Medical Malpractice in Port Charlotte
When healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses in Port Charlotte, Florida fail to meet their duty of care, this is classified as medical malpractice. To protect the patient’s wellbeing, medical personnel should display a certain level of care and professionalism. Regrettably, this is not always the case. All too often, medical practitioners make severe errors that result in significant injuries, avoidable diseases, and in the worst cases, wrongful death.
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional, or if a family member has died as a result of inferior medical treatment, your family is entitled to a thorough examination of the case. The medical malpractice attorneys of Hale Law in Florida, which includes a physician on staff to review medical malpractice and wrongful death cases, are ready to help. To begin exploring your legal options through a free and confidential case evaluation, contact our law firm immediately at 941.231.5124.
UNDERSTANDING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: DO I HAVE A CASE?
For those making a claim, it’s crucial to grasp the legal definition of medical malpractice.
Suffering pain or a negative result after a correctly performed procedure, in line with all usual industry standards, is not malpractice. While an adverse outcome can be deeply distressing and frustrating, it can only be legally deemed malpractice if the healthcare provider actually made errors or mistakes.
Several conditions must be fulfilled for an incident to be officially categorized as malpractice:
– The patient-doctor relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant must be formally established. This introduces a formal “duty of care” from the doctor to the patient. (It should be noted that informal advice does not create a formal patient-doctor relationship.)
– The doctor must violate his or her duty of care to the patient through negligent behavior. Legally, negligence is defined as failing to meet the standard of care a reasonable person would expect under the same circumstances. In simpler terms, if one doctor makes an avoidable mistake that any other reasonable doctor would have noticed and rectified – like failing to sterilize equipment, or neglecting to ask about the patient’s medication history – the doctor who made the error may be deemed negligent.
– The plaintiff must have suffered an injury as a result of the doctor’s negligence.
– The plaintiff’s injury, caused by the doctor’s negligence, must have resulted in damages.
Depending on the specific circumstances of a claim, a plaintiff may be eligible for compensation for damages such as hospital expenses, lost wages, and physical pain and suffering.
COMMON EXAMPLES OF DOCTOR NEGLIGENCE AND MALPRACTICE
Medical malpractice can present in numerous ways, contingent on aspects like the patient’s health and the type of doctor or procedure in question. Here are some typical forms of medical and hospital negligence:
– Neglecting to monitor a sedated patient’s oxygen levels. If a sedated patient is not adequately observed by a competent anesthetist or anesthesiologist, they could suffer brain damage, coma, and even death as a result of errors.
– Overlooking or incorrectly diagnosing an obvious early-stage illness.
– Not accounting for all tools used during surgery. Leaving objects inside patients’ bodies, known as surgical object retention or surgical error, can lead to blockages, organ damage, internal bleeding, or even death.
– Practicing in a field for which the doctor is not actually licensed or qualified.
– Inadequate sterilization of tools and equipment, including failure to take hygienic precautions before a procedure or examination.
– Incorrectly filling a prescription, leading to medication errors that result in patient injury or death.
– Neglecting to obtain a patient’s medical history, including information about food, drug, and alcohol use,
which can result in avoidable complications and fatal drug interactions.
– Allowing harmful delays in treatment, such as taking too long to address a known infection or illness.
– Causing a birth injury to the baby and/or mother in pregnancy-related cases, such as unintentionally injuring the baby with a surgical instrument during a C-section delivery.
– Physically or sexually assaulting a patient, or engaging in sexual contact, abuse, or harassment.
If you or a loved one has experienced any of these issues, it’s crucial to contact our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible, as you might be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering and losses.
THE STANDARD OF CARE
All healthcare professionals in Florida are required to adhere to a reasonable “Standard of Care.” This means that, regardless of their location, doctors must provide the same level of care to any other patient in similar circumstances. For example, a doctor in Miami must provide the same standard of care as a doctor in Tampa for a similar procedure. If someone believes they haven’t received a reasonable standard of care resulting in injury or needless suffering, they might have a case for a malpractice lawsuit. This is explicitly defined under Florida Statute 766.101, which states that:
“The prevailing professional standard of care is that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers.”
For instance, if a patient presents to the Emergency Room with lower right abdominal pain, the prevailing reasonable standard of care would be to palpate the abdomen for rebound pain, then order blood tests to assess the white cell count, and a CT scan, ultrasound, or X-ray. This would be considered the proper protocol to rule out conditions like appendicitis or other lower abdominal issues and fall under a reasonable standard of care.
However, consider another doctor who dismisses the patient, saying, “it’s likely just gas pains, you’ll feel better soon,” and sends them home without running any diagnostic tests. If the patient’s appendix then ruptures, leading to a life-threatening infection, the second doctor might be sued for malpractice for not providing a reasonable standard of care.
MEDICAL DEVICE INJURY
If your injury was caused by a surgically implanted medical device like a metal hip replacement or IVC filter, you might be entitled to compensation from the device manufacturer. Certain devices have been shown to pose an unnecessary high risk of injury to patients. Consequently, the manufacturers of these products are facing widespread litigation from affected individuals.
Di Pietro Partners is pursuing cases against certain manufacturers of defective medical products. More information about the specific products and manufacturers our law firm is pursuing can be found at the link below.
List of defective medical devices.
Please note, if you were injured by one of these products anywhere in the U.S., we may be able to take on your case and ensure you receive compensation.
FLORIDA MALPRACTICE ACT & STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Florida’s intricate Medical Malpractice Laws can be challenging to understand and navigate. The Florida Malpractice Act places the burden of proof on the plaintiff to demonstrate that a healthcare professional was indeed negligent. This requires testimony from another medical professional in the same field. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove causation, showing that the healthcare professional’s actions or inactions directly caused their injuries.
Furthermore, Florida has a statute of limitations on malpractice cases. According to the medical malpractice statute in The Florida Legislature (2018):
“An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than
4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday…” (Section 95.11 7b)
This means that, in most cases, there is a 2-4 year statute of limitations on malpractice claims in Florida, with some exceptions (i.e., if a minor child was involved). Also, cases involving fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or concealment carry a maximum limit of 7 years for filing a claim. Therefore, it’s vital to have your case reviewed by our legal and medical professionals promptly. Contact Hale Law today, for the legal help you deserve!