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Medical malpractice is something just about everyone is aware of and hopes never happens to them. The idea that your healthcare provider would not only treat you carelessly, but harm you in the process, is a terrifying thought. And unfortunately, it’s a reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans each year—some of whom even die as a result.
Thankfully, victims and their families have recourse via lawsuits when medical malpractice occurs. But first, they must prove when and where the malpractice happened, and who did it. In this blog, we’ll break down each medical professional who can commit medical malpractice and be held liable for it via a settlement or in court.
The first example many people think of when they hear the phrase “medical malpractice” is doctors, especially general practitioners, and for good reason. In every interaction with patients, doctors can commit medical malpractice by working negligently. They can misdiagnose patients, fail to diagnose them, not take their symptoms seriously, fail to check their medical histories and charts, prescribe them the wrong medications, and more.
According to the American Medical Association, one in three doctors has been sued for medical malpractice. And for doctors who continue practicing to at least age 55, that number increases to one in two. And while not every lawsuit is successful or valid, doctors being sued for medical malpractice is extremely common.
Although surgeons are also doctors, they can commit medical malpractice in ways that doctors who don’t work in operating rooms cannot. For example, surgeons may harm patients by operating on the wrong body parts, by failing to consider risks of infection or bleeding, and even by leaving surgical tools inside patients’ bodies.
When surgeons commit medical malpractice, the consequences are often, but not always, more immediate and obvious to patients. The costs also may be more extensive, as patients may require additional surgeries and suffer more profound disabilities as a result of their malpractice-related complications, illnesses, and injuries.
There are many types of doctors beyond general practitioners and surgeons. They include oncologists, gynecologists, radiologists, neurologists, urologists, and more. All of these doctors are held to the same high standards as general practitioners and surgeons. When they treat patients, they must do so to the best of their abilities.
Patients are often even more trusting of specialists than other doctors, or they may feel “stuck” with their specialists. They may need referrals from their general practitioners to even see specialists, which can make getting a second opinion or trusting their gut to change providers difficult or even impossible. This can put patients at higher risk of being harmed by negligent specialists.
Anesthesiologists are doctors who control, monitor, and supervise levels of sedation before, during, and after surgery. Their job makes it possible for surgeries to involve little to no pain during the actual procedures. However, when anesthesiologists miscalculate sedation levels, patients may develop complications or even wake up during operations.
It’s up to these specialized doctors to ensure that every patient gets just the right amount of sedative to allow surgeons to do their jobs without putting those patients at risk. When anesthesiologists make mistakes, their patients can experience severe pain and even die.
Pharmacists are often the last line of defense for ensuring that patients get the medications they need to recover from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries. They must not only ensure that patients get the right medications, but that their dosages are correct and that they won’t experience any dangerous interactions among any other drugs they’re taking.
When pharmacists don’t double-check everything when administering medications, patients can overdose, receive ineffective doses, take the wrong medications, or suffer serious allergic reactions that could have been prevented with more care and diligence.
These are just a few of the medical professionals who can be held liable for medical malpractice, but they are the most common culprits. Every case is different, and some patients are harmed by other types of providers or even multiple providers. At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers know how to determine when, where, and how malpractice occurred, and we hold negligent healthcare providers liable.
Contact us today for a free consultation. You may be facing expensive medical bills and a long future with no paychecks, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure you get fair compensation for what you’ve gone through.
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