Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to provide proper medical care to the standards expected of their profession and as a result causes injury to a patient. When an injury occurs, that could have been prevented the injured patient is legally entitled to seek compensation.
Many patients do not know what treatment options are available for their medical care and/or whether the doctor providing the treatment is aware, is willing or even able to provide the appropriate treatment. Patients, in vulnerable situations, rely heavily on the assumption that their doctor will provide them with the best treatment available. This is where harm to a patient can sometimes be disguised. Although doctors do not practice with the intention to cause harm, some inadvertently do just that.
A doctor may be very experienced and have a good reputation, but not be up to date on current standards of practice or more effective methods for carrying out certain surgical procedures. A doctor practising for many years does not automatically mean a better doctor. “The doctor did their best for me” does not equal “the best that can be done for me”.
Medicine and medical practices are constantly improving. Conditions that previously required complicated surgeries can now be performed using minimally invasive techniques with lower risk to the patient. Not all doctors are experienced in these techniques. Some doctors may be aware that their colleagues are available to perform the less invasive procedure effectively but will still go ahead with a more invasive procedure. This will ultimately involve more downtime and exposure to long term, life changing and potentially permanent complications.
In many cases, these risks can now be drastically minimised with newer medical techniques and technologies. Early colon cancer that may have required open surgery in the past, can now be performed as a day case though colonoscopy, saving the patient the risk of long lasting and life altering surgical complications.
Better diagnostic tools are now available. A patient with symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer may be sent by their doctor for an abdominal ultrasound and be falsely reassured by a negative result not realising, that CT or MRI are far more effective for diagnosis. A falsely negative result from the ultrasound would then result in an unnecessary delay in diagnosis and a potential inability to cure the pancreatic cancer which may be too far advanced for surgical cure.
Medical malpractice cases require special attention, review and analysis. It requires a lawyer who has the both the medical and legal knowledge to effectively pursue a case on behalf of the injured party.
In order to see whether there is a case to pursue, an important first step is to review the medical records. This is a step that is not undertaken by some law firms, either because they do not have the expertise within the firm, do not have time to review the file or just assume it has merit and later find out when time and money has been expended that there is actually no case at all.
At Murphy Battista we can perform this initial review to see whether a case has merit before putting a client to the expense of obtaining an expert. Contact us to discuss your situation.
You may also be interested in Five things you should know about medical malpractice claims.