Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

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

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.

Medical negligence, commonly referred to as medical malpractice, can take many different forms. Depending on who caused the injury, medical negligence claims can be brought against hospitals, hospital staff, or directly against a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional.

However, sometimes, after a person suffers an injury in a hospital, or after a medical procedure, they may not know what kind of claim to bring. Generally, if the injury does not involve the medical care, such as a slip and fall on a wet floor in a hospital waiting room, then there will not be a medical negligence case.

To help you determine whether you have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence, below you will find some common examples.

Almost one in every eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. And sadly, many of those women won't find out they have breast cancer until long after they should. According to one medical website, a whopping 61 percent of all medical malpractice claims involving breast cancer patients are related to alleged delays in diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis -- whether diagnosing an issue that doesn't exist or failing to diagnose one that does -- is a form of medical malpractice, and doctors that fail to diagnose breast cancer can be liable.

In April of 2010, then 17-year-old Sarah Adams was prescribed a NuvaRing contraceptive device by a nurse practitioner at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Less than three months later, Adams suffered a total cardiac arrest that left her with "significant and permanent brain damage with marked cognitive and fine motor skills deficits," according to a lawsuit she filed against Montefiore.

And last week, a state appeals court in New York allowed that lawsuit to continue, denying Montefiore's motion to dismiss the claims. Here's what happened, factually and legally.