Will Florida Medical Malpractice Claims increase because of COVID-19?
The country continues to reel from the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has made millions of people ill and caused the deaths of tens of thousands. The eyes of the nation have been rightly focused on the Coronavirus and the death and misery it has caused. However, Coronavirus is not the only medical condition that is debilitating and life-threatening. People are still receiving diagnoses, surgeries, and prescription medication for a range of other injuries and illnesses. And Florida medical malpractice claims are still occurring throughout the state.
Medical malpractice occurs when there is a deviation from a sanctioned professional practice or standard resulting in injury to the patient. An individual or an entire medical team can be held responsible for medical malpractice. Diagnostic error, surgical error, and prescription error are the most common kinds of medical malpractice. If you have been the victim of any of these errors, you should hire a Florida medical malpractice attorney and file a lawsuit against the person responsible.
1. Diagnostic error
You put your trust and confidence in your physician. When things are not quite right, when you feel ill and not yourself, going to the hospital for a diagnosis is the right thing to do. Your doctor should be competent to diagnose your condition. They should be able to use their own expertise and experience to get to the root of the problem. They should also tell you in plain English what you are suffering from and what will need to be done to relieve you. Your physician must be as accurate as possible in their diagnosis, even if it requires consultation with another medical professional. You should be told the truth, and you should be given options to resolve the problem.
Physicians who fail to meet this standard put the well-being of their patients at risk. If you were misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all for an illness and it led to the failure of your health, then you have a case against your doctor.
2. Surgical error
Incredible as it seems surgeons with years of experience have operated on the wrong body part and removed perfectly healthy limbs and organs. Such professionals have also botched operations, making the health of the individual under their care worse rather than better.
There are surgical procedures that are risky because they are complex and imperfectly developed. But there is a difference between a surgical outcome that is poor because it is inherently difficult and high risk and an outcome that is poor because of the incompetence and errors of the medical professionals involved.
If you are the victim of surgical error, then you should hire a Florida medical malpractice attorney and build a case against the surgeon and their team.
3. Prescription error
If your condition requires you to take pills, you should be given the correct prescription. Again, there is no room for error here. The wrong prescription can threaten your life or cause serious internal damage. Your physician should have a firm understanding of your medical problem. They should also be aware of all your allergies and the possible side effects of the drugs.
The prescription of potent painkillers can lead to addiction. Opioid addiction that is the result of over-prescription or careless monitoring has gained legal ground in recent years as a form of medical malpractice. If you have become addicted to painkillers, then you may have a case against the physician who wrote the prescription.
Florida Medical Malpractice Claims in the Time of COVID-19
The pandemic has increased the ways in which medical professionals can fail to give good care. Florida medical malpractice claims are on the rise for some of the following reasons:
1. Failure to implement infection control and preparedness plan
Healthcare providers must take the steps needed to protect their patients. They must have a robust training plan in place so that everyone involved in patient care knows how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This plan should be informed by CDC guidelines, and it should include instruction on hand washing and social distancing. And it should also include advice on how to keep equipment dedicated to COVID patients separated from equipment used for other patients.
In general, all hospitals should know how to effectively isolate the spaces, persons, and equipment involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
2. Failure to provide an acceptable level of care
Florida medical malpractice claims also extend to the following instances:
- Failure to properly diagnose patients who have contracted COVID-19
- Withholding treatment from COVID-19 patients with disabilities
- Abandonment of COVID-19 patients with acute symptoms
Proving Your Case
If you believe you are the victim of COVID-19 medical malpractice, you must prove your case. Hiring a Florida medical malpractice attorney is a good first step.
If you have caught COVID-19 when you were in the hospital for some other reason, then you should call a lawyer. If you went to the hospital complaining of symptoms associated with the virus and you were turned or misdiagnosed, you should call a lawyer. The ramifications of either scenario can be serious. They may lead to your unknowingly infecting members of your family, some of whom may be especially vulnerable.
The pain, suffering, and expense to you and the family of your COVID case demand compensation. Florida medical malpractice claims involve facts, evidence, and the law. The lawyer you hire will put all these together to get you the best possible outcome.
Before you proceed with your lawsuit, you should be aware that many states have passed laws giving complete immunity to healthcare workers on the frontline. And the federal government, in The CARES Act, has given immunity to some medical workers who volunteered when the crisis was at its peak. The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act protects qualified healthcare professionals who provide care, which includes the treatment of patients with authorized devices and drugs. The PREP Act also gives immunity to manufacturers of personal protective equipment.
To get justice in a COVID case, you will need to demonstrate that medical professionals who gave you treatment were negligent, reckless, or incompetent. Although there are things that medical experts could not have known about when the virus first broke out and cannot be held liable for, the basic principles of providing sound medical care can never be set aside. If you are the victim of carelessness and unprofessionalism, then you should file a lawsuit.
Non-COVID Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Florida medical malpractice claims that are unrelated to the virus are still being pursued. If you were the victim of a misdiagnosis, a botched surgery, or a prescription error, the people who treated you do not have immunity. You can still hold them accountable.
The injuries you sustained as a result of medical malpractice may have put you back in the hospital. You may have needed to go through a series of painful and invasive procedures to restore your health. As you recover, your attorney will speak with you to hear your story. This can be done through video conference or in a socially distanced in-person session. Getting these details will enable your Florida medical malpractice attorney to develop a legal strategy.
You need not remember everything. Your lawyer will employ a private investigation team to gather all the facts surrounding your case. The investigators will speak to the colleagues of the persons involved in the medical malpractice. They will also interview individual members of the team. Someone may have warned against pursuing a certain course of treatment or cautioned the surgeon against making the error that has caused you so much pain and suffering. Other patients may have suffered at the hands of the same physician. The investigators will track down such persons and get them to make personal statements about their experience.
Your lawyer will also subpoena all records and documents related to your case and treatment. These can provide valuable evidence about the methods and practices of the medical team. Your attorney will bring in independent medical experts to evaluate such documents and to review the procedures of the professionals responsible for your injuries.
The main aim of your lawyer is to maximize your compensation. To do so, they will need to establish the value of the case. In addition to gathering evidence that proves medical malpractice, your lawyer will also need to demonstrate the nature and scale of the injuries. They will request the records kept by your current physician to better understand the debilitation caused by your injuries and your prognosis for recovery. They will also speak to your family to understand how your injuries have affected your life with them. All these factors will go into the amount of compensation your attorney will demand of the respondent.
Your medical malpractice suit need not go to trial. In fact, the other side will want to avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle. The issue is likely to be settled through negotiation. You want an attorney with the skill and experience to get you an offer that is commensurate with what you have been through.