An elderly patient was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. What he did not know was that he also had a dormant form of Hepatitis B. While that may not seem like a big deal, it became a huge problem. Before beginning chemotherapy treatments, the patient should have been administered an antiviral medication to treat the Hepatitis. Failure to do so could result in the chemotherapy activating the dormant virus.
In this situation, that is exactly what happened. The patient was issued the chemotherapy without the antiviral treatment and the patient ultimately died from acute liver failure due to the Hepatitis B becoming active. The patient’s family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical facility and the case was resolved within six months of the case being filed.
What is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?
While the two types of situations sound fairly similar, there are some important differences when it comes to medical malpractice and medical negligence. Negligence is when a facility or practitioner fails to exercise the same care that an average person would exercise in similar circumstances. Negligence applies to harm that is caused by carelessness, and not intention.
Malpractice is a type of negligence and is often referred to as professional negligence. It occurs when a professional, such as a doctor, accountant, or lawyer fails to provide their services according to the standards set forth by a governing body, resulting in harm to the plaintiff. Both malpractice and negligence are filed in civil courts and if successful, allow the plaintiff to get monetary compensation for their injuries.
Proving a Malpractice Claim
Lawsuits involving negligence or malpractice are typically hard to prove. That is why it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced lawyer rather try to prove the claim yourself. To win a lawsuit for medical malpractice, there are certain things that must be established and proven during the case.
- Duty: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant had an obligation or duty to the plaintiff.
- Breach: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached that obligation or duty.
- Causation: The plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered harm or injuries as a direct result of the plaintiff’s breach of obligation or duty.
- Damages: The plaintiff must prove that he or she is only seeking damages that are directly related to the harm that the plaintiff caused due to the breach of obligation or duty.
If the plaintiff is able to prove the above four elements, then he or she may be entitled to the following types of damages for injuries incurred:
- Special Damages: These are damages directly connected to the harm or injuries and have a specific dollar amount that can be established, such as medical costs.
- General Damages: These are more difficult to establish a dollar figure for and include things such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages: These damages are rare but occur when the negligence is extreme. They are meant as a type of punishment for the defendant.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice and negligence can result in extensive injuries, medical expenses, and more. Do not let the negligent party get away with their bad behavior. Contact the attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP and exercise your rights today.We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Hush Naidoo)