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Medical Malpractice

We trust doctors to be trustworthy individuals who will make the best decisions regarding our health and care. The assistance of a skilled doctor or other medical professional can significantly ease any suffering from a medical condition with treatment. On the other hand, a grossly negligent doctor could alter your life forever for the worst. Medical errors such as misdiagnosis or administering the wrong prescription amount could potentially leave a person in more pain and debt than they did prior to receiving care. 

According to a 2016 study by the John Hopkins Hospital, it was found that medical errors were responsible for at least 250,000 deaths in the United States. These staggering statistics reveal that some doctors and medical personnel are not careful when they treat patients and are susceptible to making medical errors. Those errors could worsen the patient’s underlying condition or induce additional health concerns the patient has never faced before. In the end, the patient may be in more financial turmoil as they are trying to treat their initial medical condition as well as the consequences of the medical professional’s mistake.

If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, it’s within your best interest to secure trusted legal representation as soon as possible.

West Des Moines Attorney for Medical Malpractice in Iowa

The Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) found in a 2017 study that at least 41 percent of people in the United States have experienced some sort of medical error. Although mistakes happen, it’s the job of your doctor or other healthcare professional to be vigilant and do whatever they can to avoid medical malpractice. Healthcare professionals who fail to take these precautions and cause injury or death could be held legally responsible in court.

If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, then we urge you to contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. Our skilled and experienced personal injury attorney Gregory Landry has decades of experience he can utilize for your case. Set up your first consultation by calling McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700. Our office is based in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Altoona, Johnston, Polk City, Pleasant Hill, Adel, Dallas Center, Perry, Waukee, Redfield, Minburn, Van Meter and De Soto.

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What is Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is defined as the act or omission by a physician or other healthcare professional while treating a patient that deviates from accepted practices and leads to injury or death. For malpractice to have occurred, two elements must be present. The healthcare professional’s actions must be negligent, and the patient must suffer harm as a direct result of that negligence. So, if your doctor makes a mistake and it never results in injury or death, then you won’t be able to file a successful lawsuit for medical malpractice.

The first step to receiving compensation so you can recover from your losses is to file a wrongful death claim. However, before you do it’s highly encouraged you hire an attorney to assist you with the process. A skilled personal injury attorney can assess your case, collect supporting evidence, and handle the paperwork related to your claim.

If you’d like to sue for medical malpractice, you and your attorney will be obligated to prove the following to the court:

  • You, the plaintiff, were a former patient of the defendant.
  • The defendant treated you for a specific medical condition.
  • The defendant did not uphold their standard duty of care and made a medical error.
  • The medical error led to harm or injury.

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Types of Medical Malpractice in Iowa

Medical professionals make errors every day, but a simple mistake can turn into medical malpractice if the healthcare professional’s negligence results in injury or death. These mistakes can take many forms including misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or administering the wrong amount of a prescription. The following are some of the most common types of medical malpractice found in the healthcare profession.

Medical Misdiagnosis

According to the 2016 John Hopkins report, a third of medical malpractice cases originate from a wrong diagnosis. Being treated for the wrong medical condition can lead to a variety of health issues depending on the circumstances. The patient could be receiving harmful treatments for no reason, pay for unneeded medical costs, or develop new health conditions because of the medications or treatments they’re receiving.

Doctors should evaluate the patient thoroughly before pushing for any diagnosis. Medical professionals who ignore obvious symptoms or neglect to inform a patient of their underlying condition are being unethical in their medical practice. Conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed include:

  • Cancer
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Pneumonia
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Aspergillosis
  • Diabetes
  • Brain tumor
  • Concussions
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Birth Injuries

Pregnancy and childbirth are extremely complex and if a healthcare professional acts negligently it could result in devastating injury to the mother or child. Some examples of medical malpractice related to pregnancy and childbirth include: 

  • Premature babies
  • Preeclampsia
  • Cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy to the child due to childbirth
  • Shoulder dystocia or another type of nerve injury to the child during labor
  • Negligently administering anesthesia during a Caesarian section
  • Unnecessarily long labor that leads to injury
  • Surgical errors or negligence during a Caesarian section
  • Hemorrhage to mother or child during pregnancy or labor 

Prescription Drug Errors

We depend on doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to administer the correct dosage and medication when picking up our prescriptions. Unfortunately, prescription errors made by the physician, nurse, pharmacist or pharmacy itself happen every day and can result in severe injury or death to the patient. Prescription errors can occur in a multitude of ways including, but not limited to: 

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Prescribing the wrong dosage
  • Giving the patient the wrong dosage unintentionally
  • Giving the patient medication they don’t need
  • Failing to take a history of the patient’s past prescription drug use
  • Failing to warn of all risks associated with the medication
  • Dangerously mixing different prescription drugs 

Surgical Errors

Out of all medical professionals, we trust surgeons and anesthesiologist the most with our health and safety. Unfortunately, surgical errors or reckless actions can and do happen during surgery. These medical errors could potentially cause irreversible damage and unimaginable pain as a result. Some common surgical errors that could result in injury or death include:

  • Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
  • Negligent use of surgical tools
  • Negligent sanitary preparation for surgery
  • Failing to follow up with the patient after surgery
  • Discharging a patient prematurely after surgery
  • Negligently leaving surgical instruments, sponges or towels in the patient
  • Failure to conduct a surgical plan
  • Negligent sanitary preparation for surgery
  • Performing unnecessary surgeries
  • Failure to check for infections due to surgical procedures
  • Anesthesia errors

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What Can I Get for Filing for Medical Malpractice?

When you file a claim medical malpractice, you are seeking compensation for the losses you’ve suffered because of your injury. That means if you’re successful with your lawsuit, then you’ll receive a monetary award based on your economic and non-economic damages. The following are some damages you may receive compensation for if the court is in your favor.

  • Treatment costs
  • Hospital visit bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy treatments
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Nursing home bills
  • Necessary medical equipment
  • Lost wages
  • Handicap house fixtures
  • Increased living expenses

In addition to economic damages, you may receive compensation for non-economic damages including, but not limited to: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

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Additional Resources

Consumer Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS) – Visit the official website for the non-profit organization Consumer Advancing Patient Safety to learn more about how they provide a voice to individuals, families and health care providers across the United States. The CAPS leadership and community members work through multiple boards and organizations to advocate for those who have experienced medical errors. The organization also includes healthcare professionals who want to improve safety across the medical profession. Access their site to view their resources, share your story, or read the upcoming stories from CAPS News. 

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Iowa– Visit the official website for the Iowa Legislature to read their statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. Access the statutes to learn how the case must be filed within two years of the date “on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known or received notice in writing of the existence of” the injury or death stemming from the alleged malpractice. Keep reading the statutes to learn the statute of repose for all medical malpractice claims, what happens if you file a claim past the statute of limitations, and more. 

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Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa

Medical errors that result in harm or injury to the patient are rare, but when they occur the consequences can be shattering. Patients may be saddled with additional medical bills they weren’t prepared for, be unable to work because the error worsened their condition, and face further financial hardship as a result.

If you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, then consult McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. Our skilled wrongful death attorney Gregory Landry has handled all types of negligence and malpractice cases on behalf of victims for decades. He can examine the facts of your case and determine if you’re eligible for a monetary award. Set up your first consultation by calling McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. has offices in West Des Moines but accept clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area. 

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