Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is the deviation of the standard of medical care in the community where the incident occurred, which causes injury or death to the patient.  When we seek medical care from a healthcare provider, we expect the care provided to improve our medical condition, not worsen it. A recent study conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, determined that approximately 100,000 people die each year from medical mistakes in hospitals and as many as tens of thousands suffer from permanent injuries as a result of such errors.  As one of the leading causes of death, medical malpractice has adversely affected millions of people during the past few years.  These medical mistakes kill as many people as AIDS, breast cancer, and auto accidents combined, according to the 2003 bestseller Wall of Silence: The Untold Story of the Medical Mistakes That Kill and Injure Millions of Americans by Rosemary Gibson and J. P. Singh.

Another study conducted by The Health Grades Patient Safety in American Hospitals indicates that on average 195,000.00 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records released.
It is significant to note that not all bad outcomes are by any means the result of medical errors or malpractice.  Oftentimes, certain procedures have certain known risks that result in unfavorable outcomes.

Experts believe that as many as 10,000.00 people per year die in Florida due to medical errors.  The reason for such high number in Florida is related to the high population of geriatric patients in the state, whose worsening medical condition or death, may not be suspected or understood by the very patient or their family.  Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider, which includes but is not limited to, a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced registered nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation center, dentist, makes a mistake that results in the patient’s deterioration or death.

While each case is unique, there are a few common categories of medical malpractice cases which predominate.  For example, medical malpractice cases are frequently brought against medical providers who fail to properly diagnose a medical condition, fail to timely diagnose a medical condition, fail to follow professionally accepted standard procedures and tests, and fail to prevent infant injury at birth.  There are others instances such as falls and fractured bones and the development of decubitus ulcers in a hospital setting, which are less obvious to the patient or their family, but are nonetheless actionable under Florida law.

It is no surprise that many instances of medical malpractice are actually underreported because simply patients do not suspect it, or because they are reluctant or adverse to the litigation process against their medical doctor or other healthcare provider.  Also, oftentimes patients and their families are not aware that they may be entitled to compensation for the injuries or death which resulted from medical malpractice.

The legal theory behind medical malpractice cases is based on the doctrine of negligence.  In general, doctors have a duty to perform their job with an ordinary level of professional competence.  In most jurisdictions, courts expect doctors to demonstrate the same skill and care of a reasonably competent practitioner in the field under the same circumstances.

A victim of medical malpractice may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. “Compensatory damages” are meant to compensate the plaintiff for costs incurred due to the malpractice.  Compensatory damages frequently include medical bills, lost wages, payment for permanent physical disability, and sometimes emotional damages.  “Punitive damages,” on the other hand, are intended to punish the healthcare provider, and they are only available when the defendant’s behavior is grossly incompetent or intentionally damaging.

Medical malpractice cases entail complex medical and legal issues which only an experienced medical malpractice attorney understands.  At the Law Offices of Jorge L. Flores, P.A., you will find the financial resources and expertise necessary to obtain the maximum compensation available in your case.