Is Malpractice by a Doctor a Common Occurrence?
Malpractice by a doctor or hospital is, unfortunately, quite common. Very often, people are not even aware that malpractice has occurred. In order to successfully win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that the doctor or hospital deviated from standard medical practice and that the injuries sutained are the result of this malpractice. For example, if a doctor or hospital misdiagnosed an illness and the patient suffered physically, the patient must prove that had the doctor or hospital correctly diagnosed the illness, the subsequent suffering would not have occurred.
Common cases of medical malpractice usually involve child birth and delivery. Many mistakes are committed while the woman is in labor and during the actual delivery. If a child is born with a physical or mental defect, it is advisable to consult with a pediatrician to determine the cause of the defect. If it can be shown that pre-natal care or childbirth delivery were contributing factors, then you might have a viable claim for medical malpractice. Common examples of birth-related injuries include cerebral palsy, brain damage or Erb’s palsy.
Another common area of malpractice involves the belated diagnosis and detection of cancer. Often chest pain or stomach pains are incorrectly diagnosed as “heartburn” or “upset stomach.” If this occurs and a diagnosis of cancer or heart attack is missed, the chance for a cure is also often missed.
In general, medical malpractice cases are difficult to win. However, many cases are won and you should not be discouraged from pursuing your claim if you were harmed by a doctor or hospital.
Although in regular negligence cases you have 3 years to begin your lawsuit, medical malpractice cases must be begun within 2 ½ years of the treatment. If your claim is against a City hospital, you must file a “Notice of Claim” within 90 days from the malpractice and begin your lawsuit within 1 year and 90 days from the malpractice.
In malpractice cases, there are some exceptions in which the statute of limitations is extended, such as for children or where a foreign body was left inside the body or where there was continuous treatment by the same doctor for the same problem after the malpractice has occurred. If you feel that you or your family have been harmed by medical malpractice, please feel free to call us.