According to a study at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, around 90,000 people lose their lives annually in the hospital, owing to medical errors. This is just an estimated figure, and experts feel that the actual figure would be considerably high. The most common medical malpractices are attributed to medication errors, which affect almost 1.5 million people annually. A whopping amount of $887 million was spent as the extra medical costs owing to the preventable drug related injuries suffered by the individuals in medical settings in 2004. See here for more information.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys and lawyers at Taradji Law Offices regularly represent clients who have been victim of medical negligence that has left them disabled or has significantly reduced the quality of life they had expected to experience prior to the negligence.
Negative results of medical treatment does not in and of itself create a medical malpractice suit because medical treatment carries no guarantees of successful outcomes every time. There exists risk in all fields of medicine, regardless the degree of caution the doctor exercises. These are known as unavoidable risks. Hospitals and medical care providers owe a duty of care to all their patients and may be liable to any injured patient, regardless of any forms signed by the patient.
Similar to negligence law defining negligence as “the doing or the failure to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances,” the law of medical malpractice defines negligent medical conduct as “the doing or the failure to do something that a reasonably prudent health care professional in that field would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances.” Where the standard in ordinary negligence cases is compared to that of a fictional “reasonable man”, the standard adopted medical malpractice law is compared to that of a fictional “reasonably prudent health care provider.”
The central issue in any case, common negligence or medical malpractice, is whether the actor, or doctor, was “negligent.” The “reasonable person standard” has been viewed objectively, meaning the standard is applicable to all human beings. On the other hand, the “reasonable prudent health care provider” carries a more subjective view. Some attorneys note that the “reasonable man” standard is objective, in the sense that it is a standard applicable to all human beings, whereas the “reasonably prudent health care provider” is more subjective, in that the standard to be judged by is restricted to the medical profession’s definition. Therefore, developments in technology constantly change the standard a doctor is held to
Differing viewpoints suggest that the law holds all medical professionals to certain minimum standards of care. Utilizing this view, all evidence, presented by a defense attorney in a medical malpractice suit, that suggests few doctors exercise a certain standard in a particular field of medicine that requires a higher degree of care, would not prevent a finding that the doctor was negligent. A prima facie case for medical malpractice involves the plaintiff’s attorney establishing, through expert testimony, the standard of care required of professionals in the field that the defendant allegedly breached, breach of that care by the doctor, proof of injury to the plaintiff, and proof that the injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence.
However, risks which are unavoidable even when the greatest care has been exercised, may in a particular case, be shown by a lawyer to have resulted from lack of due care by the health care professional.