If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you need a lawyer with the experience to handle medical malpractice cases. Lee Wallace has 20 years of experience handling legal matters in 20 states. Your lawyer should have the respect of her peers. Ms. Wallace’s peers voted her one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia, and have named her as one of Georgia’s SuperLawyers every year since the poll began. Contact us today and see if we can help you.
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WHAT DO WE HAVE TO PROVE TO WIN MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
In order to prove a nursing home negligence case, we need to show:
(1) Liability: The patient received poor medical care.
When a medical procedure results in a bad or surprising consequence, medical malpractice may have occurred. Under the law, a medical professional is liable when the care he or she gave was below “that degree of care and skill ordinarily employed by the profession generally under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances” (Georgia definition).
(2) Damages: A death or injury occurred.
If someone in your family died or was seriously injured as a result of poor medical care, you should consult a lawyer.
(3) Causation: The poor medical care caused the death or injury.
People who bring malpractice suits have to prove that the bad medical care caused the bad consequences. Sometimes patients have an easy time proving that link. For example, a hospital patient who is given the wrong medication may have an obvious, predictable reaction to it.
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MEDICAL MISTAKES?
In the wake of the IOM report, several agencies and organizations have prepared tip sheets that tell you what you can do to try to keep yourself or a loved one from being a victim of medical malpratice.
Protect Your Child From Medical Errors
Tips from Reader’s Digest
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (“APIC”)
Downloadable pamphlet on Patient Safety – Protecting Yourself from Medical Errors
HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD HOSPITAL?
Regardless of how careful you are in selecting your hospital or doctor, you still can be the victim of medical malpractice. You can never fully protect yourself when you are sick and in someone else’s care.
Still, it absolutely makes sense to choose your hospital as carefully as you can.
Medicare’s Hospital Compare lets you compare patient opinions of various hospitals you are considering.
Leapfrog Group also provides a “compare” tool, although its results are based on voluntary submissions by the hospitals themselves. The group hopes to use peer and public pressure to push hospitals to find ways to guard against medical malpractice. However, the tool is limited by the information it gets. In October 2011, the Cleveland Clinic announced it would no longer provide Leapfrog with information about hospital acquired infection (HAI) rates. Henry Ford in Detroit and Parkview Health also announced they will no longer report hospital acquired infection numbers to Leapfrog.
HOW COMMON ARE MEDICAL MISTAKES?
According to a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an arm of the National Academy of Science, up to 1,000,000 people are injured and 98,000 die each year in hospitals due to preventablemistakes. According to the report, called To Err is Human, medical errors cost Americans some $17–$29 billion a year. As PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer put it: “That makes medical mistakes a leading cause of preventable death that kills more people each year than breast cancer or motor-vehicle accidents.”
Ten years later, Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, looked at whether we had made progress in eliminating these errors. It concluded: “in the decade since the report was published, little progress has been made implementing key reforms recommended by the IOM to improve patient safety, U.S. Health System Fails to Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors. U.S. Health System Fails to Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors, 2009 Consumer Unions Report.