Patients depend on doctors and other medical professionals for their health and well-being. When a patient puts their life in someone else’s hands, they deserve to receive the best possible care and treatment. Too often, however, patients find themselves the victims of medical negligence when doctors, hospitals, or medical professionals deviate from the recognized “standard of care” in treating a patient.
Medical negligence on the part of health care providers is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Harvard researchers have estimated that one out of every 25 patients is injured by medical professionals. It has been estimated that more than 225,000 patients die each year from medical malpractice. Studies have shown that the majority of these deaths were easily preventable.
When a medical error that should have been avoided occurs and causes a patient injury, it is medical malpractice. Like all other professionals, doctors and nurses should be held accountable when their negligence causes harm. Unfortunately, due to overzealous “tort reform,” successful lobbying by insurance companies and a handful of well-publicized frivolous lawsuits, medical malpractice cases have become increasingly difficult to win.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Although medical malpractice can take many forms, some of the more common examples include:
- Diagnostic errors, including the failure to obtain an accurate patient history, misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose an injury or illness, and the failure to order necessary tests in order to obtain a proper diagnosis
- Surgical errors, including anesthesia errors or leaving medical equipment in a patient’s body
- Misreading or misinterpreting of X-rays, echocardiograms, CT or MRI scans, lab results, etc. which can lead to medical errors or incorrect medical treatments
- Medication errors, including administration of the wrong dose, pharmacy errors, prescribing contraindicated medications, incorrect prescriptions, drug interactions, or preventable overdoses
- Treatment errors, including delays in treatment and unnecessary medical proceduresr
- Failures to communicate among health care providers, which can lead to misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and failure to perform necessary tests and medical procedures, all as a result of a failure to coordinate medical care
- Preventable infections during medical treatment or hospital care
- Defective medical equipment used during surgery or other procedures
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Patients
Thousands of patients who have been injured by the negligence of their doctor or medical caretakers have filed malpractice lawsuits. Many lawsuits have also been filed by family members whose loved ones died as a result of mistakes or preventable errors during medical treatment. About 25% of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the U.S. involved the death of a patient, according to researchers at Harvard University.
In addition to compensation for wrongful death, lawsuits filed for medical malpractice may seek to recover economic damages incurred by the injured patient as a result of negligence by a medical provider. Economic damages may include costs for medical expenses resulting from the malpractice incident, lost income or wages, loss of future earnings capacity, rehabilitation costs, and the cost of replacement services, such as childcare or household chores.
In most cases, victims of medical negligence may also recover non-economic damages for pain and suffering caused by malpractice. In certain cases involving gross negligence on the part of treatment providers, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Hurt by Doctor or Hospital Error? Get Help With Your Case.
The first step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to speak with an experienced attorney about your case. An attorney can help guide you through the first steps of preparing a case—including gathering medical records and conducting interviews with individuals who may have information about the situation—in order to determine whether you have a viable case. Because statues of limitations and procedural requirements for filing a lawsuit differ by state, it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney who has a background in medical malpractice litigation to determine if you qualify.
The attorneys at the Dallas, Texas law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and expertise to assist injured patients with their medical malpractice claims. Our attorneys have successfully represented numerous victims of medical malpractice. Among our attorneys’ recent verdicts, settlements and results are the following:
- Jim Orr negotiated a $6.75 million settlement for the family of an 8 year-old child who suffered permanent brain damage due to medical errors occurring at a VA hospital.
- Michael Heygood achieved a $2.2 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising from the premature discharge of a newborn infant from the hospital with low glucose levels.
- Eric Pearson argued the appeal in Columbia Medical Center of Las Colinas, Inc. v. Hogue, 271 S.W.3d 238 (Tex. 2009), in which the Texas Supreme Court upheld a gross negligence finding against the defendant hospital in a medical malpractice case and affirmed the jury’s $9 million verdict on behalf of his clients.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are trial lawyers in the truest sense of the term. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and financial resources necessary to prosecute even the most complex medical negligence cases all the way to a settlement or verdict. In recent years, our attorneys have obtained verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients totaling more than $200 million—including more than $50 million in 2010 alone.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for your injuries, as well as lost wages and other financial costs. For a free consultation about your case and to find out if you qualify to file a lawsuit, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by following the link to our free case evaluation form.