When you receive medical care, you are placing your trust, and often your life, in the hands of the healthcare professionals administering your treatment. You have a right to expect that these individuals will deliver high quality care that adheres to rigorous standards established by the medical community. While this level of care is often provided, there are certain times when medical professionals act negligently or make a mistake that causes a serious injury.
If you’ve suffered an injury caused by medical negligence, you have certain rights and protections afforded by the law. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages in a medical malpractice case.
The best way to learn about your rights and options after your injury is to speak with Kimberly Wilson White in person. Please call 919-890-0180 today to schedule a free medical malpractice consultation at our Raleigh, North Carolina office.
- What is Medical Malpractice?
- Hospital Errors
- Emergency Room Errors
- Failure to Diagnose/Misdiagnosis of a Medical Condition
- Surgical Errors
- Nursing Errors
- Medication Errors
- North Carolina Laws Make Medical Malpractice Claims Challenging
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, hospital, or any other healthcare professional acts negligently, makes a mistake, or just generally fails to meet the quality care criteria established by the medical profession. In order for you to recover compensation in a medical malpractice claim, you must also be able to demonstrate that you suffered an injury as a result of this negligent care.
However, you must keep in mind that not all poor outcomes are due to medical malpractice. There are risks associated with most medical procedures, and you can receive excellent treatment and still develop an unexpected complication that leads to injury. To have a valid malpractice claim, you must be able to prove that your injury was the result of medical negligence, which means that your physician or nurse deviated from the applicable standard of care.
Some of the most common actions that result in medical malpractice include:
- Hospital errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Emergency room errors
- Failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis of an injury or disease
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Nursing errors
- Failure to perform surgery in a timely manner
- Pharmacy errors
- Medication errors
- Lack of informed consent
According to the Journal of Patient Safety, approximately 400,000 individuals die every year as a result of hospital errors. These errors are caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Insufficient training of hospital staff
- Unreasonably long shift hours which increase the risk of fatigue
- Negligent maintenance of equipment.
In many situations where medical malpractice is committed by a hospital employee or by a physician with privileges at a hospital, you may be able to pursue additional claims of negligence against the hospital that are outside the scope of laws, rules and regulations applicable to traditional medical malpractice claims. Examples of these claims often involve the following:
- Failure to appropriately supervise the employee(s)
- Failure to have adequate policies and procedures in place
- Failure to follow or enforce hospital policies and procedures
- Failure to provide adequate training to hospital employees
- Failure to abide by JCAHO directives
- Granting privileges to incompetent physicians
If you've been injured as a result of hospital negligence, the attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. will fight aggressively to hold all negligent parties accountable. We will pursue all potential options available to you through our legal system in order to help you maximize the value of your compensation.
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency rooms are chaotic, fast-paced, unpredictable and highly stressful environments. As a result, emergency room staff must frequently think quickly, act decisively and maintain a clear head under pressure-filled circumstances. When a mistake is made in the ER, the consequences can often be catastrophic.
Common errors made in emergency rooms which may constitute medical malpractice include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Failure to properly diagnose a condition
- Failure to order the right tests
- Failure to interpret the results of diagnostic tests, x-rays or other imaging
- Failure to consider all symptoms exhibited by a patient
- Medication errors
- Delayed treatment
- Patient dumping (releasing a patient who doesn't have the means to pay for treatment)
While the rigorous and pressure-filled demands of the emergency room environment may explain why a medical professional acts negligently, it does not excuse this behavior. If you have suffered an injury as a result of an emergency room error, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. The attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. will fight aggressively to protect your rights every step of the way.
Failure to Diagnose/Misdiagnosis of a Medical Condition
When a healthcare professional fails to accurately diagnose a condition in a timely manner, it can have disastrous consequences for the patient. Often, conditions that can be easily treated when caught in their early stages require much more costly and invasive treatments when identified later in their progression. In some instances, such as with a delayed cancer diagnosis, this lost treatment time can prove fatal.
Failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis of a condition is considered medical malpractice when the healthcare professional deviates from accepted diagnostic protocol or acts negligently in evaluating a particular set of symptoms. Physicians are expected follow certain steps when diagnosing a condition. Depending on your illness, this may include ordering:
- Blood tests
- CT scans
In addition, your doctor is expected to be able to interpret the results of these diagnostic tests correctly. When they fail to do so, you may have a failure to diagnose medical malpractice case.
Failure to diagnose cases are highly complex. In order to achieve a successful outcome, you must be able to demonstrate that the healthcare professional breached the accepted standard of care when diagnosing your condition. You will need a medical expert to testify on your behalf that you received negligent or substandard care.
Kimberly Wilson White has been handling medical malpractice cases for injured victims in the Raleigh area for over 20 years. She has the experience to assist you with a wide range of misdiagnosis cases, including:
- Failure to diagnose cancer
- Failure to diagnose heart attack
- Failure to diagnose serious neurological conditions
- Failure to diagnose a blood clot or pulmonary embolism
- Failure to diagnose an infection
In addition to her extensive experience handling these cases, Kimberly Wilson White also possesses a Master's degree in Public Health, which provides her with a unique background that helps her grasp the sophisticated medical principles associated with your case.
There are always inherent risks associated with surgical procedures. Even when procedures are performed properly, it is still possible for complications to occur. But when a medical professional provides negligent care during a surgical procedure, the consequences can be disastrous.
Just about any medical professional involved in your surgical procedure can commit malpractice. This includes the surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, or any other professional providing your treatment. Common examples of surgical errors include:
- Leaving a surgical instrument inside the patient
- Operating on the wrong area of the body (wrong-site surgery)
- Using surgical equipment that wasn't properly sterilized
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to anticipate foreseeable complications
- Negligent creation of incisions, resulting in injury
- Negligent post-operative care, resulting in infection or other complications
If you've suffered an injury caused by a surgical error, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The sooner the attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. can start investigating your case, the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome.
When you receive medical treatment in a hospital, the team of nurses will be responsible for a significant portion of your treatment. Often, you will have more interaction with nurses than with the doctor who treats your condition. When nurses act negligently or make an error, it can often result in serious injury to the patient.
There are many reasons why nurses may provide substandard care, including:
- Inadequate training
- Fatigue brought on by working excessively long shifts
- Failure of a hospital to properly vet nursing candidates before hiring them
If you are injured due to a negligent error made by a nurse, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. At Wilson Law, P.A., we have handled a wide range of nursing error cases, including:
- Improper administration of medication
- Miscommunication with doctors
- Failure to respond to a critical warning alarm
- Improper use of a medical device
- Patient mix-ups
- Failure to monitor a patient's condition
- Failure to treat infections
Our medical malpractice lawyers will work with a team of medical experts who will carefully evaluate the details of your case in order to identify signs of a nursing error. This step is crucial to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
Medication errors are a common cause of medical malpractice. They can occur during the prescribing, dispensing or administering of the medication.
Common examples of medication errors include:
- Prescribing, dispensing or administering the wrong drug
- Prescribing the wrong medication to treat a given condition
- Administering medication to the wrong patient
- Failing to evaluate a patient's medical history in order to determine that a particular drug is safe for use
- Prescribing, dispensing or administering an incorrect dosage, leading to an overdose or a failure of the drug to provide intended benefits
- Using several medications together in unsafe combinations
- Prescribing or administering experimental drugs without informed consent
- Delivering a drug in an inappropriate method, such as crushing up a time-release pill or administering IV medication outside of the vein
- Continuing to administer a drug that isn't achieving its intended results
- Missing a scheduled dosage or administering an extra dose of a medication
If you have suffered an injury due to a medication error, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. The attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. have extensive experience handling cases involving medication errors, and we will fight aggressively to hold all negligent parties accountable for your damages.
North Carolina Laws Make Medical Malpractice Claims Challenging
North Carolina has strict laws impacting medical malpractice cases, and there are many hurdles you need to clear before you can even file your case. Therefore, it’s crucial that you work with an attorney who is highly experienced handling these complex cases.
By law, you must undergo a pre-lawsuit certification for all medical malpractice cases in North Carolina. This involves having a medical expert review all the evidence associated with your case and agree to testify that your injury was in fact caused by medical negligence. If the pre-lawsuit certification isn’t done properly, your case can be thrown out and you won’t recover the compensation you deserve.
In addition, North Carolina imposes a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The only way to get around this cap is to:
- Prove gross negligence; and,
- Demonstrate that this gross negligence resulted in wrongful death
Kimberly Wilson White has 20 years of experience handling a wide range of medical malpractice cases, and she knows the complex state laws that govern your claim. She’ll fight aggressively to hold the negligent healthcare professionals accountable so that you recover the compensation you deserve.
Please contact Wilson Law, P.A. using the form on this page or call 919-890-0180 today to schedule your free medical malpractice consultation. Ms. White serves clients in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and throughout North Carolina.