Most doctor’s appointments and hospital visits end with the patient returning home in a better state than when they arrived. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. While this can happen when a patient’s condition worsens, there are instances where the doctor is to blame. If you think you’ve been hurt as a result of a physician’s negligence, you need help from a Rockville medical malpractice lawyer.
Medical malpractice is a legal term that describes situations where medical professionals harm patients because of negligence or recklessness. Any time a doctor injures a patient or worsens their condition, the injured party has a right to file a legal claim against the physician to seek compensation for their losses.
At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we’re dedicated to helping injured victims recover and move forward comfortably. If you’re looking for legal guidance in the area of medical malpractice, we can help. Let’s start by taking a look at the responsibilities a doctor has in the state of Maryland.
Understanding a Physician’s Responsibility in Maryland
Doctors have a number of responsibilities and obligations when it comes to seeing, diagnosing, and treating patients. In order to ensure those duties are met, our state has been regulating the medical field since 1789.
While the name has changed over the years, the Maryland Board of Physicians has the authority to license doctors and other health care providers, like physician assistants, radiographers, radiation therapists, radiologist assistants, nuclear medicine technologists, and more. In addition to providing licenses, they also investigate complaints and discipline those who violate the Maryland Medical Practice Act.
Under the Maryland Medical Practice Act, the Code of Maryland Regulations provides information as to what doctors are allowed to do and how they should act in given situations. More specifically, the code looks at general regulations, code of ethics, standards of practice, physical therapy aide, rules of procedure for board hearings, foreign-educated licensure requirements, fee schedules, continuing education requirements, speed-impaired applicants, disciplinary sanctions and fines, compelling purpose disclosure, and dry needling.
Overall, doctors have a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care to their existing patients. This duty begins when they agree to treat a patient who has requested their services and ends when the patient has been discharged from the facility. The official stages of duty include attending, diagnosing, referring, treating, and instructing the patient. Standard of care refers to the care any other physician in the same field would reasonably provide to a patient in similar circumstances.
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you’ve been harmed because a doctor failed to obey the standard of care, you may have grounds for a personal injury case. A Rockville medical malpractice attorney from our firm can look into the matter for you.
When Negligent Doctors Harm Patients
In short, medical negligence occurs when a physician or medical care provider acts outside the standard duty of care and harms a patient. This occurs for a number of reasons. Sometimes, inexperienced physicians are asked to perform procedures they’re not ready for. Instead of saying no or asking for help, they’ll perform the procedure and injure a patient.
Sleep deprivation and stress are also factors that play into medical malpractice. Physicians are tasked with working long hours and it’s not uncommon for difficult cases to require treatment. When a doctor neglects to take care of themselves, they put their patients in harm’s way. The same goes for physicians who choose to cope with the stress with alcohol or drugs.
Communication is also a common factor that leads to instances of hospital negligence. There’s typically a chain of command when it comes to ordering tests and administering prescriptions. If even one mistake is made along that chain, the patient is at risk of sustaining a preventable injury.
No matter what factors contributed to the medical malpractice you suffered, your lawyer will build a case that proves you were wronged. Required elements for a strong claim include establishing a doctor-patient relationship, explaining the duty of care and how it was breached, connecting the injuries to the breach, and determining the damages.
What Are the Different Kinds of Medical Malpractice?
There are various types of medical malpractice that can occur when a medical professional acts negligently. Our Rockville medical malpractice attorneys are familiar with the common types of medical malpractice and how they can result in injuries and financial losses.
When you go to see a doctor and you’re explaining your symptoms, they’ll ask questions and use tests to rule out possible problems to find the one that’s ailing you. If they make assumptions during this process or miss an important detail, this could result in a misdiagnosis. You’ll think you’ve found the problem and can start treatment to fix it. However, the real problem hasn’t been discovered and it’s still going untreated. This can allow you health issue to continue and possibly worsen.
If someone misdiagnoses cancer, the effects can be severe. A missed diagnosis of cancer can allow the illness to progress and the patient isn’t receiving the care they need. On the other hand, an incorrect diagnosis of cancer can have negative consequences as well. Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be emotionally overwhelming, it’s a lot for someone to go through. Then, they begin treatment, which can be taxing on their body. If someone is receiving chemotherapy and radiation when they don’t need to be, their healthy cells can sustain damage. They may also undergo an invasive surgery to remove the cancer, only to find they went through a surgical procedure that wasn’t necessary.
Surgery can have devastating consequences if the medical professionals in charge of your care act negligently. Some surgical mistakes include operating on the wrong limb, called wrong-site surgery. If someone is getting an operation on their right arm and wake up to find their left arm was operated on, they were a victim of wrong-site surgery. A hospital with careful safety procedures and protocols in place greatly reduce these preventable situations from happening.
There may also be situations where tools or sponges are left inside the injury site. Not only will these require a corrective surgery to remove the medical equipment, they also pose a risk of infection. If the patient is immunocompromised or older, this infection could have deadly consequences.
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room errors can be fatal. Typically, when people need urgent care, they’ll go to the E.R. to get the treatment they need. People can come to the E.R. if they’re feeling ill and have a fever, if they’ve hurt a limb and it may be sprained or broken, or if they’re feeling odd pains and want to make sure they’re okay. In an emergency room, most people are seen in order, however, if someone has serious symptoms, they should receive care immediately.
For example, if a person comes in with chest pains or is having difficulty breathing, these could be symptoms of a serious health issue like heart attack or stroke. If these are caught early, doctors can administer treatment to help the patient and possibly prevent a critical health event from occurring. If these symptoms aren’t recognized and the patient isn’t treated, they could suffer from life-threatening injuries and possibly lose their life.
Many people take medication every day or need it as part of treatment for something. If a pharmacist gives someone the wrong prescription, the person could have an allergic reaction or suffer from not treating the problem. When someone is in the hospital, nurses may give them medication to help with treatment and also mitigate pain. If a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, their lives could be put in danger. Medication errors can happen from mixing up similar drug names, providing the correct drug but not the correct strength, and if the prescribing and usage information are confusing.
If you don’t recognize the situations above, you should still reach out to our firm. There are multiple ways that medical malpractice can happen, and we understand that each individual has details that make their case different. It takes a skilled Rockville medical malpractice lawyer to listen to your side of the story, carefully investigate what happened, and gather evidence to show that you were wrongfully harmed by a medical professional.
While sustaining an injury or illness because of a doctor’s, nurse’s, surgeon’s, or other medical care provider’s negligence is painful to come to terms with, you can seek your legal options. This may provide you with the fair compensation you need so you can recover from your injuries. Let’s take a look into how having a med mal attorney at your side can help you get the recovery you deserve.
Recovering from Medical Malpractice Injuries
Recovery after a traumatic incident is multifaceted. Victims of medical malpractice are often left to deal with the physical, emotional, and financial implications on their own. Fortunately for those in Rockville, our attorneys are dedicated to making recovery as easy as possible. We recognize that every situation is different, which means the needs of every client are unique.
In regard to physical recovery, that depends on the injuries the patient sustained. If, for example, a patient underwent an operation on the wrong side of their body or a surgery meant for a different patient, it’s likely they’ll need to go under the knife again to fix the original problem. This means a significantly longer recovery time and a higher risk of complications from having multiple operations performed on them. Other med mal victims could need physical therapy or home health care until they’ve reached a level where they can function independently again.
It takes a tremendous amount of trust to allow a physician of any kind to perform a procedure or administer a medication. If that trust is broken, a patient could suffer mentally. If their recovery time is lengthened and they are immobile or unable to participate in activities they previously enjoyed, they could develop depression. In a rare instance where a patient experiences anesthesia complications and awakens during surgery, they could need to see a licensed psychologist to cope with anything they remember.
When it comes to the costs associated with a medical malpractice error, the bills can pile up quickly. Patients can be left with thousands and thousands of dollars in medical debt, with nowhere to turn. Without a medical malpractice claim, there are often few options when it comes to paying that debt off or receiving assistance.
Our lawyers will fight for you to receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We’ll make sure to assess your losses and calculate a fair compensation amount.
Pursuing Legal Representation in Rockville
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complicated. As such, pursuing one is only wise if you have the help of an attorney. At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, our Rockville medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to ensuring wronged patients receive the compensation they need to make as full a recovery as possible.
While we generally trust doctors and their decisions, it’s important to stand up for yourself if you feel your injury could or should have been prevented. Choosing to say nothing will only result in financial trouble and an uncertain future.
You are limited with how much time you have to file a claim as a result of the state’s statute of limitations, so it’s imperative to file as early as possible. As soon as you believe you’ve been wrongfully injured by a negligent physician, get in touch with us. We’ll begin investigating your situation right away to determine if you have grounds for a claim.
We understand how overwhelming filing a claim can seem, but we’ll make sure you understand your rights and obligations every step of the way. In order to best serve the residents of Rockville, we provide potential clients with free, no-obligation consultations. Give us a call today to learn more.