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Should I Hire a Medical Mistakes Attorney for a Medical Error?

You’ve probably heard that the top causes of death in the United States are heart disease and cancer. What’s third on the list? Medical mistakes. It might seem surprising that errors occur so often in medicine, but according to a 2016 study by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, medical errors cause about 250,000 deaths each year.

In Texas and all throughout the United States, nurses mix up medications, illnesses are misdiagnosed, surgeons leave instruments in patients’ bodies, and staff swap patients’ test results. It’s a shame that preventable errors are hurting people and even taking lives. 

Below, we’ll provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is a medical error?
  • Are all medical errors considered medical malpractice?
  • Should I contact a medical mistake attorney?
Lawyer shaking hands with a new client for a medical error case.

What is a Medical Error?

A medical error is a preventable, adverse effect of medical care. They can happen in all kinds of settings, such as:

  • At a doctor’s office, where a doctor fails to recognize a patient’s symptoms and make the correct diagnosis
  • On an operating table, where a surgeon operates on the wrong body part.
  • At the pharmacy, where a pharmacist gives a patient the wrong drug.
  • At a nursing home, where a worker fails to clean properly and a devastating virus spreads.

Sometimes the consequences of medical mistakes are negligible. For example, let’s say a nurse makes a minor error in documenting a patient’s medical history. Then they correct their mistake without causing harm. This is an example of a harmless error. It doesn’t warrant a call to a medical mistake attorney.

But other times the consequences are astronomical, and the mistake causes serious injury and even death.  For example, administering the wrong medication dosage could lead to adverse reactions or worsen a patient’s condition.

Other examples of medical mistakes include:

Man on a cellphone calling a medical error lawyer.

Medical Errors vs. Medical Malpractice

Not all medical errors amount to medical malpractice. If a healthcare provider makes a mistake, but the patient isn’t harmed, the provider isn’t liable.

Medical malpractice is different. It involves situations where a provider’s actions or omissions do cause harm to a patient. But the patient has to prove that the provider’s actions fell short of the “standard of care”. This “standard” refers to the actions any competent provider would take in similar circumstances. 

This means that it’s not always possible to sue for medical errors, even when they cause harm. All the elements of a malpractice claim have to be present to sue for compensation. 

These elements are:

  • The healthcare provider owed the patient duty of care.
  • The provider breached that duty through negligence or a failure to meet the standard of care.
  • This breach directly caused harm or injury to the patient.

Medical malpractice cases can involve complex legal proceedings. They often require expert testimony from doctors in the same field. These doctors can weigh in on whether the healthcare provider’s actions met the required standard of care. For this reason, if you want to file a lawsuit, you should hire a medical mistake attorney to get the best possible outcome.

When to Consult A Medical Mistakes Attorney 

You should consider consulting a medical mistakes attorney if you believe you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical negligence or errors. You won’t have to pay for an initial consultation. So you risk nothing by making that first phone call or sending a message. 

But if you wait too long, the statute of limitations may pass. This is the legal time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim. 

Here are some situations where consulting an attorney may be appropriate:

  • Your loved one passed away because of a medical error.
  • You suffered serious harm or injury from a medical mistake.
  • A medical error impacted your quality of life or has made your health worse.
  • Your provider made an incorrect diagnosis that led to delayed treatment or unnecessary procedures.
  • You acquired a serious infection while seeking treatment in the hospital.

Sometimes, victims put off making an initial phone call to a medical mistake attorney because they’re worried about the cost. But most malpractice firms don’t charge anything upfront. They accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t pay anything unless they recover compensation for you. To find out more, you can set up a free consultation here.