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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice?

A nursing home injury or a personal injury caused by hospital negligence or doctor error might provide the victim with a right to obtain compensation from the party whose negligence caused it to happen. Medical professional negligence or, as it is more commonly referred to, medical malpractice is like any other personal injury claim in that a victim has only a limited amount of time within which to file a claim.

Horry County, South Carolina, residents who have experienced a worsened medical condition due to misdiagnosis of a medical condition or a surgical error, such as wrong-site surgery, must file a lawsuit against the responsible person or entity within the time specified under the South Carolina Code of Laws. This time period within which a lawsuit must be filed is referred to as the "statute of limitations."

FDA issues safety alert related to hospital disease outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert concerning the use and cleaning of endoscopes in hospitals. The alert follows the deaths of two people who contracted a deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, "Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae bacteria.

The first known case of this "superbug" infection in the United States occurred in 1996, and has spread to most states, including South Carolina, since 2006. It is most commonly being found in hospitals. One way that the infection can enter the body is via contaminated medical devices, such as the duodenoscopes subject to the FDA's safety alert.

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?

Unfortunately, medical procedures do not always go as planned. However, the mere fact that you experienced unsuccessful results or were misdiagnosed does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice occurred.

So what do you do if you suspect that a medical mistake caused your injury or the death of a loved one? How do you know if a health care provider committed medical malpractice in South Carolina?

Hospitals can be negligent in the same way as human beings

One aspect of South Carolina business law that can be overlooked is the concept of legal "personhood" for an organization – in several key ways, a business such as a corporation can have the same rights and duties under the law as a human being. But if you suffer an injury while in the care of a health care institution the legal entity status of that institution can have a direct impact on your ability to be compensated for your injury.

Ordinarily, the reason why a business such as a hospital chooses to incorporate or otherwise become a legal entity is to protect the people behind it from liability. But once the business becomes a "person" in the eyes of the law, then just like a real person, it can be subject to a cause of action for negligence. Moreover, this artificial person can also be held accountable for negligent acts or failure to act on the part of individuals under its control, such as administrators, doctors and medical staff, and indirectly, even contractors that it engages.

Does a bad medical result mean medical malpractice?

A visit to the doctor is supposed to be the start of the healing process to make you feel better from whatever illness or injury brought you there in the first place. Sometimes, however, the result can be a worsened condition that can have a long-term impact on your health and well-being.

When a doctor makes a mistake by misdiagnosing an illness and thereby causes it to get worse, or when treatment of an injury results in a permanent disability, the natural response might be to blame doctor errors. A resident of Horry County who finds himself or herself in such a situation bears the burden, under South Carolina law, of proving that the medical malpractice was, in fact, the cause of the worsened condition.

Informed consent as a basis for medical malpractice claims

Surgery is perhaps the most deeply personal involvement that anyone can have with the health care system. It entails allowing someone, with whom you just became acquainted due to injury or illness, to operate on you. It represents a major act of confidence and trust. At times, it may also involve a leap of faith.

It follows, therefore, that before you allow a surgeon to proceed with an operation you should not only be fully informed of the nature of the procedure, including its possible risks, but you should also properly consent to having it done. This advance information and permission is well-known in the medical profession in South Carolina and elsewhere as "informed consent."

Medical malpractice case alleges premature release caused murder

The formula for most medical malpractice lawsuits is fairly straightforward: a patient enters a hospital, a doctor is negligent in treatment of patient while there, the patient's condition gets worse or was misdiagnosed or, in the worst case scenario, the patient dies.

One medical malpractice lawsuit has turned these factors upside down.The case involves a murder that took place away from the hospital, but the lawsuit alleges that the hospital is still responsible for medical malpractice.

Is informed consent a defense to medical malpractice?

"Informed consent" refers to the process that physicians use, or are at least supposed to use, to see to it that patients are properly informed about a medical treatment or procedure that a physician intends to use on them.

More specifically, informed consent refers to the act of the physician engaging in a dialog with the patient as well as to the form that a patient signs indicating that he or she has been fully informed before the procedure is undertaken.

How simple negligence can translate into medication errors

The Institute for Safe Medical Practices maintains a program for medication errors reporting. The purpose of the Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP) is to serve as a clearing house for information about actual medication errors and other potentially dangerous incidents that have taken place in health care settings. Anyone who follows the program can learn from the mistakes of others.

The intent, and presumably the effect, of the MERP is beneficial, yet at the same time it provides a glimpse into some of the ways that inattentiveness or the development of a "shortcut" mindset among medical professionals can lead to disastrous results for patients.

Wrong medications can lead to serious injury

Medication errors are often serious because a dosage mistake or the wrong drug can cause injuries or even fatal results. A negligent physician who does not check for allergies, or a pharmacist who fails to read the doctor's handwriting properly on the prescription note could be found liable for injuries sustained by a patient.

Medical professionals who fail to perform their jobs correctly may administer an incorrect drug that could result in significant damage for someone whose care they have inadvertently neglected. If you or a loved one has experienced this outcome first-hand, it is worthwhile to investigate your legal rights.

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