There are many types of surgical and medical malpractice. Every procedure has a chance of going poorly because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, and each procedure requires review from a doctor and a lawyer to determine whether there was negligence or not. However, there are a few general types of medical malpractice injuries that commonly occur in different situations. Medical malpractice attorneys, like Ken Kieklak, are familiar with these types of injuries and can help you determine whether or not you might have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Law in Arkansas
In order to recover compensation for medical malpractice injuries, you need to be able to show that you were harmed by malpractice – not just by chance or by an acceptable complication. The proof requirements can be broken down into four elements you must prove to prove medical malpractice:
- The doctor owed you a duty. This means following a “standard of care” which can be proven by the testimony of other doctors and healthcare professionals.
- The doctor breached the duty. This is proven with testimony demonstrating that the doctor’s care fell below the “standard of care.”
- The doctor’s breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered injuries that the court can redress (such as additional medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering). Alternatively, proof that your loved one died satisfies this category. This is element is known as “damages.”
If you can prove all four of these elements, you can usually recover compensation from the doctor who harmed you and their medical malpractice insurance company. How these elements are proved may change depending on the type of malpractice case.
Types of Malpractice
Medical malpractice is when a doctor’s care falls below the expected standard of care, and you suffer harm because of it. This can happen in many different situations, but most types of malpractice can be reduced to these general types:
“Anesthesia” is the general name for the drugs that numb the patient and put them to sleep during procedures. If these are administered improperly, they can cause serious problems. Using too little anesthesia can mean patients wake up or feel pain during surgery. They might even be awake and feeling pain, but paralyzed and unable to call for help. Alternatively, too much anesthesia can mean permanent problems or even death.
Errors in diagnosing your condition can occur in a few ways, each of which can lead to extra harms. Failing to diagnose a condition means that the patient often goes untreated and the condition gets worse. This may even end in death without a diagnosis. Alternatively, if the condition is undiagnosed for a long time, but then finally diagnosed, the delay in diagnosis could also lead to worsened conditions or irreversible conditions. Lastly, misdiagnosis can be used as a general term to encompass all of these errors, or to specifically refer to when a doctor affirmatively gives you a diagnosis that is incorrect. This means that your true condition goes untreated, plus you could suffer harm from the unnecessary treatments and procedures.
Some injuries are so severe and obvious that you might not need medical experts to help testify to the correct standard of care. Though rare, doctors sometimes perform surgery on the wrong patient, the wrong part of the body, or perform the wrong procedure. This is so obviously incorrect that you might be able to recover compensation without proving the complicated standard of care.
Some injuries are not caused by the doctors, but by the hospital staff and hospital conditions themselves. Injuries sustained from a slip and fall in a hospital, infections like MRSA and staph infections, or other environmental hazards may be hospital negligence. Alternatively, nurses and orderlies employed by the hospital may be negligent or abusive to patients during their stay, or tools and machines owned by the hospital may fail or malfunction, leading to poor care.
Lack of Consent
When you undergo any surgical or medical procedure, it requires your “informed consent.” This means not only that you agree to allow the doctor to perform the procedure, but that you understand what the procedure entails. Except in emergency situations, failing to get a patient’s consent is serious grounds for a lawsuit. This kind of harm may be considered an intentional tort, like assault or battery. Consent is sometimes specific to the physician, meaning that if the doctor’s partner performs the procedure without getting your consent again, that could still be grounds for liability. Even if the procedure is successful, you might be entitled to recovery for the unwanted touching and cutting.
Objects Left Inside after Surgery
Sometimes, doctors and their surgical staff fail to properly keep track of tools and materials during surgery. This can result in accidentally leaving things like surgical sponges, gauze, or even metal tools inside the patient during surgery. Medical malpractice cases in Arkansas that are based on this kind of injury may have extra time to file. Since you may not be able to discover that something was left inside your body, you might not be able to sue for injuries. Because of this, Arkansas’ “discovery rules” gives you one year from the date you discover the object to file your medical malpractice case.
If you underwent surgery, and your doctor did something wrong, you might be entitled to compensation. Not every surgery accomplishes its goal, but that does not automatically mean there is negligence. In order for a case to be malpractice, the doctor must have done something below the standard of care. Some injuries and complications are within the normal parameters of how the procedure works, but others are unacceptable.
A typical example of a surgical error is when the doctor slips and cuts an artery, tendon, or nerve that they were not supposed to cut. This may take extra surgeries to repair and could require intensive rehabilitation.
Arkansas Medical Malpractice Attorney
These are only some of the forms medical malpractice can take. Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, might be able to help you seek compensation if you have been harmed by any form of medical malpractice or negligence. If you think you might have been harmed by medical malpractice in Arkansas, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Because medical malpractice cases need to be filed within a strict two-year statute of limitations, it is important to file your case as soon as you can. Call (479) 316-0438 today for a free consultation on your case.
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