Many clients call us because they have questions about whether the care that they or a loved one received was appropriate and acceptable. We can provide answers to those questions because of the extensive and wide ranging expertise that we have in evaluating and litigating medical malpractice cases.
Medical malpractice cases require substantial expertise and preparation. Comparatively few attorneys concentrate their practices in this area of law. Health care professionals are never eager to admit malpractice and these cases are often aggressively litigated. At Dempsey and Kingsland we combine outstanding medical expertise and outstanding legal expertise to bring medical malpractice cases to a successful outcome.
For those who are unfamiliar, medical malpractice or medical negligence is defined as care which is substandard or inferior to that which is to be expected from an ordinary and careful health care provider acting under the same or similar circumstances. Medical malpractice can be committed by any member of the health care field including physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, physical therapists and other health care professionals. Hospitals, clinics and other health care entities may commit malpractice when, acting through their employees, they fail to provide appropriate medical care.
The law requires proof on two essential elements for a medical malpractice case to be viable. First, there must be proof of a failure to provide ordinary and reasonable care. Second, there must be proof that the failure of care directly caused or contributed to cause a specific and identifiable injury. Because medical malpractice cases are usually time consuming and expensive, we generally accept only cases involving substantial, permanent injury.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
- Misdiagnosis. If a medical doctor fails to diagnose a patient who sustains harm because of this failure a medical malpractice claim may exist. A negligent delay in diagnosis that results in harm to the patient may also provide the basis for a medical malpractice claim.
- Surgery complications. Unnecessary surgery, surgery at the wrong site, surgery resulting in injury to adjacent internal organs and the failure to remove instruments utilized during a surgical procedure are examples of surgical complications included in this category.
- I V and catheter complications. IVs and catheters are frequently used to administer medications, fluids and nutrition to patients. Injuries can occur if the IV or catheter is improperly placed or improperly monitored. Patients may experience injuries from fluid extravasation (extravasation refers to leakage of fluid into tissues). Improper placement of catheters may cause damage to internal structures. For example, the improper placement of Foley catheters may cause injury to the urethra which results in infection and permanent injury.
- Medication errors. This category encompasses the prescribing of medications to which the patient has a known allergy. It also includes prescribing inappropriate doses of a medication. Prescribing the wrong medication to a patient is also included in this category.
- Childbirth injuries and pregnancy care injuries. These cases arise out of substandard care occurring during the delivery of a baby or during the prenatal period. A baby may sustain brain damage and/or damage to other organs from inadequate care rendered during the prenatal term or during the delivery of a baby.
- Anesthesia errors and positioning errors. A patient may receive general anesthesia or local anesthesia in connection with surgery or a procedure. Anesthesia must be carefully administered and the patient must be closely monitored. Patients must be appropriately positioned and padded to avoid nerve injuries.
- Poor follow-up or aftercare. A surgeon’s work isn’t complete when the incision is closed or the procedure ends. A surgeon must monitor the patient during the days following surgery or the procedure to assure that the patient has achieved a successful outcome without complications.
- Falls in healthcare settings. Laws and regulations require hospitals and nursing homes to be proactive in protecting patients from experiencing falls. They are required to assess patients for the risk of falling and then take affirmative measures to limit the risk of patient falls. Falls are a frequent source of claims against hospitals and nursing homes.
The categories and examples of medical malpractice set forth above do not comprise an exhaustive list. Your situation may not fall within those that we have described. To determine whether you have a medical malpractice claim or to obtain answers about whether a poor and unexpected outcome from care provided by a healthcare professional constitutes malpractice, we welcome your phone call or email. You may reach us by phone at (816) 484-3776 or you may click here to complete our online contact form. We are happy to evaluate your claim.