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Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice laws are aimed at protecting the patient from negligent medical treatment. These cases usually arise when the patient has been injured due to the improper actions of a healthcare professional. Take note, though--these cases can also arise through the inaction of the healthcare professional.

Medical malpractice is governed by state law and each state varies. But the basics are the same: the healthcare professional owes a duty to the patient and that duty entails competence in performance. But in order for there to be a duty, there must first be a special relationship between the medical professional and the injured party. For example, a doctor in a restaurant owes no duty to help a stranger at another table who is having a heart attack, unless the doctor comes forward and agrees to help.

Recently in Medical Malpractice Category

Can Doctors Be Sued for Not Washing Hands?

You'd think this wouldn't be a thing. Kids learn to wash their hands from a young age. Employees can be required to wash their hands after using the restroom. And, in general, most people are pretty good about it. Despite this, doctors, who really should know best here, are infamously among the worst hand washers out there.

So if you're a patient, can you sue?

Can You Sue a 'Naturopathic Doctor'?

Mario Rodriguez was a twenty-one year old physics student in Spain. So when he was diagnosed with leukemia, he did what you might not expect him to do. He spent €4,000 on alternative medicines and shunned a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. He later died of an intestinal infection, and his father sued the naturopathic doctor who prescribed his treatment. Can this sort of lawsuit happen in the U.S.?

We rely on pharmaceutical drug companies to make safe products to keep or make us healthy. But all drugs come with side effects, so we also rely on those companies to warn us about those effects, and on doctors to only prescribe drugs in a safe manner. And, as the past year has proven, that doesn't always happen and the results can be disastrous.

Here are the major drug lawsuits from 2017:

Doctors and medical professionals are experts in their field, and we rely on their knowledge, insight, and judgment to make and keep us well. And if a doctor's medical expertise seems beyond our general understanding, so too can medical malpractice lawsuits.

That means a lot people, even lawmakers, have misconceptions about medical practice and how medical malpractice lawsuits work. For example, legislators thought they could reduce lawsuits by allowing doctors to apologize for mistakes without their apologies being used against them in court. It didn't quite work out that way.

Here are some other misconceptions and myths about medical malpractice lawsuits, and where to go to find the truth.

When we go to doctors for treatment and medication, we want to believe the medications are safe. And when we hear the phrase "FDA-approved," we generally believe the drug or medication has undergone extensive testing and that the FDA wouldn't approve a drug -- and a doctor wouldn't prescribe it -- if it weren't safe.

But what a doctor will prescribe medication for and what the FDA has tested a drug for may not always match up. Here's what you need to know about off-label drug prescription and use.

Amari Broughton-Fleming had a difficult entry into the world. Doctors induced his delivery, then found his shoulder was trapped behind his mother's pelvis. A doctor was able to dislodge the arm, tugging on Amari's head in a swift downward motion, and he was born healthy at 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

Except for his right arm. It was paralyzed at birth and a pediatric neurologist diagnosed permanent nerve damage in Amari's shoulder, nerve damage his mother's lawsuit claimed was due to the doctor's negligence. And a jury in New Castle County, Delaware agreed, awarding her $3 million in damages.

The plan seemed so simple: refer patients to friendly pharmacies to fill prescriptions they don't need, then get a nice little kickback from pharmacy owners. Maybe throw some extra pain pill prescriptions to patients without ever seeing them, and bill Medicare for some never-performed medical services. Easy money, right?

Well easy come, easy go, as they say, and now Dr. Roberto A. Fernandez will be paying $4.8 million in restitution and serving 97 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

Jahi McMath was thirteen years old when a routine tonsillectomy went wrong and left the teen brain dead. After the surgery in 2013, she was pronounced dead, and the county coroner even signed a death certificate a month later. However, Jahi was never taken off life support. Her parents insist that she is still alive, based upon their Christian faith, regardless of the fact that she has been declared brain dead.

While Jahi has been kept on life support, her parents have pursued a medical malpractice claim against the hospital as a result of the surgery. But, unlike typical medical malpractice claims where the plaintiff is either alive and injured, or dead, the court is sending that issue to the jury to decide.

As more and more people fall victim to opioid addiction, more and more lawsuits are being filed. States are suing drug companies, addicts are suing doctors, and the federal government is starting its own investigation into the crisis.

But who's liable for opioid addiction? The addict? Doctors? Drug manufacturers? All three? Here's what you need to know about opioid lawsuits and addiction liability.

Any misdiagnosis, whether falsely identifying an issue that doesn't exist or failing to discover one that does, can be harmful. This can be especially true for hyperthyroidism, which affects millions of people per year. If not accurately diagnosed, those people may go untreated, or undergo potentially harmful treatments based on a doctor's misreading of their symptoms.

Misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice, and doctors that fail to properly diagnose and treat hyperthyroidism can be held liable. Here's what you need to know.