Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Oklahoma is home to many first-rate medical facilities, including the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center, the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Integris Baptist Medical Center, OU Medical Center, Children's Hospital, the McBride Orthopedic Hospital, Dean McGee Eye Institute, and more.

When Oklahomans have health problems or seek treatment for medical condition, they have confidence that they will receive a professional standard of care that will provide the best opportunity for healing.

Unfortunately, even the finest facilities can be flawed by a careless, negligent, or unethical medical professional. When a physician, nurse, specialist, surgeon, or other medical care provider fails to provide a reasonable and acceptable level of care, he or she may be held liable for resulting patient harm though a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice, also called medical negligence, occurs when a patient is injured or harmed as a result of inadequate medical care.

Not every course of treatment is successful. Not every patient's health can be restored. An undesired result alone does not mean that caregivers committed medical malpractice. However, if a bad result, injury, worsened condition, or a delay in receiving the appropriate treatment is caused by a health care provider giving substandard care, injured patients and their families may be entitled to compensation.

If you have suffered following medical treatment, you may wonder if your medical condition is the result of inadequate treatment or plain bad luck. Do not leave your health and your recovery to chance. Call the Law Firm of Oklahoma to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer for a free, confidential review of your claim.

Do No Harm

Under the Hippocratic Oath, physicians are sworn to uphold the practice of medicine as sacred, striving only to protect the patients to whom they owe a duty of care. In The History of Epidemics, the ancient Greek physician and father of medicine Hippocrates urged doctors "to do good, and not to do harm."

Although most physicians enter the field of the medicine with the intent of doing good, some actually do significant harm through careless errors or negligent behaviors.

According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, up to 200,000 people die in hospitals each year as a result of medical accidents. Of that number, as many as 120,000 are the victims of medical negligence. Despite a public perception that medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous and rampant, fewer than 3 percent of patients who suffer from medical negligence according to hospital records file medical malpractice claims.

Two put those numbers in perspective, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, following only heart disease and cancer. Yet only 5 percent of victims of malpractice receive a settlement, and fewer than one percent go to trial and win a verdict. Of those who win a judgment award in a medical malpractice trial, about 70 percent ultimately have the award reduced by the court.

Medical malpractice claims can be notoriously difficult to win. It is critical that you obtain skillful and experienced legal representation from a malpractice lawyer who can help you obtain financial compensation for the harm caused by substandard medical care.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence can take many forms, and any health care professional involved in a patient's care may be held liable for malpractice if he or she owes the patient a duty of care, fails to provide a professional standard of care, and the patient suffers harm as a result.

Common types of medical malpractice include the following:

  • Surgical error
  • Emergency room error
  • Diagnosis error, including misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose
  • Medication error, including dosing mistakes, inappropriate medication, and anesthesia errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Wrongful death

Even the simplest forms of treatment have inherent risks. A risk of harm and your provision of Informed Consent to treatment do not mitigate a doctor's responsibility to practice medicine at a professionally acceptable standard and to provide an appropriate level of care.

Surgical Errors

Any surgery, whether inpatient or outpatient, can have significant risks for the patient. An adverse reaction to anesthesia, hemorrhaging, or other dangerous situations may occur. However, these risks should be rare, and surgeons should do everything possible to minimize the risk of harm.

When a surgeon, nurse, assistant, or anesthesiologist fails to monitor the patient or to perform surgery carefully, painful, disfiguring, and lethal injuries may result:

  • Infection
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve Damage
  • Wrong site surgery
  • Amputation error
  • Surgical tools left inside the patient's body
  • Organ damage
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Brain damage
  • Hypoxia
  • Insufficient post-operative care
  • Heart failure

When determining if a surgical procedure is the best course of treatment for your medical condition, you should be informed of any inherent risks. These risks, however, should be inherent to the surgery itself and should not come from a physician who is careless or negligent in performing his duty.

Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosis

Perhaps the leading cause of medical malpractice, a missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis can have a serious impact on a person's health. If symptoms send you to a medical professional for help, you expect that the physician will assess your symptoms, check your medical history, order necessary tests, and carefully examine lab reports and x-rays to determine the source of your symptoms.

Diagnosis can be tricky, particularly when an illness or disease is asymptomatic or the symptoms present abnormally. However, there are certain protocols to follow when a person seeks medical attention for chest pain, abdominal pain, or a suspicious lump, for example.

When a doctor fails to order appropriate tests, to check for other possible conditions, or to appropriately read lab tests results in a failure to diagnose, the results can be deadly for the patient. A delayed cancer diagnosis, for example, could allow a treatable disease to spread. Failure to diagnose a heart attack or ectopic pregnancy could lead to a patient's death without appropriate treatment. A misdiagnosis could cause a patient to endure risky and unnecessary medical interventions.

Sometimes, certain illnesses and injuries can be asymptomatic, or symptoms can present in a manner outside the norm. In these cases, a doctor in Oklahoma may fail to diagnose a condition or accurate diagnosis may be delayed. However, if a diagnosis is missed or delayed due to a doctor's negligence, he or she may be guilty of medical malpractice.

Not all misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is the result of negligence or medical malpractice, but if a failure to diagnose is the result of negligence or substandard care, the patient may be entitled to compensation for any injuries, illness, or wrongful death that may occur.

Medication Error

According to some reports, medication error is the leading source of medical malpractice in hospitals.

Prescription errors, medication errors, and anesthesia errors include:

  • Improper dosing (overdose, insufficient dose)
  • Prescribing, administering, or dispensing the wrong drug
  • Prescribing or administering multiple medications with adverse drug interactions
  • Failing to check a patient's medical history for drug allergies or medical conditions which contraindicate the use of a particular medication

Adverse side effects of prescribing an inappropriate medication, improperly administering a drug, or providing the wrong dosage can include organ damage, brain injury, and death.

Birth Injury

Obstetric error is medical malpractice that occurs during the prenatal care of an expectant mother, during labor and delivery, or during the mother's postnatal care and the infant's neonatal care. It includes failure to adequately monitor the health of the fetus or the mother during labor and delivery, medication error, anesthesia error, surgical error during C-section, missed opportunities for appropriate medical interventions, and improper use of delivery tools such as forceps.

Birth injuries can lead to permanent disability or death. Common types of birth injury from medical malpractice include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Erb's Palsy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Skull fracture
  • Cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding of the brain)
  • Hypoxia (insufficient oxygen to the brain)
  • Nerve damage
  • Birth defects associated with chemical exposure and prescription error
  • Broken bones
  • Fetal death or stillbirth

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. If your celebration is marred by the pain of the injury or loss of your baby, call (405) 608-4990 for a free evaluation of your claim.

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