Understanding medical malpractice

Medical mistakes can be devastating, and many people may be surprised to learn just how often these incidents occur. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that more than 250,000 people are killed each year due to medical errors. This statistic is astounding and becomes even more shocking when considering just how many people survive medical mistakes in our left dealing with the consequences. The number of medical mistake survivors reaches into the millions each year.

There are various ways that medical mistakes occur. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Misdiagnosing a patient
  • Failure to diagnose a patient
  • Failure to treat a patient’s condition
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Prescription medication mistakes
  • Healthcare-acquired infections
  • Emergency room malpractice

Any of these medical errors have the potential to cause significant long-term consequences for victims. Not only will a medical mistake victim after deal with extended hospital stays, but they may need extended treatment in order to make a full recovery from an injury that never should have occurred.

Who can be held liable in these cases?

When most people think of medical mistakes, they immediately think of doctors or surgeons. However, these are not the only medical professionals that people deal with on a regular basis. Throughout the year, you or someone in your family may regularly interact with nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, emergency medical professionals, chiropractors, psychologists, physician’s assistants, and more.

Anytime there is an established medical provider-patient relationship, then that medical professional could be held liable if they make a mistake. Generally, a provider-patient relationship is established when somebody has an appointment with the medical professional or undergo some sort of treatment or procedure at the guidance of that professional.

What are the elements of a medical malpractice case?

There are various elements that need to be present in order for a medical malpractice case to be successful.
1. Duty. In general, there must have been a duty owed to the patient by the medical professional. This duty is generally established if there is a proven provider-patient relationship.
2. Breach of duty. The medical professional in question must have breached their duty of care by failing in their duty by not exercising the degree of medical care that another similarly trained healthcare professional would have provided in an equal situation.
3. Causation. There needs to be adequate proof that the medical provider’s breach of duty was directly responsible for causing injuries to the victim.
4. Damages. The patient must have suffered some sort of physical or emotional injury due to the medical provider’s breach of care. These injuries must have resulted in quantifiable losses, which can include medical bills, lost wages, payment suffering damages, etc.

A knowledgeable and experienced Hawaii medical malpractice attorney will be able to conduct a thorough investigation into these cases and prove all elements of negligence. Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli, and Pratt have extensive experience handling these cases.

What kind of compensation is available for these cases?

Victims who have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical provider should be able to recover compensation for their losses. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli, and Pratt, P.A. our medical malpractice attorneys in Hawaii understand what it takes to conduct a full investigation into these cases in order to provide the following for our clients:

  • Coverage of all medical expenses created by the medical mistake
  • Compensation for any necessary long-term medical care
  • Lost wages and benefits if a victim is unable to work while they recover
  • Loss of future earnings or earning potential if a victim is disabled
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages
  • Possible punitive damages in cases of gross negligence by the medical provider

The total amount of compensation available in these situations will vary depending on the facts related to each particular case.