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Bad medicine: who is responsible for medical mistakes?

Most individuals may lack any significant medical knowledge outside of information learned from watching television or searching the internet. For that reason, you may have 100 percent trust in the many medical professionals in your lives, and count on them to take care of your health issues to the best of their abilities.

As is the case with all human beings, however, doctors and other medical practitioners are capable of making mistakes. Unfortunately, there’s little room for error in medicine, and the results can be catastrophic. Results of negligent medical care may include:

  • Critical misdiagnosis
  • Surgical errors such as organ damage
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Reactions to receiving wrong medication
  • Unexpected death

Any health care professional can make an error

There’s no group of practitioners exempt from making a mistake; anyone who has access to you during any stage of your health care may be responsible for a mishap of some kind. Even someone performing a minor function have the potential to cause serious damage to a patient.

The list of healthcare professionals who may be held accountable for medical malpractice includes (but is not limited to) medical doctors and their assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, and anyone else directly connected to patient care.

Understanding vicarious liability

Depending on the circumstances of the case, larger entities could be liable for some of the blame for medical malpractice. For example, if evidence shows that an error occurred because the person who committed it was incapable of performing the task, his or her employer may be held responsible for hiring someone lacking the proper qualifications. An employer may also be responsible for the actions of its employees. Most commonly, a hospital may be liable for the negligent performance of the doctors and nurses working there.

There are also cases in which pharmaceutical companies have been liable for malpractice involving adverse reactions to one of their drugs. This is only applicable, however, if the manufacturer failed to disclose a potential danger to the doctor. If a doctor prescribes a drug and does not inform the patient about possible side effects, the maker may not be able to be held accountable should something go wrong.

Where to turn for help?

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, there are resources readily available to you. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of the incident, or from the onset of issues related to the incident, to file a claim.

By gathering what details you can, and then seeking assistance from a law firm that has experience with medical malpractice claims, you could be taking a critical step toward regaining much-needed peace of mind. The expertise and dedication of a committed team of professionals may be the prescription you need for financial relief.