When You Should Sue Your Doctor for Medical Malpractice in Utah
If you’re concerned that you or a family member might have been a victim of malpractice at a hospital or clinic in Utah, you should discuss your situation with a Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney who handles malpractice cases may be able to help you recover financial compensation by filing a lawsuit or claim on your behalf. Even more importantly, your malpractice attorney may be able to hold the doctor or healthcare facility accountable for the financial and physical harm you and your family suffered. This article will go over some scenarios where a patient might have reason to sue his or her doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider for medical malpractice in Utah.
Is Failure to Diagnose Cancer Grounds for a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Medical errors are more common than most people realize. The frightening reality is that medical mistakes claim an estimated 250,000 lives in the United States each year, making them the third leading cause of death behind cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In a nation where roughly one in 10 deaths are now thought to be caused by medical errors, malpractice is a very real concern for patients and their loved ones. And though malpractice can take many forms, one of the most devastating – and most common – is the failure to diagnose cancer or malignant tumors, or the failure to diagnose other disabling or terminal illnesses.
According to a study published in BMJ in 2013, which looked at data collected over the 25-year period from 1986 to 2010, diagnostic errors were the number one type of paid malpractice claims, accounting for nearly 29%. In addition to tracking their legal outcomes, the study also noted the medical outcomes of these diagnostic errors, with grim findings: “The most frequent outcomes were death, significant permanent injury, major permanent injury and minor permanent injury.”
These statistics show that failure to diagnose is extremely prevalent, and forms the basis of many claims. However, you must prove that your doctor engaged in malpractice in order to receive compensation. Having a poor outcome from a surgery or medication is not necessarily indicative of malpractice, but outright failure to diagnose a serious condition should always be investigated by a Salt Lake City malpractice attorney. In many instances, there is evidence to indicate that the doctor should have been able to diagnose the cancer or other illness earlier, at a more treatable stage.
Some conditions are more likely to be misdiagnosed than others, or to go undiagnosed altogether. Other than cancer, some commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions include:
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Thyroid Disease
If your doctor failed to diagnose these or other conditions, or gave you an incorrect diagnosis, you should speak with a medical negligence attorney immediately, as you may have a cause of action (grounds to file a lawsuit). If you were injured by a doctor’s careless actions, or if a loved one was killed because of a medical error, a wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer in Utah can work to negotiate a malpractice settlement, or seek a favorable verdict in court, with the goal of getting justice while alleviating the emotional and financial hardship resulting from the death or injury.
Other Reasons to Sue Your Doctor or Hospital for Negligence
As statistics show, diagnostic errors are alarmingly common in the United States. However, there are many other types of medical errors that can also give rise to malpractice lawsuits. Some examples could include:
- Failing to check for dangerous interactions between medications.
- Failing to follow up with a patient.
- Failing to refer a patient to a specialist.
- Failing to properly sterilize surgical equipment or maintain a sanitary operating theater.
- Leaving a surgical item – usually a sponge or a piece of gauze – inside of a patient’s body, which is sometimes referred to as “unintended retention of foreign objects” (URFO).
- Making errors that cause birth injuries to the mother and/or baby, such as applying too much force during delivery, which can damage the baby’s shoulders and arms (shoulder dystocia). If you believe your OB/GYN was negligent, you should talk to a birth injury lawyer in Utah immediately.
- Making surgical errors, such as cutting too deeply and severing a nerve or causing nerve damage.
- Making unnecessary delays in rendering treatment or diagnosis.
- Operating on the wrong area of the body, which is called “wrong-site surgery.”
- Sexually abusing a patient, which sometimes occurs while the patient is under sedation.
While this article has used the term “doctor” for simplicity’s sake, a wide range of healthcare professionals can be sued for malpractice, including nurses, dentists, anesthesiologists, cardiovascular surgeons (heart surgeons), neurosurgeons (brain surgeons), plastic surgeons, OB/GYNs, urologists, oncologists (cancer specialists), and others. It depends on the circumstances under which the medical error occurred. Regardless of why the patient was being treated, the key to proving medical malpractice is to show that the doctor breached his or her duty of care by taking unreasonable actions which caused preventable harm to the patient.
Contact a Salt Lake City Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Help
When you are seriously ill, are recovering from serious complications, or are mourning the loss of a loved one, you should not have to take on the additional burden of handling your own malpractice claim, especially given the great complexity of these cases. Medical negligence is very difficult to prove without the benefit of a highly organized, strategic, and experience-driven investigation into the available evidence, so it is in your best interests to let a medical negligence lawyer represent you and your loved ones. A medical or dental malpractice attorney can utilize their resources to interview medical experts, delve deep into medical records, and uncover other information that is vital to proving your case.
If you, your spouse, or a family member was injured, disfigured, disabled, infected, or made seriously ill by a doctor’s careless actions, you should speak with a personal injury attorney about whether you have a malpractice claim. For a free legal consultation, contact the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143. Though based in Salt Lake City, we handle malpractice cases throughout Utah.