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Defensive medicine: who does it help, if anybody?

A diagnosis and treatment technique well-known to doctors is to put a patient through multiple forms of tests for various injuries, illnesses and conditions even when the physician is already fairly sure about what ails the patient. This practice is colloquially referred to as "defensive medicine."

The idea that underlies defensive medicine is that doctors want to reduce their potential exposure to medical malpractice lawsuits by using a "shotgun" approach to diagnosis. The hope is that if the doctor was either mistaken in his or her estimation of the true nature of the patient’s problem, or may have not taken into account some additional problem, the extra tests will serve as a form of back-up for the doctor’s judgment, catching anything he or she may have missed.

Understanding vacuum extraction birth injuries

Vacuum extraction is a form of intervention used by physicians during childbirth in situations where the labor and delivery has stalled. It is used to help pull and guide the baby out of the birth canal. This is done with the use of a vacuum extractor device which consists of either a soft or hard cup attached to a vacuum pump. The cup is attached to the baby's head and used to pull at the same time the mother pushes during contractions.

Not every injury of this type is the result of medical malpractice on the part of the delivering physician. However, in cases where the injury could have been prevented but was not, the physician may be liable to financially compensate the family for the child’s injuries. 

Shoulder dystocia is a rare but serious birth complication

The vast majority of births in South Carolina go smoothly, with no adverse impact on mother or child. But when complications occur that leave one or both with severe injuries, a blessed event can quickly turn into a nightmare.

Shoulder dystocia is a relatively rare, but potentially serious complication that can result in harm to both mother and baby. The term dystocia means "slow or difficult labor or delivery." It occurs after the baby's head has been delivered through the birth canal, but the shoulders become lodged behind the pubic bone, halting further progress.

Birth injuries remain a serious problem today

Bringing a new infant into the world is a beautiful event, and the parents are often filled with both anxiety and excitement on the day labor ensues. However, in spite of new technologies, giving birth continues to be a naturally challenging act and there remain risks involved.

Parents still need to rely on medical staff for the delivery process if they want to have the baby at the hospital. Many people feel that this is the safest method because a medical team, machines, and medications are readily available should something go wrong.

Is an apology enough to settle a medical malpractice claim?

When someone makes a mistake that harms you, sometimes an apology is all that is needed. But when it comes to medical malpractice, chances are that while the gesture may be appreciated, it is far from the end of the reparations needed.

Some states, including South Carolina, have passed laws that allow a medical professional to make an apologetic or benevolent gesture without that being an admission of guilt or liability in an alleged case of medical malpractice. The South Carolina law goes further, actually encouraging such actions when medical care results in an unanticipated outcome.

Patient record mismanagement is medical malpractice

When the term medical malpractice is read or heard, the immediate image that may come to mind is of a doctor or nurse harming a patient. We almost always think of medical malpractice in terms of a patient's health made worse because a doctor was careless and made a mistake that could have been avoided. However, medical malpractice is not necessarily as narrow as dealing strictly with your health, and the violations that can be considered to be medical malpractice are broader than many people think.

Medical malpractice can occur, for example, when a medical professional fails to protect private patient information or makes a mistake in record keeping concerning a patient's records. Medical professionals go through extensive training and education which is not exclusive to learning about diagnosis and treatment, but covers all aspects of health care including administration.

Legal system's checks and balances for medical malpractice

As Sir John Dalberg-Acton famously states in Macbeth, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Our country has a system of checks and balances in our government. Any person, group, or entity with absolute power and no accountability is bound to succumb to corruption and our founders understood this. In reality, our government is not the only system that requires checks and balances

The medical field is clearly a very important part of our society and well-being in this country. Doctors, nurses, and medical staff alike work hard each and every day to serve individuals in need. They have a great responsibility to ensure that people are treated with the best medical care possible at all times. But medical professionals are people, and people are not perfect and they make mistakes. It's critical that the medical community be held accountable when patients are injured as a result of medical malpractice.

Lower risk for malpractice suits does not save money

It is comforting to know that many doctors have become increasingly cautious to avoid medical malpractice when treating patients. A fatal medical error is traumatic and often avoidable. In cases of misdiagnosis or a surgical error, loved ones can still often assign blame to the medical professional or hospital that seems responsible for a patient's death or worsened medical condition.

Any personal injury resulting from a medical condition may be suspicious, for negligence is certainly an ongoing issue among doctors and hospitals. Any mistakes on their part can lead to major medical expenses. In that event, you could be eligible for compensation and reach a settlement that helps to cover your pain and suffering.

How preeclampsia can lead to birth injuries

Birth injuries can take a number of forms, two of the better known ones being cerebral palsy and Erbs palsy. There is another type of condition that can lead to birth injury that may be less familiar to parents-to-be, but which can still lead to serious consequences if not properly diagnosed, preeclampsia.

Preeclampsiais a complication of pregnancy related to high blood pressure, although its exact cause is not clearly understood. When it is present it usually manifests itself about five months into the pregnancy, even in women who have not shown signs of high blood pressure before.

How can I bring a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina?

Knowing that you may have a claim for medical malpractice is one thing. But what is next? Can you just retain an attorney and file a lawsuit right away? According to South Carolina law, the answer to that question is "Not so fast."

Before you can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice, South Carolina law requires you to participate in a form of mandatory alternative dispute resolution. So before you can file a lawsuit, you will need to file a notice of intent to file one. At that point you will have a limited period, generally 90 days, but it can be extended for a limited time, to participate in a mandatory mediation conference.

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