According to one recent study, medical malpractice is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States. The authors of the study indicate that medical errors are not being reported as often as they occur because of the way causes of death are coded for death certificates.
When the most common causes of death are compiled each year, the causes are compiled by analyzing the international code for the cause of death on death certificates. Because there is not an International Classification of Disease (ICD) for medical malpractice, this cause of death is not included by the Centers for Disease Control when compiling the list of the most common causes of death. Researches analyzed other data and concluded that medical malpractice results in the death of approximately 251,000 people each year making it the third most common cause of death.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers injury or harm because a healthcare provider acted in a way that deviated from the accepted standard of care. In order to recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that a medical provider had a duty to the patient, he or she violated that duty, and the patient was injured as a result of the breach of duty.
The key to a medical malpractice claim is proving that the medical provider violated the duty of care. A medical provider must follow the “recognized standard of care” when treating a patient. The recognized standard of care is based upon what other physicians in similar circumstances would have done to treat the patient.
Proving a medical provided violated the recognized standard of care can be difficult. It requires the use of expert witnesses who can establish the recognized standard of care based on the facts of the case. Simply because a patient did not have a positive outcome is not sufficient evidence that the medical provider breached the duty of care. Sometimes bad things happen when treating a patient and there is nothing the physician could have done differently that would have resulted in a positive outcome. Physicians are not miracle workers — they cannot “heal” every patient.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can occur in every area of the medical field and can occur in the diagnosis and treatment of a medical condition. Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors (i.e. objects left in a patient, operating on the wrong site, failing to sanitize the operating room, etc.)
- Failing to obtain informed consent
- Birthing errors
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to actions or omissions of a medical provider, you need to consult with a Sacramento personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You have a very short time to file a medical malpractice claim. If you fail to file your claim, you lose the right to receive damages for your injuries.
Call for a Free Medical Malpractice Consultation
To learn more about California medical malpractice claims, contact the Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or chat with a representative on our website to schedule your free legal consultation.