Between 200,000 and 400,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the United States. Medical malpractice is defined as either an action or an omission by medical professionals that lead to permanent damage or even death. Medical malpractice often leads to the victim suing someone in the healthcare field. There are some defined reasons to sue for malpractice. If you think you (or a family member) have a medical malpractice case on your hands, it is a good idea to know what these reasons are.
Negligent Prescription of Medication or Medical Devices
If a healthcare provider prescribes medication or medical devices that cause injury to the patient due to a doctor's mistake, there is a strong possibility the patient can file a lawsuit. Manufacturers of medications and medical devices spell out the proper usage of products. If the manufacturer warns against the use of the product in situations similar to the patient's situation and the doctor prescribes the product while blatantly ignoring protocol, this can lead to serious damage to the patient. In this example, the victim can file a malpractice suit against their healthcare provider.
Before an operation, doctors are required by law to explain all risks of the procedure to the patient. This is so that the patient can give informed consent saying that they understand what is happening and what may occur if things go wrong. If the surgery goes badly and the patient ends up debilitated in some way, they cannot sue the doctor. However, if the surgeon failed to disclose all the things that could go wrong, the victim may certainly be able to sue for malpractice.
"Res Ipsa Loquitur" or The Thing Speaks for Itself
In these types of cases, res ipsa loquitur, is pretty simple. The idea is that what happens speaks for itself. It is so obvious, there is no defense for what happened. In most cases, this type of malpractice is proven by items left behind during surgery. The old wives' tales about a doctor sewing a patient back up and forgetting to remove a clamp, a glove, or even a watch. This mistake is easily proven by an x-ray showing the item that is still in the person's body.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be difficult to prove. However, with a good lawyer and strong evidence of damages caused, victims can win their cases. In all cases, harm must have been caused by a negligent doctor. Without that harm, there is simply no lawsuit.