Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyers Helping Victims Recover Compensation for Their Injuries
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF THE MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE PROBLEM?
Let’s face it, our medical system in America is a mess. According to a study by Johns Hopkins, preventable medical errors, which our legal system refers to as “medical malpractice,” accounts for more than 250,000 deaths annually in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The medical industry complains about so-called “frivolous” lawsuits, but the reality is that the vast majority of patients injured or killed by a preventable medical error never pursue a claim (and, in fact, most patients are unaware that the error occurred, because this fact was not communicated by their medical providers).
Of course, most doctors are professional and caring, Many have placed their own lives (and the lives of their families) on the line to care for patients infected with COVID. These doctors are real life heroes.
But some are not heroes, they are villains. And others might be heroes, but are trapped in a cynical, for-profit medical system that all too often treats patients as objects in conveyor-belt medicine. Many times, medical providers rush through a visit and don’t take the time to listen to patients and understand their specific problems or needs. Doctors don’t communicate with the nurses, and nurses don’t communicate with the doctors. The entries in the patient’s medical records are often inaccurate, causing future providers to base decisions on faulty information. Doctors may not order the right tests or follow up properly on information revealed by tests they do order. Providers may not monitor a patient carefully for risks and complications that they should be looking for following a surgery, pregnancy or other patient condition.
Because most preventable medical errors go unreported, some “repeat player” doctors commit malpractice over and over again, and yet are allowed by the system to continue practicing medicine and hurting more patients. Likewise, hospitals continue to hire doctors that lack the qualifications for the services they are providing patients and fail to implement internal policies and quality controls to enhance patient safety.
And the result of all of this is that despite the many skilled and caring doctors, nurses and other medical providers, and the true heroes among them, we are left with a system in which more than 250,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors.
Something needs to change.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO PROVE IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT?
Medical malpractice cases are almost always challenging because medicine is not perfect. No matter how good the doctor or hospital, some patients have conditions that will lead to harm or death. People die in hospitals and nursing homes every day despite the best of care.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
So if the standard of medical care is not “perfection,” then what is it? In order to win a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that a doctor’s medical care failed to meet the standard of a reasonable doctor treating a patient in the same or similar circumstances. If the doctor did not act reasonably, the law calls that “negligence” or “malpractice.” Another term for this is that the doctor “deviated from the standard of care.” All of these terms mean the same thing—they mean that a reasonable doctor would have done something different than the doctor did in your situation.
The Need to Prove Medical Causation
If you can prove that the doctor acted unreasonably, the next question is whether you can show that this unreasonable care caused your harm or injury. For example, it might have been unreasonable for the doctor to refuse to order a certain test, but if the correct diagnosis was timely made anyway (without the test), then the failure to order the test did not cause any harm.
The Need to Prove Damages
Finally, to succeed with a medical case, you must be able to prove the extent of the damages you suffered because of the doctor’s unreasonable care. These damages may include additional medical expenses, time out of work, and intangible losses, such as pain, suffering and emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life and permanent impairment.
IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE A CIVIL OR CRIMINAL CASE?
Although there could be situations in which a provider’s conduct is criminal (for example, an intentional assault against a patient), medical malpractice lawsuits are normally treated as civil cases, not criminal cases.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
Over the years, we’ve seen it all—twice. Medical malpractice cases come in many different forms, and no two cases are exactly alike. That said, there are some types of cases we tend to see and litigate repeatedly. Here is a list of some of the most common medical malpractice case types:
- Cerebral Palsy (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy)
- Neonatal Death
- Maternal Death
Spinal Cord Injury/Paralysis
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Epidural Abscess
- Epidural Hematoma
- Surgical spinal cord injury
Delayed Treatment of Infection/Sepsis
- Septic Joint
- Viral or Fungal Infection
Delayed/Missed Diagnosis of Cancer
Blood Clot, Thrombosis, Embolism
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Arterial Clots
- Limb ischemia
- Aortic Aneurysm
- Bowel Obstruction
- Mesenteric ischemia
- Biliary surgery
- Gall Bladder Surgery
- Joint replacement surgery
- Surgical complications
Retained Foreign Object
- Surgical Sponge
- Surgical Device
IV-infiltration and extravasation
- Missed or unreported imaging finding
Primary Care/Pediatrics/Walk-In Clinic
- Failure to test
- Failure to refer
- Lack of follow up on emergency or specialist care
- Missed heart attack or acute coronary syndrome
- Heart-valve infection (endocarditis)
- Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) toxicity
- Laser surgery
- Detached retina
Nursing Home/Elder Care
- Pressure ulcers, wound infection
- Unsupervised falls
Negligent Communication and Documentation
- Failure to communicate test result
- Failure to communicate with doctor, specialist or patient
- Inaccurate or incomplete medical-record documentation
- Wrong prescription or dosage
- Dangerous drug interactions
HOW MUCH DO YOU GET FOR A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT?
We have a proven track record of obtaining high value verdicts and settlements in our medical malpractice cases. One reason for this is that we are very careful to only take on cases that we strongly believe have merit and where we can prove that there were unreasonable medical practices. If we agree to accept your case it will be because we believe we can obtain a high verdict or settlement for you.
Of course, the specific value will depend upon the unique facts of your case. Once we speak with you about the case, review your medical records and speak with our testifying experts, we will typically be able to provide better guidance to you on what type of outcome to expect.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
If you believe you or your loved one may have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is in your best interest to contact a Maine medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At Gideon Asen, we devote a substantial amount of time and resources to assisting our potential clients in evaluating whether there is a viable medical malpractice case that makes sense for you (and us) to pursue together. There is no charge for this process, as we only get paid if we accept the case and are successful for you. But you will get the value of our expertise and often many hours of our time through our free, comprehensive medical malpractice case evaluation process.
How our Free, Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Case Evaluation Process Works:
First Step. Initial Telephone Case Overview. Our process begins with the very first telephone call, which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. During that call, you will have the opportunity to speak directly to Ben or Taylor and explain what you know about the medical care and issues involved in the case. Ben or Taylor will ask lots of questions. We will ask for information about the doctors and hospitals, dates of medical treatment and an overview of what happened.
Second Step. Obtaining the Complete Medical Record. If we believe there is a possible case, we will make arrangements to gather all of the medical records and diagnostic imaging needed to review the case.
Third Step. Record Review. We will review your medical records carefully to determine if the medical care was negligent and caused substantial harm.
Fourth Step. Case Evaluation Meeting. We will meet with you to review our detailed evaluation and recommendations for the case.
Important: We do not accept every case. We will only accept a medical malpractice case if we believe the evidence supports the case. But even if we don’t accept the case, we will provide you with a clear explanation for our reasoning and answers to your questions about the medical care involved.
Fifth Step. Expert Review. If we recommend moving forward with the case, we will locate and retain highly qualified medical specialists to testify in support of your case.
At Gideon Asen LLC, we focus on protecting the rights of medical malpractice victims in Maine as well as in Vermont and New Hampshire. We treat every client with professionalism and compassion, fighting fiercely to secure a positive outcome in their cases. Contact us at (207) 206-8982 or email Tim Grose at email@example.com to see how we can help you.