You naturally trust doctors with your life and your health. However, even the best physicians can make mistakes. In some cases, the mistake is serious enough to cause you harm.
A doctor in Tennessee may, for example, fail to diagnose a health problem such as cancer. In such instances of medical malpractice, you may end up suffering for a significantly extended period of time, which can be both emotionally distressing and financially costly.
Types of errors
Medical malpractice is essentially negligence that a medical professional has committed. Such accidents often take place in hospitals, and many of these unfortunate incidents may have been completely avoidable. Examples of such errors include the following:
- Incorrect diagnosis: Treatment usually has to be given in a certain timeframe for it to be effective. Strokes and heart attacks are among the most commonly misdiagnosed problems, which can have life-threatening consequences if not properly diagnosed.
- Birth injuries: Mistakes that occur during the process of giving birth may leave babies with injuries that can affect them for a lifetime. Examples of these mistakes include failing to watch oxygen levels and applying excess force to the baby.
- Surgical errors: Surgery can be risky, and in some frightening cases, doctors have performed operations on incorrect body parts. In other cases, they have accidentally left foreign objects inside patients.
- Prescription errors: A doctor may mistakenly overdose or underdose a prescription for a patient, or he or she might neglect to complete reviews for negative drug interactions between a prescribed drug and something that the patient is already currently taking.
How is negligence determined in these instances?
In order for there to be actionable negligence on the part of a medical professional -- in other words, featuring the necessary components for constituting a legitimate cause of legal action -- the following elements must exist:
- A duty must be owed to someone. More specifically, the physician owes to his or her patient a duty of treatment and care with the level of diligence and skill expected of a competent doctor in the same circumstances or in similar circumstances.
- A breach of duty must have occurred.
- The breach of duty needs to have led to damage or harm that specifically resulted due to the breach.
Do you have a medical malpractice claim?
Once a physician in Tennessee decides to help and work with a patient as part of the physician-patient relationship, this medical professional becomes liable for any injuries that result from his or her negligence during the provision of this assistance. Thus, if a doctor fails to exercise reasonable care with you and makes an error that was preventable, you have the right to seek monetary compensation in an effort to hold him or her accountable by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.