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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Misdiagnosis is a major medical error

Millions of American, including some who are living in the state of South Carolina, have been subjected to consequences when their doctor made an error in diagnosis. Medical mistakes of this magnitude can have dire consequences that range from prolonged suffering to a worsened medical condition. Some patients have even died as a result of this kind of doctor negligence.

Certain conditions that are misdiagnosed are especially dangerous. These include infections, cancers and diseases. Failure to treat infection often results in catastrophic consequences and might even have the potential to impact entire populations. The failure to detect cancer in patients who are seeking treatment for a mystery ailment can result in the loss of valuable time to reverse the illness. 

Why do I need an expert witness in a medical malpractice suit?

South Carolina law governing medical malpractice lawsuits requires that the prospective plaintiff comply with certain prerequisites before the matter can go to litigation. One of these is to submit the dispute to a mediation conference. Another is to have the affidavit of an expert witness to go with the notice of intent to file a lawsuit. This expert witness requirement does not exist in lawsuits for ordinary negligence; the question this post covers is why it exists for medical malpractice.

The answer to this question lies within the medical malpractice statute, specifically in its definition of what constitutes medical malpractice: doing something that a reasonably prudent health care provider would not have done in similar circumstances. Put another way, in a typical case of negligence the standard of behavior against which the defendant's conduct is considered is that of a "reasonable person." Ordinarily, the jury can be trusted to understand what a reasonable person would do, but in the case of highly specialized professions such as medicine, the jury's degree of knowledge cannot be said to be sufficient to know what a reasonable medical professional would or would not do in a specific situation.

What should I do if I suspect medical malpractice?

A plaintiff's personal injury attorney who practices in the area of South Carolina medical malpractice law can tell you what the process is to initiate a legal claim against a doctor or other medical professional who has committed medical malpractice. But the legal process itself comes toward the tail end of the overall considerations that underlie a medical malpractice claim.

Long before filing a lawsuit, the injured person and his or her attorney will need to undertake a thorough investigation of how the act of malpractice occurred, as well as whether any additional individuals other than the doctor in question (and including the facility where the doctor works under a theory of hospital negligence) might also be named as defendants.

Forgotten surgical tools cost patients their health

Hundreds of medical patients in the United States, many in South Carolina, have had surgical instruments and equipment left inside of them during the surgery. These forgotten items are sewn up to stay inside of the person until they are finally discovered. Leaving surgical equipment inside of a person is a mistake that is all too common and costs patients more than an inconvenience.

Though there are proper protocols in place to help to prevent serious surgical errors such as these, they are often loosely followed, resulting in catastrophic circumstances. Some of the most common tools that are left inside people include needles, sponges, retractors and other small objects that are easily missed and forgotten during the operation. These hidden objects remain unnoticed when the proper procedures are not taken to ensure that they are retrieved. This is a form of medical malpractice.

Surgical errors may occur without anesthesiologist in attendance

What would you think if you found out that your doctor left the operating room while you were in surgery? You’d probably be alarmed. Realistically, in many situations, there is more than one doctor in the operating room. In most procedures, one of these doctors is an anesthesiologist.

Most people think of the anesthesiologist as the one who makes medical procedures possible without you feeling discomfort and pain. So his or her participation is critical to the success of the procedure. But since the anesthesia is administered before the surgery begins, does the anesthesiologist have to stay in the operating room?

Nursing homes can be liable for medical malpractice

Hospitals are held to a certain standard of care. When they fail to meet that standard and a patient is injured as a result, the hospital can be held liable for medical malpractice. The same is true for nursing homes. Residents of nursing homes have the right to receive proper medical care and attention. If a resident was injured because a nursing home owner or employee was negligent, the resident can sue the nursing home for malpractice.

Under South Carolina law, a nursing home can be liable for medical malpractice. Most medical malpractice claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. In other words, the key question in these claims is whether a health care provider was negligent when treating a patient. A nursing home is negligent if it fails to properly care for its residents. 

South Carolina Senate considers sanctions for nursing errors

Imagine a situation in which you lost a loved one because a nurse gave him or her an injection of a drug, which was 10 times the amount, prescribed by the physician. Now also imagine that – unknown to you – the nurse who administered the fatal dosage had already been disciplined for making medication errors.

You might think that the South Carolina Board of Nursing would take strong and decisive action to keep such a nurse from making a similar error again. And you might be wrong. What if you discovered that the only discipline that the nurse faced after causing the death of your loved one was a $2000 civil fine, one year of probation and an order to take three classes?

Malpractice vs. Negligence

Victims of medical malpractice experience fear, betrayal and pain unlike other forms of injury. When you visit a healthcare professional, you place a lot of trust that these men and women can safeguard your health and provide a high standard of care. Through malpractice, this trust is destroyed and the consequences both physical and emotional can be nightmarish. Here is some information about the difference between malpractice and ordinary negligence.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, you should not try to go it alone. A medical injury attorney may be able help you get the compensation you deserve and draw the line between negligence and malpractice. 

Psychological effects of medical error

Nearly 100,000 deaths occur every year due to mistakes in hospitals or by healthcare workers. The problem is widespread, and the emotional toll it can take on victims exceptionally serious. The psychological effects of medical error affect more than just the patient, are all too often invisible and can tear families apart.

Those who are subject to damage from the mistakes of hospital staff might be afraid to report the errors. This fear is of retribution by those making the mistakes, and the possibility of making the situation worse or getting harmed more. This fear can be crippling and lead to depression, paranoia, anxiety and a slew of other emotional problems.

What is the doctor-patient confidentiality?

Doctor-patient confidentiality is very important. All patients should feel confident that their doctors will not share their private information with others. The right to confidentiality allows patients to be candid with doctors, and in exchange, the doctor can more accurately diagnose and treat the patients. When a doctor or health care provider breaches that confidentiality, a patient may have a medical malpractice claim.

Under the concept of doctor-patient confidentiality, a health care provider must use a patient’s personal information only for the patient’s benefit. The provider cannot divulge information about the patient to a third person unless the patient consents, though there are exceptions. A doctor can reveal the patient’s information for health insurance purposes, if there is a pending lawsuit, or if the patient threatened immediate harm to others.

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