What is Medical Malpractice?
Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers in Charleston and North Charleston have a legal responsibility to follow the recognized standard of care in providing treatment.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, birthing center or other health care provider delivers substandard care, resulting in injury or harm to the patient. Medical professionals who may be liable for medical malpractice include doctors, dentists, nurses, physician’s assistants, chiropractors, surgeons, pharmacists and more. Medical malpractice can also be committed by a hospital, trauma center, surgical center, birthing center, nursing home, or other medical institution that employed the at-fault provider.
How do you know if you have been a victim of medical malpractice? You are unlikely to know whether a doctor or other health care provider provided substandard medical care without an independent investigation by a qualified Charleston medical malpractice attorney. Doctors and hospitals typically will not acknowledge to you that they have made a serious, preventable error. Many patients receive confusing explanations from doctors and are left with more questions than answers about what really happened.
Our Charleston medical malpractice attorneys at Joye Law Firm are ready to help you determine whether you were a victim of medical negligence and to hold those accountable who caused the harm.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases in Charleston
Injuries to patients as a result of medical negligence can take many forms. They can happen in emergency rooms, delivery rooms, surgery wards, and Charleston doctors’ offices.
Some of the types of medical malpractice that are common in Charleston hospitals and medical facilities include:
- Surgical Injuries—Surgical errors are among the most common mistakes. Some surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically with doctors looking at the area of surgery on a video screen. That can cause distortions in the depth of field leading to perforations or cuts to nearby tissue. When a North Charleston doctor makes an error during surgery or a diagnostic procedure, particularly if that error involves punctures and organ perforations, the harm to the patient can be serious and, in some instances, life threatening. Some surgical errors are caused by sponges or surgical tools being left inside a patient. Surgeries on the wrong body part and on the wrong patient still occur with disturbing frequency, despite efforts to put in place safety protocols to prevent these types of preventable errors.
- Failure to Diagnose and Treat in a Timely Manner—A doctor’s failure to diagnose a serious condition early when it is still controllable leads to numerous preventable deaths each year. Frequently misdiagnosed conditions include cancer, stroke, heart attacks, appendicitis and pulmonary embolisms. Sometimes, diagnostic errors occur because a doctor fails to order the proper test or the doctor incorrectly communicates the test results.
- Anesthesia Errors—Anesthesia prevents patients from experiencing pain or discomfort while doctors perform surgery and other medical procedures. However, an anesthesiologist must carefully monitor a sedated patient’s heart rate and other vital signs throughout the procedure. An error in anesthesia dosage or a lack of proper monitoring can result in serious adverse effects such as brain injury, heart attack, paralysis and death.
- Medication Errors—Medication errors cause numerous patient injuries and deaths each year. Illegibly written prescriptions, unclear abbreviations and miscommunication among medical professionals can lead to medication errors.
- Emergency Room Malpractice—The staffs at Charleston hospital emergency rooms can sometimes be inundated with patients. Even highly skilled ER doctors and nurses can make mistakes with serious consequences when faced with an overflowing emergency room and too few staff to give each patient the time and attention he or she deserves. Emergency room errors occur because of understaffed emergency rooms, poorly trained ER staff, fatigued doctors and nurses, a lack of proper tests or misread test results.
- Labor and Delivery— Birth injuries occur during the delivery process. Some babies are born with birth defects that developed during pregnancy and cannot be prevented. Birth injuries are the result of trauma during the birthing process. If an obstetrician fails to anticipate complications with a difficult pregnancy and a baby is harmed as a result, the obstetrician may in some cases be liable for medical negligence. Birth injuries range from minor injuries that are temporary and involve a short hospital stay to permanent medical conditions that cause disabilities and require ongoing medical care. Many preventable injuries that occur during labor and delivery require expensive follow-up surgeries or treatment.
If you or your loved one has been harmed by a preventable medical error involving a Charleston hospital or doctor, you may have a legal right to seek compensation. The medical malpractice attorneys at Joye Law Firm are experienced trial lawyers who represent people who have been harmed by medical negligence. We prepare cases carefully and work to deliver positive results to clients.