Medical Malpractice: Here’s What You Should Know
According to the American Medical Association, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released the report “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” claiming that medical errors in hospitals may account for 44,000 to 98,000 deaths each year. In 2013, the medical malpractice insurer Diederich Healthcare released data from 2012 claiming that medical malpractice resulted in over $3.6 billion dollars in judgments and settlements, and that Florida is the state with the fifth highest number of medical malpractice claims. The severity of the injuries alleged in those claims were:
- Death: 31 percent
- Significant permanent injury: 19 percent
- Major permanent injury: 18 percent
- Quadriplegic, brain damage, lifelong care: 12 percent
- Minor permanent injury: 8 percent
All medical professionals, from surgeons and physicians to nurses, are required to provide all patients with a standard of care. This simply means that they must take the best care of their patients as possible without ever knowingly causing harm, and make sure their patient is well-informed so that they can provide informed consent. Medical professionals must adhere to professional and ethical standards.
Medical malpractice can take many forms, but it is always predicated upon the idea that a doctor enters into a doctor-patient relationship and violates standards of care, causing their patient harm. These violations of standards of care can take many forms, ranging from misdiagnosis (the most common case), to errors made during surgery or treatment. If you feel you have been harmed by a medical professional, or are uncertain whether your medical professional has engaged in medical malpractice, contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice immediately.