When medical professionals make a mistake with patient care, the results can be devastating. The medical responsibility doctors and nurses carry is considerable, and when mistakes are made there are repercussions. Medical malpractice is something that permeates the entire patient care industry, and a malpractice lawsuit could potentially put a negligent caregiver out of business.
It is important to remember that not all malpractice lawsuits are cut and dry. There are responsibilities that medical professionals have that are written out, and those that are implied. When something occurs that involves a guideline that is implied, then that is usually when a medical malpractice suit occurs.
The Groggy Driver Medical Malpractice
NewsOK.com tells the story of a Long Island woman named Lorraine Walsh who had sought care at South Nassau Communities Hospital. Her treatment required her to receive injections of pain killers and anti-anxiety medication. When she left the hospital, she drove home and swerved over the yellow line in the road and into an oncoming bus. The bus driver was injured in the crash and decided to file a malpractice lawsuit when it was revealed that Ms. Walsh was unaware that she should not have been driving.
The court ruled that it was the medical responsibility of the doctor and nursing assistant to warn Ms. Walsh that she would be unable to safely drive a car after her treatment. Since Ms. Walsh was not warned, the bus driver contended that the hospital was liable for the injuries sustained. The courts agreed and awarded in favor of the bus driver.
The Business Of Malpractice
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, malpractice lawsuits accounted for $3.6 billion in payouts to patients in 2012. A staggering 93 percent of that money was paid out in settlements, while only five percent was through a court award. The state of New York has the most medical malpractice awards with a total of $763,088,250 awarded in 2012 alone.
When it comes to the effects of malpractice, the numbers are concerning. In 2012, 31 percent of instances of medical malpractice lead to the death of the patient. When it comes to reasons for malpractice lawsuits, 33 percent occur because of an incorrect or improper diagnosis.
Why Do People Sue?
People generally file malpractice lawsuits for one of two reasons: financial restitution and medical responsibility. The victims, or the families of the victims, feel they are entitled to financial restitution when medical malpractice affects their lives. This is certainly difficult to argue when the incorrect diagnosis a doctor makes leads in permanent damage to the patient, or even death.
In some cases, the patient is interested in stopping a negligent doctor or medical facility from hurting more people. If a doctor has a history of malpractice suits, then continuing to shine a light on that doctor’s inability to deliver quality care can help others to stay away from that doctor. A hospital that has poor management practices or is negligent in executing its duties should be stopped from delivering care if there is damage being done to the patients.
In the case of Ms. Walsh from Long Island, it was ruled that responsibility was with the doctor. Since Ms. Walsh had no idea what the effects of the medication would be, she should have been warned before getting behind the wheel. It is cases like this that help to bring out negligence in medical care, and assist in preventing other people from getting hurt.