We see a doctor or obtain medical care to prevent illness or to treat illness or injury. The last thing we expect is for the medical care provider to make things worse. Doctors and other medical professionals and facilities must provide a certain standard of care. When they fail to meet that and you’re hurt as a result, you have the right to compensation. That means filing a claim for medical malpractice in West Virginia.
At Brewer & Giggenbach, PLLC, we understand the extent of the harm caused by medical mistakes. More importantly, we understand the science behind your case—even in serious cases—and what it takes for you to be compensated for your loss. When medical care providers fall short of the help they can and should provide, we’ll fight for your right to be made whole.
The Legal Requirements for Medical Malpractice in West Virginia
Patients have rights. More than just “doctor clients,” every patient has the right to be treated considerately and to meaningfully participate in medical care decisions. Doctors and other medical care professionals have a duty to honor those rights and, doctors also take the Hippocratic Oath, which in part obligates them to treat patients to the best of their abilities.
When a medical professional breaches a duty to a patient in a way that deviates from the standard of care and causes harm to the patient, WV medical malpractice law allows the patient to demand compensation—called damages—for the harm. Lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice in West Virginia are best equipped to help clients accurately identify medical malpractice and recover damages to compensate them for their loss.
Medical Negligence vs Medical Malpractice: Understanding the Difference
Medical malpractice is a type of negligence, the failure by a medical professional or facility to provide care or treatment reasonably expected under the circumstances. Beyond obvious mistakes like surgical errors, medical malpractice can include failure to diagnose a condition, medication or other treatment errors, or providing treatment without the patient’s informed consent.
Below are short descriptions of different types of medical malpractice cases and their unique features. Not all medical errors constitute malpractice or even negligence, but an experienced WV medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine whether errors in your care rise to that level. When you put your health and well-being and that of your loved ones in the hands of medical professionals, you deserve their best, not their mistakes.
WV Medical Malpractice Cases Span All Areas of Treatment
The wide variety of medical specialists is a testament to the knowledge required to keep the human body healthy. While no error is good, some medical malpractice can have significantly greater consequences than others, impacting both patient and family for life. Below are examples of medical malpractice in different medical specialty areas.
Putting your life or the life of a loved one in the hands of medical care providers means putting your trust in them that they will use their extensive knowledge and their best efforts. When they fall short of what a reasonable medical care provider in their shoes would do, that’s medical malpractice.
Examples of Medical Malpractice in West Virginia
West Virginia medical malpractice law sets out the timing and process of seeking compensation, called damages, for these medical errors, but the types of cases are as broad as the types of medical care available.
Pregnancy and Birth
Errors in medical care during pregnancy or childbirth can have drastic consequences for the mother, the child, or both. Examples of medical malpractice in this area include:
- Failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
- Failure to diagnose birth defects before birth
- Failure to diagnose or treat gestational diabetes
- Failure to accurately determine the viability of a fetus
- Injuries caused during birth
The harm caused by these and similar medical conduct can have lifelong impacts or even cause the death of the mother, the child, or both. As a result, damages awarded in obstetric medical malpractice cases are often among the highest.
Anesthesia is a complex and critical medical practice area. Sedation through anesthesia may be used in surgery, outpatient treatment, childbirth, and even during in-office outpatient procedures. When not done correctly, anesthesia can have permanent, negative effects on the patient or even cause death. For this reason, medical malpractice claims involving anesthesia errors may include a wrongful death claim.
This type of medical malpractice does not necessarily have to occur in the operating room. Surgical errors can be caused by the medical care provider’s lack of competence, poor preparation, fatigue, or performance while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As with other types of claims, whether you have a claim for surgical medical malpractice in West Virginia depends on the facts of your particular case and whether your care met the standard reasonably expected of medical professionals in a case like yours.
Prescription or Medication Mistakes
Mistakes involving prescriptions or other medication may at first sound mundane, but they can nevertheless be deadly. Common mistakes in these medical malpractice claims include:
- Mislabeling prescriptions
- Prescribing or dispensing the wrong medication or wrong dosage
- Prescribing a medication that interacts negatively with another patient treatment, causing harm
- Illegible handwriting on the prescription, resulting in errors in the medication dispensed
Defendants in medical malpractice claims regarding prescriptions and other medications may be prescribing doctors, pharmacists, other medical professionals, or the facilities in which they work.
The areas listed above describe some, but far from all, of the medical treatments and situations that can result in medical malpractice in WV and elsewhere. It is important to note that the physician or medical professional treating you is not always the party—or the only party—at fault. Negligence and wrongdoing can also occur in the form of laboratory errors, faulty medical equipment or devices, or even record-keeping mistakes.
Medical Malpractice in West Virginia: Where to Turn for Help
Just as you wouldn’t hire a mechanic to do your taxes, you shouldn’t hire just any lawyer for your medical malpractice case. A good medical malpractice attorney is vital to success in any medical malpractice case. Experienced malpractice lawyers have a clear understanding of the science underlying your claim, a skilled team of legal professionals, and access to expert witnesses necessary to prove your case. But not all WV medical malpractice attorneys are equal—you need legal counsel adept at helping you navigate the best path for an optimal resolution to your claim.
At Brewer & Giggenbach, PLLC, we are seasoned trial attorneys with a firm foundation in the science underlying your claim and how to litigate medical malpractice in West Virginia. Whether you were harmed by medical malpractice described in one of the examples above or some other form of diagnosis, treatment, or medical care, you deserve West Virginia medical malpractice attorneys who have the skills to protect your best interests and fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can help, call (304) 291-5800 or complete our online contact form for a consultation.