VIRGINIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS
ACHIEVING JUSTICE FOR HARMFUL NEGLIGENCE
Discovering a case of medical malpractice only adds to the stress of managing an injury or illness. As a victim or an affected family member, you are left pondering a long list of questions: Did the doctor’s negligence worsen my condition or cause the development of new symptoms? Could my loved one have healed if they were in the care of a competent doctor? How am I going to recover from this?
Our medical malpractice attorneys in Newport News are available to provide answers and support during this troubling time.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare professional or worker through an act of negligence causes an injury to a patient.
Schedule a free consultation with Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC by submitting your information, or call (757) 599-6050 to speak with us 24/7.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Doctors are expected to follow a legal principle known as the “standard of care.” The term “standard of care” refers to the legal duty of medical professionals to provide their patients with the appropriate treatment for their illness or injury. Essentially, it encompasses practices that any doctor would employ in the given situation. Doctors who veer from the standard of care could be found guilty of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can include any case of negligence on the behalf of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. Some of the most frequent instances of medical malpractice include:
- Diagnosing a condition incorrectly (misdiagnosis):
Positively identifying a patient’s symptoms is a crucial first step in medical care. When symptoms are confused with other issues, a dangerous misdiagnosis can occur. Applying treatments based on the wrong information can bring no health benefits or actually make the real issue worse.
- Diagnosing a condition too late:
Another form of misdiagnosis is the late diagnosis. The effectiveness of a diagnosis is largely dependent on when it is completed. When a diagnosis is unnecessarily delayed, it allows a patient’s symptoms to go unchecked and likely worsen.
- Not issuing necessary tests:
Late and incorrect diagnoses are more likely to occur when a doctor fails to order proper diagnostic tests. Imagining scans, blood tests, and more can all narrow in on a patient’s condition – but only when they are ordered and conducted in a reasonable amount of time.
- Medication errors:
The right medications given to the wrong patient can be dangerous. Or the correct medication but in the wrong dosage can also cause more harm than good. Medication errors can happen when medications are first prescribed or due to a pharmacist’s mistakes when filling out the order.
- Surgical errors:
Surgery – even outpatient surgery – is an intricate process that must be handled with the utmost care. The smallest mistake can permanently injure the patient, such as when a nerve or blood vessel is accidentally cut. One of the more common surgical errors is when a surgeon leaves a medical instrument inside the patient, like forgetting to remove gauze from inside an incision before stitching the patient up.
- Inadequate aftercare:
Medical treatments in a hospital are rarely the last step in a patient’s care. Instead, aftercare must be completed to ensure healing continues when the patient returns home. Being told inadequate aftercare instructions by a doctor and suffering a worsened injury or illness because of it can constitute medical malpractice.
- Ignoring a patient’s medical history or medications:
The medical treatments a patient has had in the past and the medications they are currently taking can dramatically influence what sort of treatments and drugs they can take now. A doctor can be accused of medical malpractice if they do not check a patient’s medical history or medications before prescribing treatments or making a diagnosis.
What to Do if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case
If you or someone you love received medical treatment and believe the care providers were negligent, resulting in further illness, injury, or death, contact us today. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Newport News are here to help you understand your rights.
Use our contact form or call (757) 599-6050 to schedule a free consultation with our team.
Medical Malpractice FAQ
- Who can be liable for medical malpractice?
Any medical professional who harms a patient due to their negligence can be liable for medical malpractice if the circumstances of the incident line up. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and pharmacists are often named as defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits. Entire medical practices and hospital groups can also be defendants, though, if it is found that the clinic’s or organization’s practices or protocols are what contributed to the patient’s injury.
- What is a doctor-patient relationship?
A key factor to a medical malpractice claim is that the patient was hurt by a medical provider who had established a doctor-patient relationship with them. A doctor-patient relationship is formed when a patient allows the medical professional to see and treat them, and the medical professional accepts the patient under their care. For example, your primary care physician helps you under a doctor-patient relationship because you have plenty of time to select another doctor before treatment if you don’t like them. But when an EMT has to perform life-saving medical procedures in a hurry, especially on an unconscious patient, there is technically no time to establish a doctor-patient relationship. As such, it is sometimes more difficult to sue a medical provider for malpractice that occurs in a medical emergency.
- What are the damages I can get in a medical malpractice claim?
A medical malpractice claim can pursue damages related to the harm they have suffered due to a medical provider’s mistakes. Oftentimes, the most important damages are past and future medical care, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. For patients who have suffered significantly, pain and suffering damages can be the largest form of compensation they recover from their claim. In rare cases, a court might approve punitive damages if the defendant was egregiously negligent in their care for the patient.
- What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Virginia?
Most medical malpractice cases in Virginia have a two-year statute of limitations. It begins on the date of the malpractice. But if a medical error is not initially noticeable or obvious, then the statute might begin on the day that the injury becomes reasonably noticeable or the consequences of the error are officially diagnosed. When the statute expires, the injured patient will have little to no options to seek compensation.
- Is medical malpractice really that dangerous?
Medical malpractice is not an “inconvenience” or a “frustration.” It is dangerous. A John-Hopkins University study recently determined that the third leading cause of death in the country is medical malpractice, such as failing to diagnose a serious health condition or allowing a patient to suffer a severe infection while hospitalized.