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.
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."
In the context of criminal law, one often hears frustrated complaints about recidivism and the "revolving door” of the justice system.
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.
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.
When we read news stories about medical mistakes, surgical errors or negligent behavior on the part of a healthcare provider, it is often in the context of a very specific incident. One person may have been the victim of a surgical error or a doctor may have routinely neglected to conduct adequate examinations.
Medical malpractice claims are based in the concept of negligence, and under many circumstances lawsuits that allege negligence are not based on statutory law passed by the legislature.
Medical malpractice is a term that is frequently heard in news stories and conversations. You may be wondering, "What exactly is medical malpractice?" and perhaps more importantly, "If I believe that I have been a victim of medical malpractice, what should I do about it?"
Most residents of South Carolina have probably seen a medical professional at some point in their lives, and every one of those people knows that when receiving medical care, there is a certain amount of trust that has to be placed in the judgment or decisions of a chosen medical professional. After all, medicine and health can be complex topics and there is a reason that we are willing to pay the often high cost that medical professionals charge.
Recent news reports indicate that the Veterans Administration waged a campaign of retaliation against employees who sought to expose allegations of medical malpractice in VA hospitals. Some of the “whistleblowers” who fought back anonymously against the intimidation include VA doctors in South Carolina.