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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Modern medical practices cannot eliminate birth injury risks

The risk to our health from injury is never more serious than when we are at our most fragile. We see warnings at amusement parks advising pregnant women to avoid certain roller-coasters, and obstetricians will advise expecting mothers to avoid specific activities or adjust their behavior for the betterment of their own health as well as the infant child they are carrying.

As much as childbirth can seem to be a commonplace matter given advancements in modern health care, doctors, nurses and hospitals still need to recognize the delicate state that both the birthing mother and the newborn child are in. If these medical professionals do not exercise the minimum standard of care required by South Carolina law, they risk the health of both the mother and the child, while being simultaneously exposed to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Hospital’s failure to diagose Ebola may have far-reaching effect

Medical malpractice and hospital negligence cases can be tragic even when one only victim and his or her loved ones are affected by the error. Rarely does a case of possible medical malpractice that happens in South Carolina or another state have the potential to affect the entire country or even beyond the U.S. borders. But this potential unfortunately now does exist due to an error made in a U.S. hospital.

Multiple workers dispensing aid to the ill in West Africa returned to the U.S. for treatment for the Ebola virus. Those workers were kept carefully quarantined to avoid any potential spread of the disease to other U.S. citizens. But a man who came to U.S. from Liberia seeking treatment at an emergency room about a week after his arrival was released due to a failure to diagnose him with the virus. The man has now been admitted for treatment to the same hospital, but only after being in contact with others for 10 days after entering the country.


VA reverses stance on delayed assistance in veteran deaths

After months of vehement denials, Veterans’ Administration officials are now admitting that long waits at VA facilities did contribute to deaths of veterans. While the Acting Inspector General would not say that the delayed assistance caused the deaths, he did admit that it contributed to the fatal consequences.

The Chairman of the House Committee investigating the VA scandal says the number of veterans affected could be close to 300, although the Acting Inspector General’s investigation has confirmed only 40 fatalities. One South Carolina veteran’s hospital is among those under investigation.

Our infant mortality rate is a national embarrassment

"The United States has a higher infant mortality rate than any of the other 27 wealthy countries, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control. A baby born in the U.S. is nearly three times as likely to die during her first year of life as one born in Finland or Japan. That same American baby is about twice as likely to die in her first year as a Spanish or Korean one.

Despite healthcare spending levels that are significantly higher than any other country in the world, a baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see his first birthday than one born in Hungary, Poland or Slovakia. Or in Belarus. Or in Cuba, for that matter.

Multiple medical malpractice accusations often have no effect

In the context of criminal law, one often hears frustrated complaints about recidivism and the "revolving door” of the justice system.

In a different context – that of medical malpractice – a similar phenomenon may be taking place: a comparatively small number of physicians and other health care personnel may be the subject of multiple malpractice accusations, but nonetheless remain in medical practice.

Victims of surgical errors have good cases

As we were reminded in the recent case of Joan Rivers, even seemingly routine surgery always comes with an inevitable element of risk. When there is a surgeon mistake or negligent operating room staff, a patient’s life is put in danger, and the harm may prove fatal.

If medical malpractice or hospital negligence is at fault, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party, which can help with the expenses of recovery even if your insurance company may not cover all of your costs.

Small VA hospitals raise concern over hospital staff negligence

For the last several months, the health care scandal surrounding Veterans’ Administration hospitals has captured news headlines. Everything from delayed care to misreported statistics, to deaths has been reported as shortcomings of an overburdened system. But another aspect of the crisis has apparently been underreported.

While much of the focus has been on larger facilities, those are actually the exception in the military health care system. The typical hospital is a small facility, some of which serve a few as 10 patients a day. One of these smaller hospitals is located in South Carolina. That emergency care at that facility has already been eliminated, although inpatient care is still offered.

When mandatory medical malpractice mediation fails, what next?

Recently we wrote about the mandatory mediation requirement that South Carolina law places on a person who seeks redress for a claimed act of medical malpractice. The interest of the state in requiring mediation before a lawsuit may be filed is an expression of the concept of judicial economy, which seeks to minimize litigation in the courts when an alternative way to resolve the dispute may work.

But mediation does not always work. Sometimes, the positions of the two sides in a medical malpractice or hospital negligence claim are too far apart for a mediator to reach a middle ground for settlement. If mediation fails, the question becomes what to do after that?

Medication error is one type of medical malpractice

Most often when people hear or read about medical malpractice incidents, they have happened in the setting of a doctor’s office or a hospital. This is understandable, as the kinds of medical mistakes that can take place at these locations, such as a misdiagnosis or a surgical error, tend to make the news more often than other forms of medical malpractice.

It is understandable, therefore, that if you have been to a hospital for a medical procedure and have made it home without experiencing any unexpected problems you may believe that you are out of the danger zone. Such a belief may, however, be premature. And the consequences for not being aware of the potential to be harmed by medical negligence outside of a healthcare facility can be very serious.

How can hospital negligence contribute to medical malpractice?

In South Carolina as well as elsewhere in the United States, if a hospital patient is injured as a result of a negligent action or failure to act on the part of a doctor then a claim for medical malpractice may ensue.

In the legal sense, one potential factor of medical malpractice can include the concept of hospital negligence. The two legal theories are distinct from each other, but they are frequently found together in a plaintiff's medical malpractice complaint. 

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