Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine reported that up to 98,000 people died from hospital mistakes each year. Ten years later, the Inspector General for Health announced that, among Medicare patients alone, 180,000 people perished as a result of poor hospital care. A study published in the Journal of Patient Safety revealed that as many as 440,000 people are victims of preventable medical mistakes that contribute to their death each year.
Common Types of Medical Mistakes
Medical mistakes are regular happenings in the healthcare system, killing almost half a million people each year and injuring millions more. Here are some common hospital errors and suggestions on how you can help prevent them.
Kerry Higuerain utero
This medical mistake refers to the wrong patient being treated according to a specific diagnosis. If having everybody ask you repeatedly for your name and date of birth when you are in a hospital drives you crazy, count your blessings.
Kerry Higuera wishes she had. In 2009, she experienced bleeding three months into her pregnancy. She went to the emergency room, where she was mistaken for a different woman named Kerry and taken for a CT scan. Experts say that a CT scan in utero can cause developmental problems to the fetus. When the hospital realized their mistake, staff offered to buy her flowers and free cafeteria meals. Now 15 months old, the baby is experiencing slow growth. To avoid a similar situation, mention your name, date of birth, and the reason you are in the hospital to every staff member you come into contact with. Invite them to look at your chart and your ID bracelet.
Nelson Bailey and Malyia Jeffers Cases
Another medical mistake might refer to equipment left inside a body after surgery. Florida Judge Nelson Bailey suffered pain for five months because surgeons had left a 12-inch surgical sponge inside him during an operation. If you experience pain, swelling and fever after surgery, always draw it to the attention of medical staff immediately.
In 2011, toddler Malyia Jeffers lost her feet and part of her right hand because the emergency room was backed up and she had to wait too long to be checked on. Her parents had taken her in because she displayed weakness, fever, and discoloration of the skin. The hospital agreed to a $10 million compensation, but the girl will never get her limbs back. This delay might have been prevented if the parents had telephoned the pediatrician and alerted the hospital regarding Malyia’s symptoms.
If you are bereaved because of a medical mistake, or if you have suffered an injury because of poor treatment in hospital, Florida personal injury law allows you to seek compensation for your physical and emotional damages.
Basics of Medical Malpractice Law in Florida
Florida malpractice laws are the same as those concerning personal injury and wrongful death law. There are various statutes of limitations and specific criteria that must be met to pursue a claim for compensation in the case of surgical negligence.
Statute of Limitations
Firstly, you need to determine how long ago the injury or death occurred. In Florida, you need to initiate a lawsuit within two years after you discovered the injury or within four years from the date the malpractice case occurred. For instance, if you have an operation on a particular date and the surgeon makes a mistake, it may take a while for this error to start having a noticeable effect on your life. Pay attention to it and take immediate action if a surgical malpractice seems to have happened. There are two exceptions to the statute of limitations.
Burden of Proof
If the care provider fraudulently covered up their mistake so that you don’t discover the malpractice, the statute of limitations goes up to seven years.
To successfully claim for damages and compensation, a plaintiff must prove that they suffered harm or injury because of the negligence of another party. There are three aspects to neglect, all of which must be proven:
- The other party had a duty of care to the plaintiff and disrespected it, therefore causing harm or injury to the patient;
- The other party breached that duty of attention by deviating from the applicable standard of care, meaning it failed to offer attention to the patient;
- The violation of a duty of care caused the plaintiff significant injury or harm;
Within this context, there are three types of harm: physical, financial and psychiatric.
Many states limit the number of damages that can be awarded in a medical negligence case. The cap usually applies to noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. Florida does not implement a cap on economic damages.
If You Think You Have a Surgical Negligence Case
If you think you or a loved one has been a victim of a surgical negligence case, you should seek the advice of a malpractice attorney as soon as you discover an injury that occurred as a result of a hospital mistake. It may seem simpler to work with the insurance companies.
You may not wish to put yourself into an adversarial position with respect to your doctor or hospital. Remember that insurance companies work for their shareholders. An experienced attorney knows how to handle a negligence case and can help you fight your way through the nuances of the law and help you to get the justice you deserve. Law Offices of Vastola & Associates., will assist you with all the necessary matters and will fight for your rights.