South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical malpractice or medical negligence result in dozens od injuries or death in South Carolina every year. A medical malpractice law suit can arise from an act of negligence, such as a misdiagnosis, or a failure to act. The term medical malpractice includes any treatment, lack of treatment, or other departure from the accepted standards of medical care, health care or safety on the part of any health care provider that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient.
What is the Standard of Care for a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The acceptable standard of care to determine whether your doctor was negligent in a medical malpractice lawsuit is well established by law. Health care professionals and hospitals are responsible for compensating a patient injured as a result of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice is generally determined on a case by case basis, depending on the amount of proof the plaintiff can provide for his or her claim. Simply put, medical malpractice is not based on any absolutes, and before liability or fault can be placed on a physician, it must be shown that the physician was negligent and/or did not meet the acceptable standard of care in treating the patient. Merely experiencing an undesirable outcome does not indicate the health care professional is automatically guilty of malpractice.
To provide sufficient proof of medical malpractice in South Carolina, the injured party must establish:
- A physician-patient relationship was established; thus, a duty owed by the physician to the patient.
- A physician must have fallen below the acceptable standard of care in his or her treatment of the patient.
- A physician’s failure to meet the acceptable standards of care must be the direct and legal cause of the injuries to the injured party.
- The plaintiff suffered from damages.
A lawyer can show that the plaintiff’s physician did not meet the acceptable standard of care by presenting qualified expert testimony, stating what the minimum standard is required in the medical profession. The expert must have time to properly review the case to accurately determine what the doctor did and did not do to stray from the acceptable standard of care.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can arise under the following circumstances:
- Against a government agency that operates hospitals or provides specified medical care.
- Against a hospital for administering improper or overdoses of medication, negligent nursing care, inadequate sanitation, infection, or equipment failure.
- Against a physician, who in the general practice of medicine, deviates from the general accepted standards of practice in the community.
- Against a medical specialist who deviates from a nationally accepted standard of practice for specialists in that field of medicine.
How an Attorney Proves Medical Malpractice
A doctor in South Carolina is responsible for providing a standard of care equal to the doctor’s training and experience under a particular set of circumstances. The medical standard of care changes depending on a number of factors specific to your situation. Although medical malpractice is really a form of negligence, it generally must be proven through the use of expert witnesses since the issues involved almost always require specialized knowledge and skills which are beyond those of the average lay juror.
Establishing the Doctor Caused Your Injury
Even if you prove that your doctor was negligent, (that the doctor’s conduct fell below the standard of care required under those circumstances), you must still prove that his or her “departure from good and accepted medical care” caused the injury.
Securing Compensation For Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The last element that must be established is damages. Possible damages include past and future medical bills including specialized medical care for life, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When is a Medical Malpractice Claim Appropriate?
In a lawsuit against a physician, medical malpractice claims most commonly occur under the following circumstances:
- The physician delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, or failed to diagnosis the patient’s medical condition altogether;
- The physician properly made the correct diagnosis, and then failed to properly treat the medical condition properly;
- The physician failed to perform a surgical procedure properly; or
- The physician fails to obtain the informed consent of the patient before performing a procedure or operation.
Medical Malpractice Representation
In most cases, our lawyer’s first step is to obtain all of the medical records relating to the treatment in question. Medical malpractice may often be proven on the basis of what is contained, or omitted, from these medical records.
Usually, it is necessary that a medical expert, board certified in the relevant field of medicine, be hired to consult with the lawyer. This medical expert will review the medical documentation and give a qualified medical opinion about your case. After consultation with the medical expert, if you and your lawyer determine that it is appropriate, a suit will be filed against a physician, health care provider, and/or the hospital.
Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice in South Carolina
To prove a medical malpractice case, you must establish what a reasonable doctor should do to treat your medical condition and that your doctor demonstrated medical negligence by not following appropriate medical protocol for your condition.
The only way to prove what a reasonable doctor should do in the same situation is through the testimony of a highly qualified expert in that particular medical field. These experts usually come from well-regarded medical schools like Duke, Harvard, Emory, and Johns Hopkins and are expensive.
Surgical Errors-Medical Malpractice
Surgical errors are not something to take lightly. In fact each year nearly 100,000 people die as a result of surgical errors. The one we see most often is wrong site surgical error which is 100% preventable.
Common surgical errors in South Carolina include:
- “Wrong site” operations where a procedure was performed on a perfectly normal limb or organ leaving the problem area neglected.
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Performing an unnecessary procedure
- Miscalculations taking place during plastic/cosmetic surgery
- Postoperative infections that are preventable
- Surgical instruments being left in the body
- Incisions opening up after being stitched close during surgery
- Excessive and continuous bleeding following surgery.
- Blood Transfusion Errors
Wrong Site Surgery
With all the preparation that seems to go into a surgical procedure, one would not think that a doctor or surgeon would operate on the wrong site. Sadly, just that case happens occasionally. In 2007, 84 incidents of wrong surgery site or wrong patient occurred, with numerous other cases going unreported. These personal injuries go unreported because many states do not insist on hospitals reporting these kinds of mistakes.
Wrong site surgery can result from negligence on the behalf of the physician or surgeon.
Common types of negligence that contribute to these medical malpractice mistakes can include:
- Hurried or inadequately preoperational planning
- Failing to abide by operative guidelines
- Communication errors, or lack of communication, by the patient, doctor and his/her medical team
- Too many surgeons involved on a single operation causing a breakdown in communication
- More than one procedure occurring during the same surgery session
- Physicians or surgeons operating while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Blood Transfusion Errors in South Carolina
A blood transfusion reaction is a disorder where the body’s immune system rejects the foreign blood cells or other components of the blood.
The immunity response impulsively provides protection from foreign objects that could harm the body. Materials known as antigens start the production of antibodies which cling to certain antigens and to help immobilize them. Then, sensitized lymphocytes target and destroy those foreign antigens.
Signs and Symptoms of Blood Transfusion Reaction
There are many signs and symptoms of blood transfusion reactions. In rare cases, they may not show up for a few days in what is called a delayed reaction.
Common symptoms include:
- Cold spells
- Back discomfort
- Blood-contaminated urine
These effects may eventually worsen and become
- kidney failure,
- delayed anemia, or shock.
Anesthesia Errors in South Carolina
Anytime people undergo surgery, there are certain risks involved with anesthesia. Although anesthesia errors can be the result of several factors, they most often result from medical negligence. When a preventable anesthesia mistake is caused by a doctor or surgeon’s failure to exercise the standard of care, the at-fault anesthesiologist or physician can be held accountable for any resulting injuries.
Patients trust that their doctors and anesthesiologists to take the proper precautions to prevent anesthesia errors. When a physician fails to follow the standard of care advising a patient, administering anesthesia or providing follow-up care, injured patients have the legal right to hold the at-fault establishment or doctor accountable.
The most frequent anesthesia errors that result from medical negligence and medical malpractice in South Carolinia are:
- Anesthesia dose error
- Late anesthesia delivery
- Failure to observe a patient
- Prolonged and dangerous sedation
- Failure to recognize and take action for anesthesia complications
- Failure to notify a patient of instructions for before, during or after the procedure
- Faulty equipment
- Shutting off the alarm on the pulse oximeter
- Failure to intubate
Call our attorneys at our law firm in Columbia at 803-252-4800 For a Free Medical Malpractice Consultation
Mistakes in the practice of medicine, whether it be by a physician, nurse, or hospital staff can cause serious injuries or death. An experienced South Carolina Medical Malpractice attorney at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., will examine your case with highly qualified medical experts to determine whether there was a medical negligence that caused the injury or death. This evaluation is critical because medical malpractice cases cannot be proven without the testimony of a highly qualified expert. Contact the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation in Columbia to discuss the facts of your case.