We Go The Extra Distance For Our Clients
Sandy Springs Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice cases are probably the most challenging type of personal injury case. Medical procedures often come with a certain level of risk, but when the injuries come from negligence, it can be very difficult to prove because of those risks. Your medical malpractice case hinges on proving a medical professional’s negligence led to your injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death.
The Sandy Springs medical malpractice law firm, Ashenden & Associates, P.C., handles malpractice cases carefully. We work with the top legal experts in the area to evaluate your medical treatment to prove that negligence happened. Our goal is to help you receive proper compensation for your injuries and stop the accused healthcare professional from hurting another patient. To schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer, call 770-394-8909.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or other healthcare provider acts negligently, leading to injuries that could have been prevented had they exercised the proper standard of care. Medical malpractice encompasses a wide range of various negligent acts. They include emergency room errors, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, and more.
Medical malpractice injuries can be minor and not require additional treatment. However, some injuries can be severe and need extensive treatment and care. In some cases, medical malpractice injuries can be fatal.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can happen anywhere and anytime during your doctor’s appointment, surgery, or any other medical treatment you receive. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, and lab technicians can all commit medical negligence when they do not exercise the standard duty of care. The most common types of medical malpractice cases that a Sandy Springs personal injury attorney can represent are listed below.
Diagnostic errors are a common type of medical malpractice that encompass a wide variety of mistakes that medical professionals can make during the diagnosis phase. When a healthcare provider incorrectly diagnoses a patient, their condition can worsen from either receiving medical treatment too late or not at all. Sadly, diagnostic errors can even result in death.
The following are three different ways that a medical professional can be guilty of diagnostic errors.
- Missed diagnosis: This error occurs when the doctor completely misses a patient’s symptoms and tells them there is nothing wrong. When a doctor misses a diagnosis, the patient’s health will continue to deteriorate until they receive medical treatment from someone else.
- Incorrect diagnosis: An incorrect diagnosis is pretty self-explanatory. When a doctor gives a patient the wrong diagnosis, it can lead to incorrect treatments, medications, and surgical procedures.
- Delayed diagnosis: With a delayed diagnosis, the doctor accurately diagnosed the patient, but they took a long time to do so. Patients with delayed diagnoses may experience constant pain until they finally receive the correct treatment.
When your healthcare provider commits any of the above during the diagnostic phase, they have acted negligently, and you have the right to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. To discuss your case with a Sandy Springs medical malpractice lawyer, contact Ashenden & Associates, P.C.
Medication errors can have terrible consequences for a patient, especially if they have allergies to the drug or are taking another medication that, when mixed, can cause adverse reactions. A medication error can happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or dosage. These errors can also happen at the pharmacy if the person preparing the medication behaves negligently.
The most common medication errors include:
- Incorrect dosage
- Incorrect prescription
- Failing to warn about the medication’s side effects
- Giving incorrect information on how to take the medication
- Mislabeling the medication
- Failing to prescribe the necessary medication
- Prescribing a prescription drug that negatively interacts with another medicine the patient is taking
- Prescribing a drug the patient is allergic to
When pursuing a medical malpractice case regarding medication errors, it’s important to prove that the injuries sustained due to the incorrect medication were caused by the prescribing doctor and not because you accidentally took the wrong medication. It will not be enough to claim that the doctor provided the incorrect medication; you must have suffered from harm because of the error.
Surgeries can be a frightening experience since you’re unconscious or mostly unconscious during the procedure. When you have surgery, you trust that everyone involved is working with your best interest in mind, especially when you’re in such a helpless state. Unfortunately, surgical errors can happen when the surgeon acts negligently, leading to a mistake that could have been prevented had they not acted negligently. Whether a patient suffers from the consequences of surgical errors depends on how serious the mistake was.
The most common surgical errors that can happen in an operating room are:
- Using the incorrect surgical instruments
- Damaging an organ, nerve, or muscle
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient
- Leaving objects inside the patient, like equipment or sponges.
- Operating on the wrong body part. This often happens when the surgeon operates on the wrong side of the patient’s body. For example, a surgeon performed a knee replacement on the right knee when it was supposed to have been the left one.
- Not properly scrubbing in, leading to infections.
- Misdiagnosis that leads to an unnecessary surgery.
- Not providing the patient with the risks associated with the surgery.
- Not providing prophylactic antibiotics that prevent an infection.
The consequences of surgical errors can be minor to more significant. Some surgical errors can be fixed with another operation, while others can lead to infections, paralysis, and even death. The most common complications from surgical errors are:
- A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs if the patient is deprived of oxygen
- Total or partial paralysis
- The accidental removal of an organ
- Muscle, tendon, nerve, or organ damage
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- A follow-up surgery to fix the error or to remove an infection
A birth injury can occur at any point during the pregnancy, labor, delivery, or soon after the birth. Some birth injuries can be minor, but others can have lasting effects on both the mother and child. Babies can suffer from physical disabilities, developmental delays, seizures, and neurological impairment. Medical professionals must monitor the mother and child during every stage of pregnancy and birth to catch any complications.
The most common actions that can lead to birth injuries caused by negligence are listed below.
- Failure to perform a C-section
- Using forceps or vacuum incorrectly during delivery
- Ignoring fetal distress
- The use of excessive force during delivery
- Not treating an infection
- Incorrectly administering medication
- Not realizing a fetus is in the breech position
- Failing to detect and treat oxygen deprivation
Sadly, many birth injuries are preventable and caused by negligent actions by the medical staff. Even the slightest mistake can have life-threatening consequences during a birth. The most common type of birth injuries the personal law attorneys represent at Ashenden & Associates, P.C. are:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injury, also called Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy
- Spina bifida
If you or your baby were injured due to the negligence of medical professionals, contact a Sandy Springs medical malpractice attorney at Ashenden & Associates, P.C. today.
Not only does undergoing surgery come with risks, but anesthesia alone comes with its own risks. If anesthesia is not correctly administered, it can lead to severe injuries and even death. When your anesthesiologist acts negligently, they’ve committed medical malpractice. The most common anesthesia errors that can occur are:
- Keeping the patient sedated longer than necessary
- Giving the patient too much or too little anesthesia
- Failure to monitor vital signs such as oxygen level or blood pressure
- Incorrectly inserting the breathing tube
- Intentionally or accidentally turning off the pulse oximeter alarm
- Incorrectly administering a spinal anesthetic causing paralysis or nerve damage
- Ignoring or not treating adverse reactions when the anesthesia is mixed with other medications
- Not telling the patient how to prepare for surgery
Chiropractic errors can be extremely serious since the area they treat involves the neck and spine. If your chiropractor makes one incorrect movement, it can lead to serious injury. When a chiropractor acts negligently, the following injuries can happen:
- Muscle weakness
- Neck injuries
- Herniated discs
- Extreme headaches
- Numbness in the limbs
- Spinal stenosis
- Rib fractures
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Vertebral artery dissection (VAD)
- Total or partial paralysis
- Pinched nerves
- Making the current injury worse
You can pursue legal action if you sustained any of the above injuries due to your chiropractor’s negligence. Discuss your case with Sandy Springs medical malpractice lawyers at Ashenden & Associates, P.C. today.
Lack of Informed Consent
Lack of informed consent can happen if healthcare professionals do not warn patients of the risks associated with a medical procedure. If there is a risk that the patient could lose a limb, organ, or even eyesight, and the patient was not aware of these risks before surgery, the healthcare provider could be held liable for negligence.
This type of medical malpractice can still occur even when a procedure goes perfectly and the patient does not suffer adverse side effects. If the patient was unaware that they could possibly lose their eyesight from the surgery, they might not have followed through with it even though it was performed correctly.
If you were not told about the risks involved with your surgical procedure, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to handle your claim. Discuss your case today with a Sandy Springs personal injury law attorney at Ashenden & Associates, P.C.
How Common is Medical Malpractice?
Sadly, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a study performed by Johns Hopkins. Medical negligence comes in third behind cancer, which causes the death of around 600,000 a year, and heart disease ranks first with almost 700,000 deaths.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
To prove negligence, your medical malpractice attorney will need to establish the four elements of negligence, also known as the 4 D’s of Medical Negligence: Duty, Deviation, Direct Cause, and Damages.
- Duty of Care: Healthcare providers and other medical professionals owe a standard duty of care to all of their patients. In order to prove duty of care, you must establish a doctor-patient relationship. This can be shown through medical records stating that you were being treated by a negligent doctor.
- Deviation: When healthcare providers fail to exercise the same standard of care that another physician would use under the same circumstances, deviation from the expected standard of care has occurred. The deviation is also known as a breach of duty. To prove this element, your medical malpractice attorney will consult with other medical providers in the same field to strengthen your negligence claim.
- Direct Cause: It’s important to prove direct cause when establishing medical malpractice cases. To show direct cause, the injuries you sustained directly relate to the negligent actions that your medical provider committed. It’s common for healthcare providers to turn the tables and try to blame the patient for their injuries. They may try to blame a patient’s lifestyle or health conditions when trying to disprove your direct cause claim. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is critical so that they can fight back against negative claims from your doctor.
- Damages: The fourth element that must be proven is that the injuries you sustained led to damages. The damages you incur don’t necessarily have to be physical; they can also be emotional and psychological.
Evidence for Medical Malpractice
When you choose to work with an experienced law firm like Ashenden & Associates, P.C. for your medical malpractice claims, you can rest assured that your personal injury attorneys are working hard to gather evidence to prove your claims. Your attorneys will collect the following evidence to support your medical malpractice suit.
- Medical history
- Any exams or tests you took
- X-Rays and C.T. scans
- The accused doctor’s history, including any previous claims of medical malpractice that have been made against them
- The history of the facility where you received treatment
- Medical experts testimonies
Medical Malpractice Damages
Medical malpractice cases are like any other personal injury cases where there are two types of damages that you can be awarded – economic and non-economic. Economic damages are financial losses that can be calculated, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify since they vary from person to person and cannot be calculated.
Sandy Springs medical malpractice lawyers at Ashenden & Associates, P.C. have won their clients the following economic damages:
- Past and future medical treatment expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment if the patient had to leave their job due to their injuries
- Compensation for a decreased earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs
- Home healthcare
- And more
The following are the non-economic damages you could receive compensation for from a medical malpractice case.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages in Georgia?
Georgia has established a cap on particular types of damages stemming from medical malpractice cases. If a patient is awarded a certain amount in damages, Georgia law will cap off the amount the patient receives. The cap is only applied toward non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
However, in 2010 the Georgia Supreme Court deemed the cap on non-economic damages unconstitutional. So any medical malpractice lawsuit filed after 2010 has a questionable non-economic cap.
There is no cap on economic damages in Georgia, which means there is no limit on how much a patient can receive in lost wages and other financial losses from a medical malpractice case.
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Georgia’s statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice lawsuits states that any legal action should be filed within two years from the date of the injury or death that was caused by negligent acts. It also says that a medical malpractice suit can not be pursued at all if it’s over five years old.
There are some exceptions to the two and five-year statutes, like if a foreign object was left in a person’s body. In this case, a lawsuit may be filed against the responsible party within a year of the object being discovered.
Consulting with a medical malpractice lawyer is important, even if you believe you missed the time frame to file your lawsuit. They will evaluate your claim and determine whether your circumstances fall under the exceptions to the Georgia statute of limitations.
Call a Sandy Springs Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Ashenden & Associates Today
When researching medical malpractice law firms, you want to feel confident that you’re receiving the best legal representation in the Sandy Springs area. Medical malpractice cases are a complex legal process and require extensive knowledge surrounding these personal injury matters.
To schedule a free case evaluation with one of the medical malpractice lawyers at Ashenden & Associates, P.C., call 770-394-8909 today.