Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers offer preventative care and life-saving services to patients every day. However, doctors and other medical professionals sometimes make mistakes – some of which cause serious injuries or death. The New York Times, for instance, reported that around 200,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical mistakes, making medical errors one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
While fatal medical errors are especially tragic, medical mistakes can also lead to other problems that make a condition worse or cause a patient to need more expensive treatment. When this occurs, you may be concerned about how to cope with the costs, or about what options you have for getting the treatment you need.
The laws in New York offer you important protections if you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice. A Syracuse medical malpractice attorney can provide you with the help you need to understand your rights and take legal action.
Situations in which a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
When doctors, other medical providers or medical facilities fall short of their obligations, the mistakes they make can take many different forms.
For example, some of the common forms of medical malpractice include:
- Delayed diagnosis – This can have serious consequences. For example, the cancer remission rate can decline from 90 percent or better with early detection to 10 percent or less with a delayed diagnosis. An undiagnosed blood clot or bleeding in the brain can cause a stroke, permanent brain damage or death, while appendicitis can lead to severe infection if the appendix is not removed in a timely manner.
- Misdiagnosis of a medical condition – Misdiagnosis can result in a patient receiving the wrong treatment or receiving no treatment at all. Similar to a delayed diagnosis, this can have serious consequences. Those who are diagnosed with a disease they don’t have can also be harmed by unnecessary medical treatment that may have dangerous side effects.
- Surgical errors – Surgeons operate on the wrong patient or the wrong body part as often as 20 times per week, according to a Johns Hopkins medical malpractice study. The same study also revealed that a sponge or other surgical instrument gets left inside of a patient on average 39 times each week. Surgeons can also simply fail to perform a surgery in a reasonably competent manner.
- Lab and test errors – When a lab misreads test results; mixes up results with another patient’s; contaminates a test; or fails to perform a test, this can have an adverse impact on your treatment and health.
- Anesthesia errors – When you are put under anesthesia, your vital signs must be monitored carefully. A wrong dose, or failure to ensure that you are OK while you are under, can be fatal or cause serious injuries.
- Labor and delivery mistakes – Birth injuries are far too common and can result in conditions including cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. Both a child and a mother can be injured if a doctor fails to notice and respond to signs of fetal distress, if a doctor aggressively uses vacuums or forceps, or if other errors are made during the delivery process.
- Medication errors – Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other care providers may give you with the wrong dose of medication, such as giving you 100 mg instead of 10 mg of a drug. You may be given the wrong medication (many have names that sound alike) or a medication that causes an adverse reaction with a drug you are already on. The consequences can be deadly.
These are just a few of the many examples of different situations where you may need a medical malpractice lawyer.
Do I Still Need a Lawyer if the Doctor or Hospital is Willing to Settle?
When you have a medical malpractice claim, sometimes the doctor or hospital will take responsibility and agree to compensate you. You will have to give up your right to sue if you accept the settlement money.
You should never do this until you have spoken with a medical malpractice attorney. The law dictates that damages for a medical malpractice claim should cover medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other losses. A hospital or doctor may try to offer a settlement lower than what is reasonable simply to try to avoid paying what you are actually owed.
You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after a medical error. When you work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, your attorney can help you make your case as strong as possible to help make sure you get full and fair compensation. A Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to reach a settlement or bring your case to court.
How a Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You
Claims for medical negligence are usually very complicated. At the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer can help you with all aspects of a medical negligence claim. From analyzing your medical records, to finding expert witnesses, to getting you the treatment you need for the damage the medical error caused, the services provided by our medical malpractice lawyers will be invaluable in helping you get justice.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence and you want to find out how a lawyer can help, contact us today. Our Syracuse malpractice lawyers are ready to provide you with a free consultation and claim evaluation.
Call us or fill out our online contact form. We make house calls and can meet with you at your home or hospital in Syracuse and surrounding areas if you’re unable to travel.