Our everyday lives bring us and our families into contact with health care providers on a daily basis, and people trust doctors with their very lives every day. In fact, we often seek the help of a health care provider when we are in our most vulnerable condition. When a doctor or other health care professional treats you, they have agreed to do so in a safe, competent and ethical way. However, that does not always happen.
Medical malpractice, sometimes called medical negligence, is the term used to describe a wrong committed by a doctor or other health care provider who causes a patient injury. Medical malpractice is more than the doctor or health care provider simply making a mistake. Medical malpractice occurs when the doctor or medical professional improperly treats a patient or performs treatment in a negligent manner or makes a medical error, and that causes injury to the patient.
Alix and David have collectively handled these types of cases for more than 50 years, and we will bring that experience to bear for you. We will listen to your story, analyze your situation, provide you with answers about what happened to you or your loved one, and fight for you.
A few examples of negligent care and treatment include the following:
Birth injuries: The medical profession has often referred to the birth canal as “the most dangerous six inches a human being will ever travel.” Problems that arise when your baby is passing through this dangerous time and how your health care professional responds to those problems may dramatically affect the quality of your child’s future. Cerebral palsy, brain injuries, brachial plexus injuries and other nerve damage can result when the doctor or nurse do not recognize and appropriately respond to the warning signs during the birthing process.
Surgical errors: As difficult as it may be to believe, on average every week in this country, 39 foreign objects are accidentally left in a patient’s body during a surgery, the wrong body site is operated on 20 or the wrong surgery is performed on a patient 20 times. Again, these events occur at this frequency each week. And these statistics are according to the doctors and their insurance companies! These negligent mistakes are referred to in the health care industry as “never events” because they are never supposed to happen. But they do, and when they do, and they cause a patient harm, it is medical negligence.
Failure to diagnose/Misdiagnosis: The most common complaint made against doctors and other health care providers is that they failed to recognize and treat a medical condition in a timely manner. This may occur when the health care provider never identifies the condition or misidentifies the condition. Some of the reasons a physician might fail to diagnose or misdiagnose an illness or condition include the following:
• Failing to properly perform a physical examination and history
• Failing to listen to a patient’s complaints
• Failing to order appropriate tests
• Failing to review test results
• Misinterpreting test results
• Failing to perform appropriate follow-up screenings
• Failing to refer to appropriate specialist
Early and correct diagnosis can have a direct impact on the prognosis for a patient, and the earlier the disease is detected often determines if it is treatable.
What may be recovered in a medical malpractice case?
Patients who are successful in a medical malpractice case in Tennessee may recover compensation for the following:
• Pain and suffering
• Lost wages and future loss of earning capacity
• Past and future medical expenses
• Loss of enjoyment of life
In a wrongful death case, the family may be entitled to be compensated for the following:
• Funeral expenses
• Medical expenses
• Lost wages
• Lost future earnings
• Loss of companionship for certain family members as set out by law