A missed diagnosis. A botched operation. Amputation of the wrong limb. It seems that horror stories like these appear on the news almost every day. Although most people who are sick or injuredrecover, a study has shown that at least 44,000 people, and perhaps as many as 98,000, die from mistakes made by their doctors every year. Because of the need to lower costs and to process patients more efficiently, some doctors feel pressured to reduce testing and treatment in the name of cost savings.
In light of this, many patients feel that the quality of medical care they receive has declined, and they wonder if anything can be done when mistakes happen. There is something that can be done. A claim for “medical malpractice” can be made.
Although the most sensational cases tend to make the news, medical malpractice covers almost any error a doctor or any other health-care provider (hospital, nurse, etc.) might make in treating a patient. Maybe the doctor gives a wrong diagnosis, orders the wrong kind of treatment, orders treatment to begin too early or too late, or makes a blunder while treating the patient. All of these errors are considered “malpractice.”
Despite appearing to be very straightforward, medical malpractice cases can often be difficult to prove, for several reasons. First, many medical malpractice cases are never recognized as such, because it is difficult for non-doctors to know when a doctor has made a mistake. For every case where the doctor clearly does something wrong (like amputating the wrong leg or leaving a scalpel in a patient) there are dozens of cases where the doctor’s error is much less obvious. Second, the complexity of modern medicine means that proof of malpractice usually requires expert medical or scientific testimony, testimony that is difficult for ordinary people on a jury to understand. Finally, if the patient dies, it is sometimes difficult to prove that the death was caused by the doctor’s mistake rather than by the original illness.
In addition to compensating the victims of medical malpractice, successful medical malpractice suits often help to expose incompetent doctors and lead to improvements in hospital procedures to insure that others patients do not suffer. If you suspect that you or someone you love has been injured by a doctor’s mistake, call us. We can help you, and your lawsuit might just help someone else.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates, with convenient locations throughout the New York Metropolitan area including an office in Baldwin, Long Island can provide you advice relative to medical malpractice injury. Without an attorney, you may not be protecting you and your loved ones or know all your rights.