What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a negligent or careless act by a doctor, medical facility, or other healthcare provider. Malpractice occurs when a medical professional 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.
Not every medical mistake is an instance of malpractice. But if you suspect that medical malpractice occurred, consider speaking to a lawyer about holding the responsible party accountable for the harm you suffered.
Common Types of Negligent Medical Errors
Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a healthcare provider that results in suboptimal treatment that leads to harm, injury, or death. The scenarios where medical malpractice may occur are diverse, and our Jackson medical malpractice lawyers are equipped to handle a variety of cases, such as:
- Misdiagnosis of a disease;
- Delayed diagnosis;
- Failure to properly treat a disease after making a correct diagnosis;
- Failure to obtain informed consent for an operation or surgical procedure;
- Anesthesia mistakes, such as failure to monitor a patient during a surgical procedure;
- Failure to consider the risk profile of a patient before performing a procedure;
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient;
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part or organ;
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication;
- Prescribing or administering the incorrect dosage;
- Birth injury;
- Hospital-acquired infections;
- Dental errors and malpractice;
- Emergency room mistakes;
- Nursing malpractice;
- Radiology errors.
Sometimes, a medical error results in the death of a patient. When that happens, the patient’s loved ones can speak with a medical malpractice attorney about filing a wrongful death claim.
Medical Standard of Care
Every medical professional is held to an accepted standard of medical care. For example, your spinal surgeon would be expected to offer a level of care, skill, and treatments that other spinal surgeons would agree are appropriate under the circumstances. However, your general practice doctor would not be expected to possess the same intricate knowledge and skills as a spinal surgeon.
Lack of Informed Consent
Lack of informed consent occurs when a healthcare provider fails to fully inform a patient about the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives of a specific medical treatment or procedure, and the patient suffers harm as a result.
Informed consent is a fundamental patient right and is crucial for making educated healthcare decisions. A valid claim for lack of informed consent requires proving that medical or healthcare professionals did not adequately communicate the necessary information. It also requires proving that had the patient been fully informed, they would not have chosen to proceed with the treatment or procedure.
If this claim is successful, the patient may be eligible for fair compensation for the harm suffered.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Mississippi Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a negligent healthcare provider, our team at Brown, Bass & Jeter is here to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact Brown, Bass & Jeter today to find out what your case is worth.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Mistakes in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, several parties can be held liable for medical mistakes depending on the specifics of the case:
- Healthcare providers: Doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel can be held liable if their negligence or failure to adhere to the standard of care caused harm to the patient;
- Hospitals and clinics: Medical facilities can be held liable for their employees’ mistakes when the facility was negligent in hiring and supervising staff, did not provide adequate training, or failed to maintain a safe environment;
- Pharmacists: Pharmacists may be held liable for medication errors, such as dispensing incorrect dosages or disregarding harmful drug interactions.
In some cases, the patient’s injury is due to a defective medication or medical device. Manufacturers of these medications or devices may be held liable through product liability lawsuits.
Why Can a Medical Malpractice Claim Can Be Complex?
Medical malpractice claims are inherently complex due to the need to establish clear evidence of negligence and a direct causal link between that negligence and the patient’s harm. These cases often require medical expert testimony to demonstrate how the standard of care was breached.
Additionally, a medical malpractice claim involves navigating complicated medical records and legal processes, as well as overcoming defenses from the healthcare providers and their insurance companies. Furthermore, calculating damages for the patient’s injuries, including future medical costs and pain and suffering, can be a challenging and intricate process.
How Long Do You Have to File Medical Malpractice Claims in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is generally two years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered.
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as for minors, cases involving foreign objects left in a patient’s body, or cases when malpractice was concealed through fraud.
Damages in Mississippi Medical Malpractice Suits
Mississippi allows for several types of damages to be awarded to victims who prove their medical malpractice claim. These include economic damages, non-economic damages, and in rare cases, punitive damages.
Economic damages include losses that are easily measurable. They include the patient’s actual medical expenses and other losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, transportation costs to and from appointments, and costs of future care. There is no cap set for economic damages in Mississippi, which means the state cannot limit how much compensation you receive.
Non-economic damages compensate for things that are not easily valued, like physical and emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, or other intangible consequences of the injury. Mississippi has set a cap of $500,000 for non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are rare but can be awarded when the negligence is extreme, willful, fraudulent, reckless, or malicious. These damages serve to punish the doctor or healthcare professional, act as a deterrent, and provide extra compensation to a patient under these special circumstances. The cap for punitive damages in Mississippi varies depending on the defendant’s net worth.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
To win a medical negligence claim, you must prove each element of your case. Regardless of which medical professionals you are suing, the basic elements are the same:
- Your medical professional 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 cause of your injuries;
- You suffered harm as a result of your injuries.
Your attorney will likely gather medical paperwork and call on expert testimony, building a case that considers each element of a medical negligence claim.