A shocking number of people die or suffer serious health problems every year, caused by the very people and institutions they trust to provide the medical treatment that should safeguard their health. The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that medical negligence is one of the top three leading causes of death in the United States, right after heart disease and cancer.
The Horrifying Medical Malpractice Statistics
Approximately 200,000 patients die annually as a result of medical mistakes, according to a 2013 article in Forbes magazine. The actual number may be even higher. A study reported in the Journal of Patient Safety found that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients suffer harm to their health that ultimately results in death as a result of preventable errors in hospitals. In addition, an untold number of patients who have survived medical malpractice have suffered life-altering long term or permanent damage to their health and quality of life.
How Do We Define Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that fails to meet accepted standards of practice in the medical community and results in injury to the patient.
Doctors and other medical professionals receive a license to practice only after years of intensive study. Furthermore, healthcare professionals are expected to stay current on medical research as new information becomes available through reading and mandatory hours of continuing education. Doctors have a duty to apply this knowledge properly and deliver an appropriate standard of care for the benefit of the patient.
“Standard of care” refers to what a reasonably prudent medical professional in the same specialty would or would not do in the same or similar situation. Anyone who chooses to work as a healthcare provider owes this duty of care to every patient. When that duty is breached and a patient is harmed, the patient or surviving family members are entitled to file an action for medical malpractice.
What Do You Need to Prove to Win a Medical Malpractice Case?
Through your medical malpractice attorney, you will need to prove four legal elements:
- The doctor or healthcare provider owed a professional duty to the patient;
- The provider breached the duty;
- The patient sustained injuries as a result of the breach;
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the injury.
Many lawyers are reluctant to take on medical malpractice cases. They are extremely difficult and complex, and require a high level of legal expertise, time, money, and expert support. In spite of the fact that medical errors kill in the neighborhood of 200,000 patients annually in the United States, only 15 percent of all personal-injury lawsuits are medical malpractice claims.
In spite of the low rate at which lawyers accept malpractice cases, payouts to the injured totaled around $3.6 billion in 2012.
When you hold your newborn in your arms, you are overwhelmed with the boundless love you feel for this tiny person, and you only want good things for your beautiful child. But for some parents, the joy of a new child is touched by sadness when the baby has been injured in the birthing process. How terrible for an innocent new person to be brought into the world in pain and suffering!
Not every baby is born in perfect health, and sometimes it’s nobody’s fault. But all too often, a doctor or other health care professional will give in to distraction, take a shortcut, fail to monitor, make a poor decision, or make a mistake that causes something to go wrong in the birthing process. A doctor or midwife in the delivery room has had years of training in proper procedures and should be held to a high professional standard of care. You should expect care that is at least equal to what any reasonably competent physician in the state would provide.
When a careless, negligent, or incompetent doctor was responsible for your child being injured at birth, it is natural that you want to make that person pay and feel the pain that your baby and you must live with. But more importantly, you want to feel secure in knowing that your child will have the best medical care and other services he or she will need to recover from the injury or to learn to live the best life possible with the birth injury.
Every year approximately two million babies are injured at birth. In Virginia, when medical error harms your baby, you can get the help you need to secure your child’s future by calling the personal injury and medical malpractice section of the MichieHamlett Law Firm in Charlottesville.
The Best Future for Your Injured Child
You want your child to enjoy the best life possible and the best help in overcoming the damage done at birth, and that may take years of expensive treatment, possibly including surgeries and therapy. To give your baby the best, you will need the financial means to cover all the added expenses for quality care and rehabilitation. To do so, you will need to pursue a recovery of damages with the help of a skilled, dedicated personal injury attorney.
Kinds of Injuries That Occur at Birth
At the MichieHamlett Law Firm, we handle all types of birth injuries caused by medical error including these and others:
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Oxygen deprivation
- Kernicterus (from untreated jaundice)
- Erb’s palsy
- Lacerations or bruising
- Joint dislocations
Why Injuries Occur in the Birthing Process
These are some of the more common medical errors during the birthing process that can injure a baby:
- Not monitoring a laboring mother and baby
- Not intubating a baby needing oxygen
- Failing to identify a breech presentation, cephalopelvic disproportion, or cord entrapment
- Allowing labor to go on for too long after rupture of the membranes
- Failing to deliver a distressed baby by caesarean section
- Anesthesia errors
- Delivering the baby vaginally when the mother has an active herpes infection
- Performing a forceps or vacuum extraction unnecessarily or improperly
- Rough handling or excessive pulling or pushing of the baby during delivery
- Failing to treat jaundice
Free Birth Injury Consultation
Was your baby injured at birth in a Virginia hospital or birthing center and you suspect the obstetrician, midwife, nurse, or anesthesiologist was at fault? If so, take advantage of a free birth injury consultation with one of our dedicated lawyers in the personal injury division of the MichieHamlett Law Firm. We understand the pain your child is suffering and the challenges he or she may face in the future because of an incompetent or careless medical professional. We know that when your child hurts, you hurt, and we want to help.
Time to file a claim is limited by Virginia law, so don’t risk losing your child’s right to a recovery. Call today for your appointment.
Legal Time Limits to File Claims in Virginia
Call the MichieHamlett personal injury division today to schedule your free medical malpractice consultation and records analysis. Virginia law restricts the amount of time you have to file, so don’t delay or you could lose your right to a recovery.