How Common are Personal Injury Lawsuits from Medical Malpractice?


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As much as we would like to believe that our doctors are miracle workers and mind readers, the reality is that medical professionals are human. And because they are just like us, this also means that they are fully capable of making honest mistakes. A doctor may get the diagnosis wrong initially or a medical professional may not be able to fully remedy a problem during surgery, and that’s simply how the medical industry works.

However, there is a stark difference between not being able to figure out the problem and being negligent. When carelessness occurs and a medical professional delivers anything that is below the expected standard of care, you may have a case for medical malpractice.

In 2016, medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States resulted in a staggering amount of settlements and verdicts – more than $3.8 billion in all, according to national surveys.

It’s important to look at the different types of situations that are leading to these lawsuits.

Diagnosis Errors

Of the medical malpractice payouts in 2016, 34 percent were related to negligence in diagnosis. This could mean that individuals in these instances were misdiagnosed or their doctors took a long time to correctly diagnose them. When misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis occurs, patients miss out on valuable time and treatment opportunities that could have been effective at treating their health issue.

What does this type of medical malpractice look like? For example, let’s say that a patient is suffering from cancer and the doctor did not make the correct diagnosis initially because the necessary screenings and tests were never performed. While the cancer could have been fully treated if it had been correctly diagnosed, it has now metastasized to the point that there is not much that medical professionals can do for the patient. Sadly, the patient is now facing a fatal disease because of a doctor’s negligence.

Ross Feller Casey has an unmatched record in winning lawsuits involving a failure to timely diagnose a medical condition, including a $20 million settlement for a man who suffered from a brain injury because his stroke was not diagnosed in a timely manner.

Surgical Errors

Medical malpractice from surgical errors accounted for 24 percent of the payouts in 2016, and the negligent mistakes that are made in the operating room can be quite serious for patients.

What types of surgical errors are classified as medical malpractice? There have been instances where surgeons have left surgical instruments inside of patients, or they have punctured other organs while being careless during the procedure. Believe it or not, there are even documented cases where the wrong body part has been operated on or removed.

Medication Errors

In a society where we have a pill or medication for almost anything, medication errors are another common form of medical malpractice. How common are these errors? In 2006, a study revealed that approximately 1.5 million people in the United States are harmed by medication errors each year. So, how does this happen?

Most injuries that result from medications are due to dosage errors. Whether the doctor prescribes an incorrect dosage or a nurse administers too much or too little of the medication, patients can be severely injured when they are not receiving the correct amount. Additionally, medical malpractice can also occur when a doctor negligently prescribes the wrong medication or a patient is given the incorrect drugs while in the hospital. Medication errors can easily lead to worsening conditions and/or the development of new problems.

If you believe that you or a loved one suffered from medical malpractice, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need professional assistance in order to prove that negligence occurred and the standard of care was breached. You will also need to work within the statute of limitations, which is two years in the state of Pennsylvania.

Contact the lawyers at Ross Feller Casey to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit and seeking compensation for your injuries.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.