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HOW DO I KNOW IF A DOCTOR MADE AMISTAKE? It Is Important to Understand How You Can Determine If a Doctor Made a Mistake In Order to Make a Medical Negligence Claim

CAREY, DANIS & LOWE


Doctors are required to undergo advanced training and to pass medical board exams within their state before they can begin practicing medicine. The purpose of the education and testing is to ensure that physicians have the necessary specialized knowledge and skill to diagnose medical conditions and to provide treatment to patients. Any treatment provided by a physician can have life-and-death consequences. Unfortunately, despite their advanced training, physicians of all types, from internists to surgeons are not infallible and mistakes are sometimes made. When an error constitutes medical negligence, the injured patient and/or his or her surviving family members can pursue a damage claim against the physician who made the mistake. To make such a claim, however, it is important to understand how you can determine if a doctor made a mistake and whether that mistake was negligently made. HOW TO DETERMINE IF A DOCTOR MADE A MISTAKE To determine if a doctor made a mistake, it is necessary to assess whether the physician’s behavior was objectively reasonable in the situation or whether the physician’s care fell below the standard of care of a reasonably careful doctor. There are often a variety of different options that physicians can pursue when providing treatment to a patient and there is not necessarily one specific way to treat a patient. There are, however, acts and omissions that are clearly substandard and not up to the level of care that a reasonable physician with the same background would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.

How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?

Carey, Danis and Lowe, Attorneys at Law

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In some cases, it is very clear that a mistake has been made and that no reasonable physician would have acted as did the doctor in question. For example, if a physician operates on the wrong body part, the physician has clearly made a mistake. If a physician leaves a surgical instrument inside of a patient, this is also a clear error. These mistakes are referred to as “never events” because they should never occur. Yet, researchers from Johns Hopkins determined that surgical “never events” occur at least four times each year. When these mistakes occur, it is very easy to prove negligence because the standard of care is clear that these events should never occur. In other cases, however, to assess whether a doctor’s actions were objectively reasonable in the situation, it is necessary to have a physician review the medical records and assess whether the doctor’s care breached the standard of care. This is the case when the doctor may have made an error but it is less clear cut whether his actions or omissions were below what a reasonably careful doctor would have done in the same or similar circumstances. It can sometimes be difficult to find a well-qualified doctor who is willing to review the work of another physicianand testify that the treating doctor breached the standard of care. Consequently, you may wish to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who can help you to find an expert who can review the care that you received. The expert that you consult with will review all records associated with the treatment that you received and provide an opinion whether your treating doctor committed malpractice and if so, whether that malpractice injured you. You have the legal right to access your medical records and have them reviewed by a third

How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?

Carey, Danis and Lowe, Attorneys at Law

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party medical professional other than the doctor who provided you with the initial treatment. If the physician or hospital will not cooperate in providing you with your own medical records, you should consult with an experienced attorney for help. Once you have your medical records and the expert reviews them, he can make a determination on whether the doctor’s care provided fell within the bounds of what is

The first step in winning this battle and getting the compensation you deserve for a medical mistake is to find an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can help you to obtain the necessary records and who can help you to find qualified medical experts who will review the care that you were provided with to provide you with an accurate assessment of whether the doctor treating you made a medical mistake.

considered acceptable care or whether the physician made a mistake. If a mistake is identified and it is determined that no reasonable doctor would have acted as your doctor did, then you may pursue a claim for medical negligence. MEDICAL MISTAKES AND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE A doctor who makes a mistake that rises to the level of medical malpractice can be held legally accountable for all consequences of that mistake. This means that you can sue the doctor and recover compensation for medical bills; lost income; and pain and suffering. If the mistake caused a person’s death, then surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the physician who made the fatal error. In order to successfully pursue a medical malpractice claim, it is necessary to demonstrate that a mistake was made and to show that the mistake was the cause of harm for which you can be compensated. Because a doctor’s conduct is judged based on what a reasonable professional in the same situation would have done, medical malpractice cases often come down

How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?

Carey, Danis and Lowe, Attorneys at Law

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to a battle of the experts. A jury in a medical malpractice civil trial is not going to know on its own how to objectively judge whether a medical mistake rising to the level of malpractice was made. As a result, your medical expert will explain, in language a jury can understand, what was done, why that treatment was a breach of the standard of care, what the doctor should have done, and explain how and why the doctor’s actions injured the patient. The doctor, of course, will have his own medical experts testifying on his behalf and arguing that no mistake was made. Because of this, medical malpractice cases often come down to a “battle of the experts.” The first step in winning this battle and getting the compensation you deserve for a medical mistake is to find an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can help you to obtain the necessary records and who can help you to find qualified medical experts who will review the care that you were provided with to provide you with an accurate assessment of whether the doctor treating you made a medical mistake. After that, you resolve your malpractice claim through settlement or trial.

How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?

Carey, Danis and Lowe, Attorneys at Law

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About Carey, Danis & Lowe, Attorneys at Law Carey, Danis & Lowe exclusively represents plaintiffs in litigation. The firm practices a wide area of personal injury law including trucking accidents, medical malpractice, auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, burn injuries, defective prescription drugs, and defective medical devices. Currently approximately 50% of the practice is devoted to prescription drug litigation, including drugs such as Yaz, Pradaxa, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, and defective medical devices including Mirena, Transvaginal Mesh, Depuy ASR Hips, and Nextgen Knees. The remainder of the practice is devoted to trucking accidents, auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, and other serious personal injuries. The firm is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, but practices throughout the nation. We have successfully handled cases from coast to coast. The law firm prides itself on personally handling all cases it takes in, and has the expertise to, if necessary, try the case to a jury no matter how complex or lengthy. The firm has a successful track record in obtaining large jury verdicts for their injured clients as well as substantial settlements. The firm has obtained multi million dollar verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases, including a $105 million jury verdict involving the explosive separation of a multi-piece wheel against Firestone which was the largest verdict in Missouri that year, a $13 million verdict against a hotel where a boxing match was held for not having an ambulance on site, a $4.5 million jury verdict against medical Engineering Corporation for a defective breast implant, a $2 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice case, a $2.1 million settlement involving a trucking accident, a $1.1 million verdict in a motorcycle accident case, a $1,050,000 verdict in a trucking accident case, a $1 million judgment in underinsured motorist case, and many others. The firm has also represented thousands of clients in pharmaceutical and medical device cases and recovered over a billion dollars. Some of the settlements and judgments involve Fen Phen, Baycol, Vioxx, Bextra, Avandia, Paxil, Smith & Nephew Macrotextured Knees, and Depuy ASR metal on metal hips. The firm is dedicated to providing excellent legal representation for people injured by defective products or in a variety of accidents. Carey, Danis & Lowe, Attorneys at Law 8235 Forsyth Blvd, Suite 1100 St. Louis, Missouri 63105 http://www.cdlinjurylaw.com Practice Areas Trucking Accidents / 18-Wheeler Crashes Pharmaceutical Liability Motor Vehicle Accidents Personal Injury Medical Malpractice Defective Medical Devices Commercial Litigation

How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?

Carey, Danis and Lowe, Attorneys at Law

6


How Do I Know If a Doctor Made a Mistake?