In any area of medicine, from the most advanced and risky surgery to a prescription written for a headache, there is a reasonable expectation of safety and acceptable standard of care. However, there are certain aspects of the medical field that make it conducive to mistakes, such as: fast paced nature of emergency care, overworked and exhausted support staff, over scheduling of procedures, dangerous and powerful medications that prove harmful years after being on the market, and many other issues unique to health care. When something has gone wrong during the course of any kind of medical treatment and an argument for culpability can be made, there may be cause for a successful medical malpractice lawsuit.
Some questions that may help a client and lawyer determine if there may be a case of medical malpractice may include:
- Was the drug or treatment used or administered correctly?
- Was the doctor, surgeon, nurse, pharmacist, or other party aware there was a risk and then continued to use, sell, or prescribe the medication or product?
- Was there a failure to warn the public?
- Was anyone aware of similar incidents or problems with the product, medication, or procedure?
- Was there clear damage suffered, such as pain, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity to enjoy life, or other issues?
- Was there negligence on the part of a medical professional?
- Was the treatment or medication used for a purpose that it wasn’t intended for?
These are just a few of the factors that will help a lawyer determine if moving forward with a medical malpractice suit will benefit a victim.
Even though no two cases of medical malpractice are alike, there are certain drugs and procedures making news recently as the number of victims who are coming forward with lawsuits continues to rise. One case in the news pertains to a defective hip replacement suit. Stryker Orthopedics is under fire for problems related to hip replacement parts that were recalled in 2012. The issue involves a defective design problem that resulted in materials rubbing together, corroding, and then releasing toxic heavy metals into the bodies of patients. DuPuy ASR Hip Systems are also under recall for high failure rates.
Dialysis products are also under recall as they are currently the subject of major medical malpractice suits. Granuflo and NaturaLyte are both causing serious problems with patients. Granuflo has been shown to lead to unhealthy levels of bicarbonate in the blood, causing death for some patients. Cardiac arrest has affected other patients who have relied on and trusted these dialysis products.
Topamax, a prescription drug given to millions was meant to treat seizures. The anti-seizure medication also resulted in oral cleft palate. In fact, patients on Topamax were shown to be 11 times more likely to have a child with cleft palate compared to the general population. One Pennsylvania mom sued the makers of Topamax for negligence in the making and marketing of the drug and won an $11 million dollar settlement.
Anytime there may be a potential cause for a medical malpractice suit, the motives and intent of the culpable party can be a determining factor. The extent of any injuries or adverse health effects will also play a role. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to gather research, ensure the help of medical experts, express the nature of injuries or damage, and help guide each case toward the most favorable resolution possible. If you have suffered pain or injury from a medical procedure, prescription, or treatment, you may have a case. Let the Shapiro Law Group, PC listen to the details of your case and determine the best course of action.
By Ann Shapiro