When you are hurt or become ill, you have the right to expect competent medical care from the doctors, surgeons, and medical staff that treat you. However, doctors or other healthcare professionals often make serious mistakes when treating patients. According to a study by safety experts at Johns Hopkins, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The study revealed that more than 250,000 Americans die because of medical malpractice that could have been prevented.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse, or even a hospital harms a patient through negligence or error. This type of negligence can happen in many ways – either through failure to diagnose, improper treatment, misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, or prescribing the wrong medication.
Most medical professionals are competent and work hard to make sure that they meet the standards of their peers and their profession. The unfortunate fact is that some healthcare personnel can make critical mistakes that can lead to catastrophic injuries or even death. There is always the possibility that a doctor will make a crucial error when operating on a patient or fail to diagnose a serious illness.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine if you have a valid medical malpractice claim. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton have 28 years of experience handling a variety of medical malpractice concerns.
To prove a medical malpractice claim, the following factors must be in place:
The standard statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in Tennessee is one year, which means you have one year from the date the malpractice occurred to file a claim. If a patient’s injury is not discovered within that one-year period, the statute of limitations starts on the date the injury is discovered.
In some cases, medical malpractice lawsuits can be brought within a larger time frame. However, no suit can be filed after three years from the date of the malpractice.
Malpractice can occur in many different circumstances, but some of the most common forms include:
A doctor may make a serious mistake in the operating room while performing surgery. Surgical errors such as operating on the wrong part of the body, puncturing a blood vessel or organ, or even leaving surgical instruments inside the body can happen. Other medical personnel, such as a nurse or an aide, may provide the wrong post-operative care. Improper procedures may be used, or a failure to give the patient proper post-op instructions. These types of mistakes may lead to further complications and injury.
Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is one of the most common medical malpractice complaints. When a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a patient’s condition, severe injury or even death can occur. A misdiagnosis can result in improper treatment that causes harm, while a failure to diagnose leads to the patient not receiving proper treatment and suffering an injury. To prove negligence in this type of case, it must be proven that the doctor was incompetent and that another doctor in a similar situation would not have made the same mistake.
A healthcare provider may make serious mistakes in providing prenatal care to a mother to be. Errors such as a failure to diagnose preeclampsia, hypoglycemia, anemia, gestational diabetes or Rh incompatibility can cause harm to the mother and the baby. A doctor may fail to identify ectopic pregnancies, birth defects, or contagious diseases that can pass to the fetus.
Medical negligence can also happen during childbirth. A doctor can cause injury to the baby or the mother by failing to anticipate complications in the birthing process (such as a tangled up umbilical cord). The doctor may not respond to signs of fetal distress, or neglect to perform a cesarean section when it was appropriate to do so.
Severe fetal injuries include brain injuries (such as cerebral palsy or seizure disorders), fractured bones, or damage to the nerves that control the hands and arms.
Mistakes that are performed under anesthesia can be more serious than mistakes performed under surgery. Even a tiny error on the part of the anesthesiologist could result in devastating and permanent injuries, such as brain damage or death. When the anesthesiologist fails to thoroughly investigate a patient’s medical history or inform the patient of any risks involved if they do not follow the pre-op instructions (such as not eating prior to surgery), it is malpractice. An anesthesiologist can also fail to monitor the vital signs of a patient, give the patient too much anesthesia, or use malfunctioning equipment on the patient.
Prescription drug errors are also a common type of medical malpractice. A patient could be harmed and suffer injury by being prescribed the wrong medication by a doctor, or they could be treated with the wrong medication due to a misdiagnosis. In some cases, the right dosage of a drug is not given, which means a patient is given too much or too little of the medication.
Medical malpractice can also occur due to defective products such as defibrillators, stents, implants, pumps, or contraceptive devices. There may be a fine line between a product liability claim and medical malpractice. If the medical device manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings or did not manufacture a safe device, this is product liability and not malpractice. However, if a doctor ignored the warnings or instructions provided by the manufacturer, they can be held liable.
Medical malpractice often happens in emergency rooms, since the standard of care there is different. The ER is prone to long waits, high volumes of patients, and staff shortages. Emergency room personnel can be prone to errors and accidents under these circumstances. Overworked ER professionals can miss critical symptoms and cause serious injury to a patient.
These are the most common forms of medical malpractice that we at the Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton see, but we can help you determine the best legal course of action after any medical error.
In many medical malpractice cases, the odds are stacked against the victim. The responsible party likely has abundant resources they can use to enlist numerous experts for the defense. Some of these experts may refuse to testify for the victims, because the state’s doctors are covered by the same insurance company that looks down on other doctors taking a stand against their peers.
Medical malpractice claims can be confusing and complex. These cases require hours of depositions and testimony from several medical experts to provide evidence that a patient suffered severe injury and damage. Even if the injuries or damages are small, the cost of pursuing medical malpractice litigation is sometimes more than the compensation you may receive.
To successfully win a medical malpractice case, you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Our Nashville medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton have over 28 years’ experience evaluating and handling medical malpractice claims in the Tennessee court system. Our lawyers have a network of experts that are willing to come and provide strong testimony in medical malpractice cases.
A medical malpractice injury may affect you for the rest of your lifetime. Injuries that require years of care and treatment result in astronomical medical costs, time, and stress. When you choose to work with us, these stressors can be eliminated. Our law firm will diligently work your medical malpractice case so that you can focus on your well-being and recovery.
Compensation and damages in medical malpractice lawsuits in Tennessee fall into three categories: non-economic, economic, and punitive damages.
Tennessee places a cap on non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are capped at $750,000 for all types of medical malpractice, and the cap applies whether a single act or a series of acts caused an injury. There is an exception for catastrophic injuries, in which there is a cap at one million dollars.
The state of Tennessee does not limit economic damages such as compensation for medical bills (including past and future expenses) lost income (including compensation for lost earning capacity), and other financial losses. Punitive damages are awarded based on the severity of the injury and the negligence.
The medical malpractice lawyers of the Law Office of Luvell L. Glanton have counseled numerous individuals through the medical malpractice claim process. We understand how complex and confusing a medical malpractice case can be, so our Nashville attorneys are tuned into the needs of our clients and offer caring and compassionate legal support.
Our legal team draws from our extensive experience in litigation to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their negligent actions. We will contact witnesses and experts on your behalf.
However, we don’t rely on just medical experts and testimony. We will build the strongest case possible by gathering the facts, getting expert opinions, and examining important documentation, such as medical records and hospital reports.
If you or a loved one is a victim of negligent behavior at the hands of a medical provider, you need to place your trust in a law firm that truly cares about helping you rebuild your life so that you can focus on your recovery. We will discuss your needs, let you voice your questions and concerns, and respond immediately to your requests during the process of handling your medical malpractice case. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at today so that you can recover the damages that you deserve.