ERNST & YOUNG
As we age, our bodies become more fragile. As such, you’ll find yourself spending more time with doctors. Maybe you need blood pressure medication, or perhaps you’ve developed arthritis or another medical condition that affects seniors more. You have the right to expect that doctors will take good care of you or your loved one. Unfortunately, there are instances when that’s not usually the case.
According to a report published by CNN, many senior patients deteriorate mentally or physically in the hospital, even if they recover from the illness or injury that got them admitted to the hospital in the first place. This situation owes itself primarily to medical care provider’s negligence. For this reason, medical malpractice is a major concern to senior citizens.
What Is a Medical Malpractice?
To be better equipped to protect your medical rights, you must understand what amounts to medical malpractice. So what is it? Medical malpractice is a scenario whereby a medical professional harms a patient by failing to perform their medical duties properly.
What Are the Basic Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
For you to be able to file a medical malpractice claim against your health provider, you must be able to show the following things.
- Existence of patient-doctor relationship: For you to sue a physician, there must have been a contract between you. That is, you must have hired a physician to take care of your medical needs. This means that you can’t sue a doctor you overheard giving medical advice at a party.
- The doctor was negligent in performing his duties: Just because you are not happy with your treatment or the doctor’s prognosis does not mean that you can sue a doctor for medical malpractice. The doctor must have committed a negligent act in connection with your treatment or diagnosis. You must show that the doctor caused you harm in a manner that any other competent doctor wouldn’t have under similar circumstances.
- The doctor’s negligence caused the injury: Because most senior people who file a medical malpractice claim are usually suffering from a given illness or injury, the question of whether the doctor’s negligence caused the harm usually arises. As such, you must be able to show that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused your injury.
What Are the Common Types of Medical Malpractice Against Seniors?
A wide range of situations can lead to medical malpractice, from a doctor failing to tell a patient that a prescribed drug may have side effects to a doctor leaving a sponge in a patient’s stomach during an operation. Below is an outline of some common medical malpractices against seniors that may warrant filing for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Misdiagnosis:You can have a malpractice claim if your doctor failed to make a proper diagnosis or entirely missed a diagnosis that would have led to favorable health outcomes.
- Failure to provide the correct treatment:if a physician harms your health by either administering the wrong treatment or even giving you the proper treatment, but in an incompetent way, then you would have a solid case of medical malpractice.
- Failure to inform you of the known risk of a treatment: Physicians are bound by the law to inform their patients of any medical procedure or treatment risks. The physicians must concisely disclose any such information to patients to aid in them making informed decisions. If they fail to do so and you develop a medical complication from a procedure or treatment, then you have the right to sue the physician.
Seniors and Medical Complications
Senior patients face many of the same issues that everyone else faces when it comes to medical malpractice. However, there are special considerations for senior citizens, given their more fragile health status. Senior citizens are more vulnerable and may have difficulty recovering when a medical procedure goes wrong, and they may suffer more from medical errors.
Moreover, given the growing number of US senior citizens residing in nursing homes, medical malpractice issues are more prominent because of their regular contact with healthcare workers. Beyond this, there is the issue of elder abuse which has some similarities with traditional medical malpractice. The major difference between these two health malpractices against seniors is the way they are handled legally.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse involves reckless or neglectful practices that may cause injuries to the patient. It includes neglect of custodial duties rather than just the medical ones. This means that a person tasked to provide care to the elderly could be liable for damages even if they were not providing direct medical supervision.
Some examples of elderly abuse that you should be aware of include:
- Insufficient nutrition and hydration
- Unusual bruising or broken bones
- Getting the wrong medication, or the wrong dosages, or not getting medication at all.
- Sexual abuse
- Dramatic weight loss during your care period
- Not getting changed regularly, lying on feces or urine for long periods
- Lack of bathing and changing of clothes, among other reasons.
Differentiating Medical Malpractice From Elder Abuse
Despite elder abuse and senior medical malpractice claims having numerous similarities, some factors discern them. For starters, unlike medical malpractice claims that have caps, elder abuse does not have any caps.
Secondly, Elder abuse usually manifests itself in the senior’s physical and behavioral change. There are instances where the seniors cannot communicate clearly. As such, you should be more observant of your loved ones. Look out for any signs of bruises, injuries, or changes in their mental states like anxiety.
Identifying medical malpractice can be a bit more challenging. The main element to keep in mind is that medical malpractice results from a medical professional causing harm to a patient because they failed to perform their legal obligation.
Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek Trial Attorneys Protects Seniors Against Negligent Physicians
Understanding the medical malpractice law can be challenging. There are many things to consider, including federal regulations and determining whether your claim amounts to a medical infringement. Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek Trial Attorneys believe that any victim of medical malpractice, no matter the age, deserves justice. If you or your loved one was injured by a negligent physician, make sure you contact us for the best legal representation.
Who Can You Trust with Your Case?
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
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