When you go to see a doctor, you expect them to provide you with the best care possible. You expect them to help you not hurt you. But sometimes the care a doctor offers can leave you worse off than you were when you came in.
Not everyone is happy with the care their doctor provides, but if the doctor’s negligent actions or bad treatment results in an injury, you may have a medical malpractice case on your hands.
The Jeffcoat Firm Injury Lawyers have years of experience dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits in the state of South Carolina. Read on to find out what you can do if your provider’s negligent actions caused an injury.
What is Medical Malpractice?
The State of South Carolina defines medical malpractice as “doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would not do or not doing that which the reasonably prudent heath care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.” In other words, doctors need to act carefully to take care of you. If they don’t it may be medical malpractice.
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Here are some common examples of malpractice that may be caused by a provider’s negligence:
- Errors in medication or prescriptions
- Injuries that occur at birth
- Surgery errors such as wrong site surgery or leaving a sponge or surgical instrument in a patient
- Failure to perform necessary tests
- Treatment that is delayed or considered unreasonable
- Failure to diagnose
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to treat
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrongful death
- Other errors that may occur in a hospital or emergency room
How Do I Win a Malpractice Case?
It is important to understand that a patient cannot sue a doctor simply because they don’t like the outcome of their treatment. They must establish that the doctor acted negligently and violated the medical standard of care.
To win a medical malpractice case, you will need to prove the following:
- That a medical professional-patient relationship existed
- The appropriate standard of care that should have been in place
- That the health provider’s conduct fell short of the standard of care
- That the health care provider’s acted in a way that caused the patient’s injury
Getting in An Expert Witness is Crucial
In order to prove a doctor acted negligently, an expert witness will usually have to be brought in. South Carolina defines an expert witness as “an expert who is qualified as to the acceptable conduct of the professional whose conduct is at issue.”
Here are some general requirements an individual might need to be considered an expert witness.
- Must be licensed to practice their profession
- Must be board certified by a national or international association or academy that administers examinations for certification
If the witness does not meet those requirements, they could potentially also qualify, for example:
- They have professional knowledge and experience in the area which is being questioned and they have been regularly engaged in that specialty for at least three of the five years immediately preceding the case
- They have been teaching in the area of practice which is being questioned for at least three of the five years immediately before the case
- Any combination of the above
The expert witness’s testimony will be thoroughly reviewed by the defendant, so it is important to find someone who is highly qualified.
Why Do Doctors Commit Malpractice?
Most doctors don’t mean to commit malpractice. It could be the result of the doctor having an overwhelming patient load. In other cases, there could be miscommunication or a misreading a prescription, for example.
However, in some cases, the doctor’s actions could be considered reckless. Examples include when a doctor performs a procedure under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A doctor may also prescribe potentially lethal levels of medication to a patient, which was the case in Michael Jackson’s death.
Even if a doctor did not mean to commit malpractice, he or she is ultimately at fault for their actions and the actions of their staff. Therefore, they will be held accountable if injuries occur.
When is it Not Malpractice?
It’s common for patients to want to sue for malpractice if they’re not happy with their doctor’s care. However, you will have to build a strong case proving that a doctor’s actions caused your injury. With that in mind, here are some instances when it’s probably not malpractice:
Your Condition Worsens: Sometimes a doctor is unable to treat or cure an illness even if the condition is considered treatable. The patient may not respond to the treatment. However, if the doctor exhibited reasonable care and skill in prescribing and carrying out the treatment, he or she would not be guilty of malpractice, even if the condition worsens.
The Condition is Untreatable: In some instances, a condition is not treatable. If the doctor acted by making sound medical decisions regarding the treatment, he or she would not be at fault. Medical malpractice will only come into play if the treatment falls short of acceptable medical care standards.
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Why The Jeffcoat Firm may be the Best Choice for Your Blythewood, South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice cases are rarely simple. Complications arise in proving a doctor’s negligence and the questioning of complex medical facts. When you’re going up against a medical professional’s legal team, you need the right law firm on your side.
A doctor usually doesn’t mean to harm his or her patients but when an injury occurs, someone needs to be held accountable. Don’t let your medical professional get away with providing you with anything less than the best possible treatment. Call The Jeffcoat Firm for a free consultation and take the first step in getting your life back.