It is not just doctors who can be responsible for medical malpractice claims. Nurses and other healthcare providers can be found negligent, as well. If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, it is imperative to contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible.
A Florida doctor is facing lawsuits brought forth by two patients who claim he incorrectly diagnosed them with multiple sclerosis. Court records show that at least five other patients have also requested to have their claims of medical negligence investigated against the same doctor.
Former patients of the doctor when he practiced in Colorado reached agreements that dismissed their claims after he voluntarily surrendered his license there. The first complaint to the Colorado Board of Medicine was made in 2011 by a team of neurologists who claim one of the doctor’s patients died from a complication of multiple sclerosis that they say he should have caught. Their assessment concluded that the patient likely did not have M.S. at all.
Dr. Gary Weiss has also had a license in Illinois that he was forced to surrender. In Florida, however, the settlement against him says that he will still be allowed to practice medicine in the Sunshine state as long as he completes 15 additional hours of training and pays all fines in full.
A representative for the doctor did admit that Dr. Weiss settled a $250,000 malpractice suit in Florida in 2015, but that he has never been found to have committed malpractice.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be committed in a variety of ways. However, it is important to understand that just because a doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner makes a mistake, that does not necessarily mean that he or she has committed medical malpractice. The legal standard says that in order for a doctor or other medical professional to commit malpractice, he or she must have breached the legal standard of care that has previously been established. There are several ways in which that standard of care can be breached, but some of the most common include the following:
- Improper Anesthesia Administration: When a patient undergoes surgery, it is likely that he or she will be given anesthesia. This will put the patient to sleep and make him or her unconscious during surgery. However, a very serious form of medical malpractice is when anesthesia is administered incorrectly, and the patient becomes aware of what is happening. The patient literally wakes up during surgery and feels the incisions being made by the doctor. Improper anesthesia administration can be grounds for medical malpractice because the surgeon and staff are under an obligation to ensure that the patient remains unconscious during the procedure.
- Preventable Injuries: Hospitals have an obligation to ensure that their facilities are safe and can adequately care for the patients that are admitted there. This means that employees must undergo thorough evaluations and all certifications and licenses must be up to date. If a hospital hires an incompetent nurse, doctor, or other medical professional, the hospital could be held responsible for any harm that professional inflicts on a patient.
- Delayed or Misdiagnosis: When a patient sees a doctor, he or she expects to be evaluated and diagnosed with the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. When a doctor fails to give a patient a proper diagnosis, the effects can take a toll on the patient’s mental and physical well-being, especially if the condition is life-threatening, such as cancer. Other commonly misdiagnosed conditions include tumors, ectopic pregnancies, and appendicitis.
Elements of Medical Malpractice Claims
If a patient is injured due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, he or she may be entitled to file a lawsuit. To bring a lawsuit for medical malpractice against a medical professional in Florida, there are several elements that you must be able to prove. They include the following:
- Breach of Standard of Care: You must be able to prove that the doctor, nurse, or other medical professional breached the standard of care that is owned to you. In order to prove the breach, Florida laws require you to find a medical expert who practices in the same field as the professional who allegedly committed the malpractice. That expert must be willing to give a sworn affidavit, and if he or she will not, your claim will be thrown out of court.
- Proximate Causation: You will also have to prove causation for your case. This means that you must prove that if it was not for your doctor or other medical practitioner’s negligence, you would not have suffered any injuries,
- Damages: To make your claim for medical malpractice viable, there must have been significant harm done to you. Why, you ask? Because the cost of bringing forth a claim for medical malpractice is not cheap. Expert testimonies are required, which can make filing a claim extremely costly.
Damages Available in a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you are able to prove all the above requirements, you will be able to pursue damages for your claim up to a certain amount. Florida statutes place a cap on the amount of damages that may be obtained from a medical malpractice lawsuit. For non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and inconvenience, that cap is $500,000. The other type of damages available in a medical malpractice case are called economic damages and include your medical bills and lost wages. There is no cap on those damages as they are easily proven.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
If you are considering taking legal action for medical malpractice for yourself or a loved one, youdo not want to delay. The State of Florida statutes set forth a time limit, or statute of limitations, in which you can file a malpractice lawsuit against a negligent nurse, doctor, or other medical professional. For most claims, this statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury, or the date that you determined that you were injured. Failure to file a lawsuit in that time period could result in the loss of your ability to ever be able to file such a lawsuit in the future.
When to Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or your loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, you need the representation of an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice laws are complex and confusing. Let the attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi help guide you through the process to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.