Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Doctors aren’t perfect. They’re human, and they have a difficult job to do. Most personal injury clients are initially surprised to learn that the law expects medical professionals, and professionals in general, to make some mistakes — just not mistakes other similarly trained medical professionals would not make. Medical negligence claims are far more complex than claims arising from simple negligence, such as a car accident or slip and fall.
A medical professional must act with that “degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by members of their profession.” Hurlock v. Park Lane Medical Center, Inc., 709 SW2d 872, 883 (Mo. App. 1985). Lawyers refer to negligence on the part of a medical professional as a “deviation from the standard of care.”
Missouri courts have consistently held that to establish a prima facie case of medical malpractice,* a Plaintiff must establish three elements:
1. that the Defendant, by act or omission, failed to meet the requisite medical standard of care;
2. that the act or omission was performed negligently; and
3. the existence of a causal connection between the act or omission and the plaintiff’s injury.
*Baker v. Gordon, 759 S.W.2d 87, 91 (Mo. App.W.D., 1988); citing Jines v. Young, 732 SW2d 938, 944 (Mo. App. 1987); Swope v. Printz, 468 SW2d 34, (Mo. 1971).
Threshold Expert Opinion
The opinion of the injured patient or the Plaintiff’s counsel is irrelevant in a medical negligence claim. Instead, in Missouri, proof of a Defendant’s medical malpractice must be established by expert medical testimony on the deviation from the appropriate standard of care prior to filing suit. Hart v. Steele, 416 SW2d 927, 931 (Mo. 1967).
This is why medical negligence claims are often more expensive to bring. As part of the initial evaluation process, an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney must first collect the medical records and bills associated with the negligence and present them to a retained expert for review. This is a lengthy and expensive process because, often, more than one expert must be consulted.
In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death on account of the rendering of or failure to render health care services, counsel for the Plaintiff must file an affidavit with the court stating that they have obtained the written opinion of a legally qualified health care provider which states that the defendant health care provider failed to use the care a reasonably prudent and careful health provider would have used under similar circumstances and that such failure to use such reasonable care directly caused or directly contributed to cause the damages claimed in the petition. Meekins v. St. John’s Regional Health, 149 S.W.3d 525, 531 (Mo. App., 2004). The Attorney’s affidavit is called an “Affidavit of Merit.”
Examples of Medical Malpractice
When trust in a medical professional is shattered by negligence or incompetent conduct, the consequences can be significant, and in some cases, deadly. Unfortunately, no lawsuit can restore your health, but they can provide monetary relief to ease the financial burdens caused by negligent medical care. Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice claims include:
Delayed delivery of anesthesia, error in the anesthesia dosage, and failure to monitor anesthesia are common anesthesia errors.
Misdiagnosis / Failure to Correctly Diagnose
Cancer, stroke, and heart attacks are some of the conditions most commonly involved in these types of cases. A failure to diagnose occurs when a disease or condition is not correctly diagnosed at the time it should have been. A medical misdiagnosis is an incorrect diagnosis – either a missed diagnosis or a “false positive.”
Negligent Emergency Room Treatment
The standard of care in an emergency room is usually not as high as the standard of care in a less hectic environment, like a doctor’s office. ER doctors must evaluate patients much more quickly, and in some cases, their evaluations may not be as thorough, causing misdiagnosis, injury, or even death.
Direct hospital negligence can include the hospital’s negligence in hiring and supervising its employees, in maintaining and repairing equipment, and in any other area overseen by hospital management.
Nursing errors may include any mistake or act of negligence with patient care. They often occur when nurses are overburdened and understaffed.
When a physician’s negligence or misconduct causes the death of a patient, it may be medical malpractice.
Doctor and Pharmacy Medication Errors
A physician may prescribe a medication that proves unsafe for a patient. Similarly, a pharmacy could provide the wrong medication or dosage to a patient.
Surgeries that are performed on the wrong location of the body, surgeries that leave foreign objects inside patients, or operations that result in possible nerve injuries are some typical kinds of surgical errors.
A birth injury is a condition caused by medical negligence, which is much different from a birth defect, which is a genetic condition. Brachial plexus injuries, forceps injuries, and cerebral palsy are some of the most common birth injuries.
Not all types of medical malpractice fall neatly into these categories. When you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney to help determine the best way to handle your claim.
Can I Sue a Kansas City Doctor for Medical Negligence?
Lawsuits filed against a doctor or other health care provider fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. If you believe you sustained an injury due to a doctor’s mistake or carelessness, you may be able to take legal action.
Plaza Injury Law is one of Kansas City’s most highly rated medical malpractice law firm. Attorney Dodrill has your legal interests at heart when it comes to serious medical mistakes and doctor negligence. He can investigate the alleged medical malpractice in your case and may be able to support your case with legal representation through settlement or trial.
Do I Need a Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Given the complexity of medical malpractice claims, it’s important to contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you were injured. Medical records and bills must be gathered and reviewed to confirm the facts of the claim before a lawsuit and expert report can be filed. Besides, you don’t want the statute of limitations to expire and miss your opportunity to file a lawsuit. If you intend to pursue a claim, you should contact our office right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
Contact Donovan Dodrill if you believe you have a potential claim against a medical professional in Kansas City. He will personally review the details of your case at no expense – Plaza Injury Law handles all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no out-of-pocket cost to you.