Doctors, nurses, and hospitals make mistakes. Diseases are misdiagnosed, patients are neglected, test results misread. With many big insurance companies, individuals suffer the consequences of bad medical practice. The Jackson medical malpractice attorneys at Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC are experienced in taking on doctors and hospitals when a client has been injured due to breaching the standard of care. We utilize the best experts in the country to fight for our clients and their families, and we work hard to get them the compensation they deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a negligent or careless act by a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider. Malpractice occurs when a physician fails to properly treat or neglects to treat a medical condition and this failure or neglect results in a new or aggravated injury to the patient. The negligence in medical malpractice cases can occur in a variety of situations, which can include any of the following:
- Delay or failure in diagnosing a disease
- Surgical or anesthesia-related accident or mishap caused by failure to monitor patient during surgical procedure, use of defective equipment, failure to direct patient on steps necessary prior to anesthesia procedure, failure to consider risk profile of patient (i.e., medical history) or mistakes during administration of anesthetic
- Lack of your informed consent for an operation or surgical procedure
- Physician fails to properly treat a disease after making a correct diagnosis
Types of Birth Injuries That May Result from Medical Malpractice
Birth injuries come in a huge variety of forms and severities. Some of them are inconsequential, like a birthmark. Others, though, almost guarantee that the infant victim will live a short and potentially painful life.
These birth injuries can happen at two different points during a pregnancy: in utero or during delivery.
In Utero Birth Injuries
Birth injuries that happen while the fetus is in the womb are usually the result of genetics or drugs that the mother took before knowing she was pregnant. However, some birth injuries that happen in utero can also be the result of medical malpractice. Doctors who prescribe potentially harmful medication to a woman without checking to see if she is pregnant can put the unborn child in jeopardy. When the birth injury is genetic, doctors can still be liable for medical malpractice if they:
- had an opportunity to discover the risks and inform the parents of the odds of having a child with a birth defect, or
- failed to notice the signs of a defect during the early stages of the pregnancy.
During Delivery Birth Injuries
Now, birth injuries that happen during delivery are often the result of a complication during birth or physical trauma during the delivery process. These incidents can also be the result of medical malpractice but not always. In lots of traumatic deliveries, there were steps that reasonable doctors would have known to take to minimize the trauma felt by the mother and her unborn infant but which were not taken.
Common Birth Injuries
Regardless of when the injury occurred, some of the most severe and common birth injuries are:
- Intracranial or subconjunctival hemorrhaging, or the rupturing of blood vessels during delivery
- Oxygen deprivation, often caused by the umbilical cord
- Cephalohematoma, or bruising of the skull during an assisted delivery
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Facial paralysis
- Skull fractures
- Shoulder dystocia
Many of these birth injuries create lasting repercussions for the children. Most of the injuries produce serious developmental difficulties and delays that can set the child behind his or her peers for the rest of his or her life. For example, when an infant is deprived of oxygen during a difficult delivery, he or she can suffer brain damage that can lower their mental aptitude, irreparably.
What Your Jackson Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Need to Prove
To prevail on a medical malpractice claim, you must prove each element of your case. Regardless of whether you are suing a doctor, specialist, nurse, hospital or another medical professional or entity, the basic elements are the same:
- Your medical provider owed you a legal duty of care;
- An act or omission by the medical provider did not conform to the accepted standard of care;
- This deviation from the standard of care constituted a breach of duty to you;
- This breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your injuries and lastly,
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries
Understanding Direct and Proximate Cause
Proving that your doctor made a grave error is not enough, nor is proving you are injured. You must also show that your doctor caused your injuries. Our attorneys clearly and definitively link your doctor’s actions of omissions to the injuries you sustained by utilizing our vast databank of some of the most reputable and knowledgeable medical experts in country.
The defense often tries to break this crucial link by claiming your injuries were pre-existing, caused by an intervening event or simply unrelated to the doctor’s mistake. Our Jackson medical malpractice lawyers anticipate these tactics and immediately lay the groundwork for disproving the defense’s assertions.
Accepted Standard of Care
Your medical provider is held to an accepted standard of care of a similarly situated professional. For example, your spine surgeon would be expected to act in accordance with the same care, skill and treatment that is recognized as appropriate by other similarly positioned spine surgeons under the same or similar circumstances. However, your general practice doctor would not be expected to possess the same intricate knowledge and skills of a spine surgeon but would be expected to have more general medical knowledge.
Brown Bass & Jeter is an experienced Mississippi medical malpractice law firm that handles complex claims involving pharmacy mistakes. We investigate the circumstances leading up to your injuries to determine whether the doctor, pharmacist or pharmacy is at fault and file a claim against the negligent professionals and entities. Like your physician has a duty to prescribe the correct medication, the pharmacies have a duty to fill your prescription correctly to avoid:
- Allergic reactions and side effects: Pharmacists have a duty to check your medical history and flag medications contraindicated for your condition.
- Drug interactions: Pharmacists have a duty to ensure you are not taking multiple medications that could adversely interact.
- Medication mix-ups: Pharmacists have a duty to provide you with the correct medication, which can be complicated by similar looking pills or similar names of drugs.
- Under or overdoses: Pharmacists have a duty to measure your doses correctly so you do not overdose or take an ineffective dose of the medication
How Pharmacy Mergers Have Affected Patient Care
Pharmacies have grown into a volume business, focused on filling the most prescriptions quickly. This can give rise to serious errors.
The pharmacists may not have access to your full history while filling your script or have the time to thoroughly review your records for dangerous drug interactions. Other medications or herbal supplements you take could interact adversely with the prescribed medication. Rarely do you speak to a trained medical professional to address concerns or discuss symptoms that might indicate a dangerous medical reaction. The printout you received with warnings and medical jargon is not a valid substitute.
Large drugstore corporations have multiple locations to serve patients. Despite maintaining a central computer system, your records do not appear at another location. A prescription filled at one location is not cross-referenced with one filled at a second location. This can be especially problematic for patients seeing several doctors for various medical conditions if the doctors also fail to fully investigate your pharmaceutical history.
Adding to the risk of error, overworked pharmacists often fill multiple prescriptions at once and handle thousands of tiny pills during the day. And yet, there is virtually no checks and balances that the pharmacist has not mixed up similar looking pills or miscalculated doses.
Damages in Mississippi Medical Malpractice Cases
Mississippi allows several types of damages to victims who prove their case. Available damages include compensatory damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
These damages are also known as economic damages because they already have a monetary amount attached to them, or, alternatively, the monetary amount is not difficult to determine. These damages include the actual costs patients either spend or lose, like medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, transportation costs to/from appointments, future aid and care that may be required for the patient. There is no cap set for economic damages in Mississippi, which means the State cannot limit how much compensation you receive.
These damages compensate things that are not easily valued, like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, or other like intangible consequence of the injury. These non-economic damages are often the most serious damages sustained when mistakes are made by doctors and surgeons, and in states where there is no cap, they are the most highly compensated consequences of medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, there is a cap of $500,000.00 (five hundred thousand dollars and no cent) set for non-economic damages in Mississippi. This amount is set by statute at Mississippi Code Ann.§11-1-60.
These damages are rare but can be applicable in certain egregious circumstances where the negligence was extreme, willful, fraudulent, reckless, or malicious. These damages serve to punish the doctor or healthcare professional, act as a deterrent, and provide extra care to a patient under these special circumstances.
Speak with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Jackson, MS Today
It can be incredibly difficult to know if you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice. Sometimes the injury can be obvious; other times the injury may not be apparent right away. This is why it is critical to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss what happened to you. At Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC, we specialize in medical malpractice claims and have a lot of experience helping people in Mississippi.
We work closely in conjunction with medical experts to give each case the individualized attention it deserves. You are always welcome to give our office a call to discuss your case with no obligation whatsoever. Call 601-487-8448 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.
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