectual communities, and synonymous with medical malpractice itself. A famed British medical journal, The Lancet, borrows its name from the ancient code's provision. Britain would unwittingly spearhead efforts to legislate medical malpractice, establishing nomenclature and court decisions that would go on to become the ancestors of modern malpractice law.
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When someone is victimized by medical malpractice at a municipal hospital in New York City, a medical malpractice claim must be handled somewhat differently from a claim against a private hospital. Municipal hospitals are governmental entities administered by city officials – the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) – so the procedures for legal disputes are slightly different.
A a 2004 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report using data from a private actuarial firm and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that malpractice costs (excluding "defensive medicine") account for less than 2 percent of health care spending.[51] A 2006 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report for America's Health Insurance Plans (a health-insurer trade association) used the 2 percent figure and an extrapolation from the Kessler and McClellan report to estimate that the combined cost of insurance and defensive medicine accounts for 10 percent of total health care costs in the U.S.[52]
Doctor Mistake, Serious Injury – Despite significant harm to the patient, sometimes it is impossible to prove a case of medical malpractice against a physician.  For example, an older patient with a heart condition may die after receiving the wrong medication.  After an investigation, experts may determine that although the physician prescribed the wrong medication, the incorrectly prescribed drug had the intended effect on the patient.  In this case, there is physician negligence (for prescribing the incorrect medication), but no causation (the mistake did not cause the harm to the patient).

In most cases, a hospital is liable in the legal sense only if an employee’s negligence or incompetence results in injury to a patient. A medical malpractice lawsuit may be the proper course of action if a nurse, an aide, a technician, or any other hospital employee injures a patient by negligently performing or failing to perform a job-related task.
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical professional breaches the standard of care. In general, a standard of care is the accepted methods of treatment applied by other medical professionals in the area to patients with identical or similar conditions. A standard of care will vary depending on a number of factors, including geographic area, the age of the patient, and the medical condition.
The Seattle medical malpractice lawyers at The Tinker Law Firm, PLLC can help if you have reason to believe that you or a loved one was harmed by a negligent breakdown in the communication of medical test results. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of those injured by negligent medical care. For a free review of your case, complete our online contact form.
Once the complaint has been filed, pre-trial preparation begins with the discovery period. The discovery of facts is often accomplished in 2 different ways: interrogatories and depositions. Interrogatories are questionnaires that witnesses fill out and are typically used for gathering preliminary details. Depositions are face-to-face interviews in which witnesses are sworn in and transcripts of the interviews are transcribed, but they do afford the attorneys the opportunity to ask follow-up questions and gather more in-depth information.

The patient must also prove that the doctor's negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the patient's injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have -- had the correct diagnose been made in a timely manner -- and that this progression had a negative impact upon treatment. For example, because of a delayed cancer diagnosis the patient had to undergo a more severe treatment regimen (such as chemotherapy) or the patient died because the cancer had metastasized and no longer responded to treatment. Sometimes a patient can show harm even if the condition can still be treated. For example, with some cancers a delay in treatment increases the risk of recurrence.
Emotionally fragile patients. If a doctor knows that the patient is so distressed that he or she will refuse needed treatment, the doctor may not be required to get the patient's informed consent. For example, if a brain tumor is life threatening, but removal entails frightening risks like paralysis, it may be appropriate for the doctor to be vague in her description of the risks.
DJ I understand where you are coming from, and I also understand those that dont agree with you. I have 3 bulging disc/ degenerative disc disease. Until the age of 30 I never touched an opiate or abused anything for that matter. My injury stemmed for a high school sports injury, but I dealt with the pain by eating right, exercising and took a Tylenol when needed. At the age of 30 the pain started getting much worse I because my job and the businesses I owned demanded me to work long hours and were physically demanding. So when I just couldnt take it any longer I went to the doctor who prescribed me percocets for about 3 or 4 months and then referred me to pain mgmt. I really liked the doctor, he was kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart and unrelated he was interested in me as a person, he actually visited a few of my businesses, we didn’t hang out or anything but I thought of him as a friend in a way but understood we weren’t. So now that you understand this I want to make it very clear I never tried to take advantage of that, not once did I ever ask for a certain medication. I just felt blessed that I had a doctor that actually cared for my well being and that I was not just a jane doe diagnosed and treated by the statistics. He started me off with oxy and injections. The injections were not working so long story short we tried a wide variety of meds, most either didn’t work for me or I had an adverse reaction to. Finally after a few years I was put on opana and oxy and it worked. The problem was his practice got busy and so did he. The result was he was still nice but he did all the talking and it was mostly like”its been a couple months on this dose your tolerance has increased so let’s up your dosage”, until I was at 30mg opana 2x day and 30mg oxy 3x day. Things were fine for awhile but the drugs start to change my temperament. My work started to suffer, my relationships also were becoming strained, because my whole life revolved around my medications, yes I was pain free but at what cost? So here lies the the million dollar question. Who’s fault is it? Mine for wanting to be pain free and trusting that my doctor giving more and more was in my best interest, yes in a way it is my fault for being nieve to the fact I was going to beable to pop these powerful drugs for the rest of my life. So the government decides to crack down and me on this insane amount of opiates and doc takes meds away, what a sick cruel joke on me. So now knowing what I know, my doctor put me on opana because of kickbacks and kept increasing dosage because of $ and I know this because a majority of his patients are in the same boat, they topped out and all is fine till the government cracked down and doc got scared, reduced or dropped patient and we all are so surprised why the US is now flooded with heroin addicts. So my opinion is the doctors that were prescribing ridiculously large amounts to fatten there pockets, even if they weren’t doing for the kickbacks, and used tolerance or whatever, we trusted that they would have been smart enough to see what was happening in this country and when the government once again passed legislation without thinking about the result of there actions, these doctors would have a game plan, but no they all held up there hands and want to blame it on anybody but themselves. Shame on you doctor’s that liked playing the game while you were winning but quit and ran home crying when the rules of the game changed, that is why I hold you doctors responsible, and I do feel bad for the good ones that get fucked in the process, but didn’t us patients with real pain get fucked by doctor shoppers? Stand up for yourselves, get oganized and counter sued the government for passing legislation(unrealistic restrictions without making sure these poor people have a realistic way to get off theses doses safely, at no cost. Isn’t funny how these pill pushing doctor’s do a 180 because the big money can’t be made by having their patients hooked on powerful opiates so they jump ship accusing them off being addicts dropping them and putting them on suboxane which is not a pain medication and wonder why they have no choice but to become heroin addicts. I blame the doctors for turning us into pill addicts but I blame the government for turning us into heroin addicts. In the end tne patient loses because whoever is at fault the patient will suffer

Plaintiffs' lawyers say that the Texas law prevents patients from getting compensation or damages even in cases where the patient clearly deserves it. In particular, the “willful and wanton” negligence standard for emergency care, which requires that the harm to the patient be intentional, makes it impossible to win a case where the harm is clearly negligent but not willful.[48]

Investigation: Before a case is even filed with the Connecticut courts, it is essential that an initial investigation of the matter be completed. Our team works with medical experts in the field to determine whether medical negligence was committed by your doctor or any other medical professional. Our lawyers then determine how that negligence caused your injury.
Liability insurance eventually took its seat as a crucial player in medical malpractice suits. The Massachusetts Medical Insurance Society, founded in 1908, was among the first to provide and make mention of insurance against “unjust suits for alleged malpractice” in 1919. On one hand, the nascent brand of insurance offered physicians peace of mind; settlements and damages would be covered. On the other hand, it served to assure plaintiffs that every meritorious claim should be brought forward, as that claim would almost certainly see payment.
You must decide how you are going to fund the legal process. Most parties Personal Finance spoke to warned that the legal process is adversarial, long, arduous and emotionally and financially draining. How long it takes depends on the availability of court dates in a creaking, overloaded legal system. At your first appointment, your lawyer will give you a broad indication of the process involved and the likely costs. There are four options:

It is typically the referring physician who orders the tests, or the provider responsible for administering medical tests (a radiologist or pathologist) who is named as a defendant in a malpractice case involving failed communication of test results. Depending on the case, it may also be possible to hold the hospital itself, responsible for patient harm due to negligent failure to communicate the results of medical testing.


The "medical standard of care" is a legal concept that refers to the type and amount of care that a similarly-skilled and trained doctor would have provided under the circumstances. In abandonment cases, standard of care basically boils down to the question, "Would a reasonable doctor have terminated the doctor-patient relationship at the same point in treatment, and in the same way?"
The philosophy of our law firm regarding damages is simple: obtain the maximum monetary recovery possible for each client. We accomplish this by relying on our decades of experience to diligently prepare our cases for trial and aggressively advocate for our clients. Our financial resources, technological tools and access to outstanding experts in various fields allow us to provide top-notch representation to our clients.

Battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or has other unwelcome physical contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner. Battery may apply when patients are sexually or physically abused by their doctors. This can also occur when a doctor performs an incorrect surgery or medical treatment on the patient. Likewise, this can occur when a doctor does something to the patient without consent.
The first medical malpractice cases in the United States centered around a breach of contract and not failure to adhere to a standard of care. This meant that the defendant physician made some sort of express promise to skillfully render care and obtain a good result. Failure to do so was grounds for a suit. Five years after George Washington's inauguration, the country saw its first recorded medical malpractice lawsuit. A man sued the surgeon who operated on his wife and caused her to die, despite having made promises to the two that he would operate skillfully and safely. This breach of contract case resulted in a plaintiff verdict and an award of 40 pounds.
Let’s suppose that the doctor prescribed a medication that was wrong for you and you had an adverse reaction. But you were also prone to strokes, and you had a stroke. Unless the medication is known to increase the risk of strokes, the medication did not cause your condition, so while the doctor was negligent, he or she did not cause your predicament through that negligence.
The act of filing a complaint against a physician triggers a state medical board investigation of the physician for possible disciplinary action.  Realistically, there is only an extremely small chance that your complaint will result in disciplinary action against the physician.  Because state medical boards are composed of doctors, they likely feel a personal and professional kinship with the people they regulate and may be hesitant to discipline another member of their own profession.
On several occasions the NHS has screwed up and had to cancel an appointment both with GP and consultant. On each occasion, an alternative appointment has been made for within a week after having to wait maybe months to get one in the first place. Apparently these appointments are reserved in case private patients need them which begs the question how many appointments are wasted by the NHS?
Dr Obey Nhiwatiwa, who was the doctor on call at the Walvis Bay state hospital on the day Nghinamwaami was admitted, states in papers filed with the court that he intends to testify that after certifying the death of the baby he was informed by the nurses that “the mother was fine and I proceeded to attend to other patients and duties as the doctor on call at the time”.
Examples of medical malpractice involving doctors include making surgical mistakes, leaving medical instruments inside the body during a procedure, cutting tissue in error, interpreting test and lab results incorrectly, resulting in the wrong diagnosis, or treating a condition inappropriately. Examples of malpractice involving nurses include failing to communicate new symptoms to doctors, administering the wrong type or dose of medication and failing to use equipment correctly.

I tried to make an appointment with my GP only to be told I couldn’t get in to to see one for five weeks I couldn’t help but laugh. She said if it’s an emergency the doctor could ring me back so i explained to the receptionists my problem and she classed it an emergency appointment . So I waited all day with my phone next to me only to have a phone call from the receptionists to say the doctor had been called out on an emergency and would call me back in the morning. So all day I waited yet again for a phone call from the doctor, eventually the next day I received a missed call at 6.50 in the evening with a message from my GP apologising for the delay , and could I ring the following morning to see if I can get in because it’s clear I need to see a doctor. I do understand doctors are really busy but to me this is ridiculous . So I have now decided to. Change to a different doctors surgery which is a real shame because I’ve been at this surgery for 25 years.
The ancient Romans also had a legal foundation for medical malpractice law. Their first written laws, on the XII Tables, included the concepts of delicts, iniuria, and damnum iniuria datum. Delicts were types of wrongful conduct that involved penalties. Inuria and damnum iniuria datum were two types of delict. Inuria referred to personal injuries, and damnum iniuria datum referred to injury of property, which could include slaves. Inuria only included injuries that were intentionally caused. A person could be compensated for pain of mind or body as well as monetary expenses resulting from the injury. Damnum iniuria datum also included harm caused by negligent actions, but only mandated compensation for economic losses caused by harm to property. For example, if someone’s slave required medical attention as the result of another person’s negligent actions, they could demand payment through damnum iniuria datum. Eventually, this law was expanded to apply to free men in addition to slaves (O’Connel and Carpenter 1983).  
A hospital can be held liable for the negligence of its employees. Typically,  nurses are hospital employees. And in some cases, medical technicians and paramedics are also employed by a hospital. As long as the employee was doing something job-related when he or she injured the patient (who would be the plaintiff in the case), the plaintiff can sue the hospital over the injury.

Although it is not unheard of for a doctor to alter medical records, it is extremely rare. If your doctor does alter your medical records, this fact alone will not irreparably harm your case. There have been major advances in forensic technology over the past years. It is now possible to detect changes in ink, spacing, and handwriting that may have been made by your doctor when he tried to alter your records.
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