Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or any healthcare professional causes a patient harm through an act of negligence. Certain criteria must be met to prove negligence in a medical malpractice case; a claimant must have proof of duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. For example, there must first be a patient-doctor relationship – this establishes the duty of care.
Next, there must be evidence that the doctor or other healthcare provider did not provide an adequate standard of care. This failure can take many forms, such as misdiagnosis, prescription error, or a surgical mistake. The breach in the standard of care causes the patient harm, which leads to damages, as the patient is now further injured. To prove that a case constitutes medical malpractice in Florida, claimants must also have support from a qualified third-party medical professional.
Understanding What Defines Medical Malpractice in Florida
An article in Studies in Health Technology and Informatics states that up to 251,000 deaths are due to medical errors in the United States every year. As a result, medical errors make up the country’s third-leading cause of death. Examples of these errors include:
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Improperly Administered Anesthesia
You may file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit if a doctor improperly administered anesthesia before surgery or another invasive procedure. For example, you or your loved one may have received too much or too little anesthesia or suffered another reaction, resulting in injuries.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
When you visit with a doctor, you expect a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis. Failing to diagnose an illness or disease promptly and properly can have devastating effects on your future health, especially when the misdiagnosis involves a potentially-life threatening condition. While delayed diagnosis can be medically justified in some cases, it is often the result of a diagnostic error that could constitute medical malpractice.
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Injuries That Occur During Treatment
Hospitals, clinics, and doctor offices have a duty to their patients to ensure they remain safe, receive the proper care, and remain unharmed during the time spent in their facilities. If a patient experiences a fall, improper handling, or mistreatment by unauthorized personnel, this could be deemed negligence.
Undergoing the Wrong Surgery or Procedure
Few medical errors are as insidious as those involving:
- Surgery on the wrong body part
- Incorrect procedures
- Undergoing a procedure intended for another patient
Not only does a patient not receive the treatment they need in these cases, but they can also experience further injuries, pain, and suffering. These patients may require corrective treatment in addition to their initial procedure.
Incorrectly Administered Medication
Medication errors are egregious and not uncommon. They can lead to death, severe reactions or illness and/or long-term health conditions. Anyone involved in developing, prescribing, or administering medication can be liable for prescription drug errors, including:
- Nurse practitioners
- Pharmacy departments in hospitals
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers
Failure to Remove Surgical Instruments
When surgical items are not removed from a patient’s body during surgery, the patient may require additional procedures to remove the foreign object. This can significantly lengthen the recovery process, cause unnecessary secondary health issues, and increase their medical bills. Stats cited in the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences estimate that around 1,500 of these cases occur each year in the United States.
It is important to keep in mind that a medical error does not always constitute malpractice. You must meet the legal standard for negligence in Florida, which includes finding a third-party practitioner to review and support your case.
Florida’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Medical malpractice cases in Florida are governed by a statute of limitations, which issues a time limit on filing a lawsuit. Specifically, Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(b) gives medical malpractice victims two years following the discovery of the medical error that caused their injury to initiate a lawsuit for compensation.
A lawyer specializing in Florida medical malpractice case law can assist you in bringing a claim against a medical provider, hospital, or clinic. However, waiting to do so could affect the viability of your suit.
Under Florida law, medical malpractice cases must be handled differently than other cases and are more challenging for plaintiffs to pursue. There are numerous legal pitfalls you could find yourself in, so you may want to hire an attorney with experience prosecuting these types of claims.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine About Your Medical Malpractice Case
Florida’s complicated medical malpractice laws make it intimidating to file a claim. However, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are ready to manage all of the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on healing.
Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation and evaluation regarding your medical malpractice claim. There is no fee unless we win your case. We serve Central and Southern Florida and its surrounding areas.
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