Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider negligently causes injury to a patient. Recent studies show that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Examples of negligent medical care include:
Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis of cancer, stroke, heart or lung problem, internal bleeding, or other serious condition
Failing to order, misinterpreting, overlooking, or ignoring radiology imaging, laboratory results, or other tests
Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong body part or injuring an organ, blood vessel, nerve, or other important structure during surgery
Labor and delivery errors, such as causing unnecessary trauma to the mother or baby during birth or failing to timely deliver a baby to protect the health and safety of the mother or newborn
Hospital mistakes, such as nursing neglect or failing to protect patients from an incompetent doctor
Medication errors, such prescribing or administering the wrong drug or wrong dose of a drug
A viable medical malpractice claim requires proof of three elements:
A violation of the standard of care:
The law requires healthcare providers to exercise the same degree of care that would be exercised by reasonably prudent professionals under the same or similar circumstances. This is known as the standard of care. A healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care is negligent. It is important to understand that a bad outcome alone does not mean that a healthcare provider was negligent. A healthcare provider who complies with the standard of care is not liable for medical malpractice, even if the patient experiences an adverse result.
The negligence caused an injury:
Bad medical care that does not result in an injury cannot support a medical malpractice claim. It is not enough for a patient to prove simply that a medical professional violated the standard of care. The patient must also show that he or she suffered an injury that would not have occurred absent the negligence.
The injury resulted in significant damages:
Medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive and time-consuming to litigate. They often involve numerous experts, thousands of pages of medical records and other documents, and countless hours of deposition testimony. In the absence of substantial damages, the cost of pursuing a case can easily exceed the ultimate recovery. For a medical malpractice case to be viable, the patient’s injury must be one that results in significant economic loss (e.g., lost income, past and future medical bills) and/or non‑economic loss (e.g., pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life). Examples of injuries that may justify a medical malpractice lawsuit include death, brain damage, paralysis, lost limbs, or other severe permanent injuries.
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex and difficult personal injury cases to pursue. Not only do these cases involve complicated medical and procedural issues, but the defense is backed by big insurance companies with unlimited resources to hire lawyers and experts to prevent injured patients and their families from receiving justice. It is critical that victims of medical negligence obtain experienced and knowledgeable lawyers to represent them.
Unlike some law firms who handle the occasional medical malpractice case, The Brooks Law Firm has long focused primarily on medical malpractice litigation. Our medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience helping families harmed by the negligent actions of physicians, hospitals, and other medical professionals. Ann Brooks is the only female plaintiffs’ attorney in Oklahoma who is Board Certified in Medical Malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. We strive to hold doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers accountable for their negligence, thereby improving the quality of healthcare for all Oklahomans.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, call our Oklahoma City office at 405-840-1066 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.