When you trust your doctor to provide the right care and advice, you expect them to live up to that standard. Unfortunately, there are instances where this is not the case and patients are treated unfairly. When a healthcare provider fails to meet the standards or practices of their profession, it can be considered medical malpractice.
This is when a doctor or other medical professional breaches the duty of care they owe a patient, leading to negative consequences for that patient. A breach of the standard of care can be intentional (such as if a doctor knowingly misreads test results or intentionally recommends an unsafe drug for financial gain) or unintentional (such as when an honest mistake happens). Medical malpractice occurs when an error in judgment leads to negative consequences for the patient.
Prescription drugs and medical devices are supposed to improve our health. Prescription drugs and medical devices are regulated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they reach the consumer. However, despite this oversight, there are large deficiencies in the FDA process for introducing certain drugs and devices to the market.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pharmaceutical drugs kill over 40,000 people yearly. In 2011, it was reported that prescription drug deaths outnumbered traffic fatalities in the United States. Recent studies highlighted by the CDC estimate that more than 50% of all the drugs marketed to the American consumer have injurious effects, despite testing and FDA regulation.
Unfortunately, FDA recalls of many dangerous and medical devices have occurred after thousands of people were injured occurred.
Prescription drugs and medical devices are a multi-billion dollar industry per year. Big pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers spend huge amounts of money to design products for our use. If a product shows promise, a company will invest even more money to push it through human testing. Sometimes, in a rush to gain FDA approval, danger signs are overlooked or ignored. Because so much money is involved, manufacturers have been known to hide potentially damaging information and hope the negative findings.
According to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a recall will lead a firm to remove one of its products from the market. Recalls may be conducted by a firm’s own initiative or on the request or order of the FDA. The FDA will order a recall of a drug if it is defective and/or potentially harmful.
There are many instances where it is possible to file a medical malpractice claim. The following are some of the most common signs that you have been treated unfairly by a medical professional. These signs do not guarantee you were wrong, but they could be red flags that point to medical malpractice.
Some instances in medical malpractice cases include:
If your doctor does not properly diagnose a condition or misses a sign that something is wrong, then it may be seen as a breach of the standard of care. Some conditions are difficult to diagnose, but misdiagnosis is a sign that a doctor has not met the standard of care expected of them.
Failure to diagnose a serious condition or misdiagnosing a condition as less serious than it is can be seen as negligence in diagnosis. Providing a substandard treatment or treatment that is not suited to the patient’s needs could also be classified as negligence.
If your doctor treats you like a number or fails to ask questions that would allow them to understand you as a person, it could be seen as a breach of the standard of care. A doctor that does not take the time to understand you as a person cannot provide the best care.
A doctor that misdiagnoses a pregnancy or fails to diagnose a fetal abnormality that should lead to termination of the pregnancy could be seen as negligent. If an infant is born with a condition that could have been prevented by termination, it could be seen as a wrongful birth.
A doctor that fails to diagnose a chronic or existing condition in a patient could be seen as negligent. This could lead to complications that could require treatment (such as surgery) and/or death. If a doctor fails to properly treat this condition and complications arise, it could be seen as wrongful death.
If a loved one passed away after seeing a doctor, we highly recommend you speak with a wrongful death attorney to review your case.
A recent study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston counted more than 1,700 drug recalls listed in the FDA’s enforcement reports between 2004 and 2011. During that time, the FDA issued approximately 2,900 announcements through the Recall Alert System.
If you or a loved one thinks you may be a victim of medical malpractice, we recommend you speak with a local personal injury lawyer to discuss your case so you can understand your options.