Malpractice: we’ve seen the true-life television shows, we’ve read the news articles that depict the horrors of what happens when a doctor gets it so terribly wrong that the price is a patient’s life. But what happens when what’s on page and screen become a victim’s reality? If a client is seeking a medical malpractice lawyer, it’s more than likely they or their loved one has become a victim of medical malpractice or misdiagnosis.
The subject of medical malpractice itself is wide ranging; that’s why this article will seek to explain the specifics of when misdiagnosis becomes medical malpractice. We’ll inform our readers, in depth, of what happens when a trusted doctor fails to treat a victim’s illness in time, or worse, has failed to treat them at all, potentially costing them their life.
Floridians place trust in their physicians
When a patient visits the doctor and presents their symptoms, they’ll usually find that the physician can pin down what’s wrong. Following a diagnosis of the problem, a competent physician then may prescribes medication that can treat the symptoms, restoring the patient to full health. If it’s not as simple as a signature on a script pad for an every day illness, the provider may send the patient out for further diagnostic testing. When a physician does this, they’re acting responsibly. When one physician doesn’t have the answer, they’ll do everything in their power to get the patient to a specialist who does.
Upon visiting a specialist for a more complicated medical issue, diagnostics to pin down the cause of the patient’s symptoms can include:
- Imaging such as MRI, CT scan, or X-Rays
- Blood tests
- Biopsies or other pathology
- Endoscopy, colonoscopy
- Nerve conduction studies, EEG
- Echocardiogram or EKG
When the physician receives the results of the diagnostics ordered, he or she will schedule a a second appointment to go over them with the patient and to discuss further treatment options, if the pathology found within the results requires follow-up treatment. A lot of the time the patient gets the better after receiving the proper treatment from a Board Certified specialist and can return to their life, fully recovered.
Medical malpractice goes undetected, patients pay the price
There are some instances, though, where the doctor fails to order the correct testing or provides a pattern of substandard care. This can a patient feeling worse than they did before, and for the physician–he or she may have committed a form of medical malpractice. Malpractice is not a term to be used lightly; great care must be taken not to misunderstand what this legal term actually means, and how it’s applied in the case of patients who entrusted a doctor with their care, not knowing they’d come to harm instead.
When a doctor diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness or condition entirely, and then proceeds to treat that illness or condition instead of the underlying cause (what the patient is actually afflicted with), then, in certain instances, he or she is liable for pain and suffering, as well as damages owed to the patient for causing harm. In the event that the physician is the cause of physical harm, or as a worst-case scenario, the patient who placed their trust in them dies under their care, legal action may be taken by the patient, their family, and a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with in-the-trenches medical malpractice experience.
Medical malpractice lawyers aim to end an epidemic
A failure to correctly diagnose an illness in a timely manner can lead to unnecessary prescriptions, surgeries (or lack of, when a surgical procedure is necessary) and ultimately result in avoidable fatalities. However, in busy cities like Miami, many of us don’t stop to consider that the physicians that treat our illnesses and injuries may have a less than outstanding track record that’s gone undetected. It’s always important to ensure that any doctor performing a medical procedure or caring for you or a loved one is Board Certified and that their license is free of sanctions and/or complaints filed against them with the state board.
Misdiagnosis in and of itself is often the cause of avoidable injury and fatalities if caught and rectified early in the patient’s care. A doctor who confronts his or her error in diagnosis and reviews test results again to fully understand what went wrong is acting dutifully, and within a standard of care. However, there are physicians who act carelessly, and won’t give a patient’s chart a second glance. This can result in a disastrous outcome for the patient. If the error isn’t caught and the correct illness isn’t diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, the patient is at a serious risk for becoming incurable and ultimately, a wrongful death may leave the physician liable for the avoidable tragedy.
Florida residents’ right to compensation
When a patient receives substandard care or has been misdiagnosed by a physician, they have the right to compensation obtained on their behalf by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer; one whose been in the trenches, and has seen the inside of a courtroom hundreds of times alongside their misdiagnosed clients. However, before a victim can be compensated for their pain and suffering, there are certain requirements that must be met to satisfy the laws of what constitutes a medical malpractice claim. As previously stated, medical malpractice is among the most serious claims a patient can make against a doctor, and they must be substantial to the letter of the law before a judge can award just compensation.
The next section of this article seeks to explain those requirements.
What’s required for a medical malpractice claim in Florida?
To file a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider in the state of Florida, the following criteria must be satisfied to the letter of the law:
- A physician-patient must have existed: if a patient has been seeing the provider on a regular basis, and they have been treated for the diagnosed condition for a period of time, the doctor-patient relationship is thusly established therein. There are some cases that do not satisfy this requirement. One example would be a situation where a patient was treated indirectly by a physician; this would imply the patient does not have a direct doctor-patient relationship with the third-party physician, and therefore this requirement is not met.
- Negligence on the doctor’s part: for a successful medical malpractice claim a victim and their medical malpractice lawyer must be able to show that a healthcare provider caused irreparable harm or acted injuriously in such a way that they suffered permanent consequences directly due to the actions of the doctor. We trust our physicians to meet the standard of care and to uphold the Hippocratic Oath they took upon graduating medical school. When they fail to do so, it’s the patients who suffer at their negligent hands. If there is any discrepancy as to whether the doctor in question acted in a negligent manner, a medical expert will be called in either during trial or deposition, to determine whether this requirement is satisfied.
- Did the doctor cause the injury? This one is a little more complicated than the previous two criteria that need be satisfied. We go to the doctor when we’re sick or already injured. It is necessary to prove that the treating physician was the cause of worsening injury or illness, and that it was not the underlying condition that caused the patient to deteriorate while being under the physician’s care.
- The injury caused irreparable harm or damage to the patient: Negligence alone does not satisfy the requirements for a medical malpractice claim. The patient must prove that because of the doctor’s actions (or lack thereof) they suffered specific, permanent injury.
The clock is ticking when it comes to Florida’s Statute of Limitations on medical malpractice
Remember: in the state of Florida, the statute of limitations is (2) two years, so retaining counsel and filing a claim is a time sensitive issue that must be given due diligence. If a victim of medical malpractice doesn’t file in the allotted time, the court will dismiss the case regardless of the requirements being met and although permanently injured, a victim won’t be able to obtain any compensation for their pain and injury.
Florida’s best medical malpractice lawyers
Once a medical malpractice victim has satisfied the requirements necessary to bring such a lawsuit against a negligent physician that has caused irreversible injury, they must proceed act quickly to retain legal counsel that can provide experienced representation. It’s important to retain counsel that has the best interests of the client, and has had successful outcomes with medical malpractice cases in the past (specifically in trial). Shaked Law Firm satisfies these requirements!