Miami Medical Negligence Attorney
Like most large metropolitan or urban areas in the United States, Miami and South Florida are home to many large medical institutions, expansive health networks, medical groups, and hospital chains. These highly-complex medical facilities are frequently staffed with thousands of medical providers and administrative employees. Delivering safe medical care and treatment in these profit-driven machines is not easy. Study after study has proven that medical negligence is pervasive. However, not all medical errors constitute medical negligence under Florida law.
Generally speaking, Florida law defines medical negligence as “a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care.” The standard of care of any healthcare providers is further defined as “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” Ultimately, a jury considering a Florida medical negligence case will be tasked with deciding whether a medical doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare provider acted negligently by failing to use reasonable care. Below are a few examples of medical negligence cases.
Examples of Medical Negligence
In a typical hospital admission, a patient may be treated by emergency room staff, an emergency room medical doctor, an off-site laboratory technician or radiologist, multiple nurses and clinicians, “on call” physicians who call in orders without ever meeting the patient, and a host of doctors with specialty-specific medical practices. Each must properly document medical records, communicate with other healthcare providers and the patient, understand the patient’s clinical presentation, and participate in the overall safe continuity of care. The sheer number of healthcare providers involved in rendering modern medicine sets the stage for many of the medical errors we see. Other acts of medical negligence are more discrete. Here are some common examples of medical negligence:
- Failure to diagnose
- Medication errors
- Failure to properly order, perform, or interpret imaging studies
- Failure to properly order, perform, or interpret lab studies
- Failure to request or perform appropriate clinical consultations
- Surgical errors
- Unnecessary surgery
- “Wrong site” surgery
- Failure to remove surgical instruments or tools following surgery
- Early discharge
- Discharging a patient without proper tests
While it is always important to have adequate medical resources available when injury or illness arises, sometimes the vast number of healthcare provides who descend on any one patient at large healthcare institutions, like many found in Miami, leads to confusion, mistakes, and poor medical decisions. Doctors and nurses may neglect to communicate effectively, medical records may not be documented appropriately, important tests might be misread or not performed, or patients may be permitted to leave hospitals without important testing.
Some acts of medical negligence are easy to spot: operating on the wrong limb, misinterpreting x-rays, MRIs or other imaging studies, medication errors, patient mix-ups, leaving behind surgical tools, etc. Others, however, are not as easy to characterize and sometimes involve the operation of the hospital as a whole, simple administrative tasks, or the failure to follow hospital policies, procedures, and protocols.
Importantly, medical negligence is not, simply, when a doctor makes a difficult but incorrect “judgment call.” To constitute medical negligence under Florida law, there must be a definitive medical error which falls squarely outside the bounds of widely accepted medical standards and that medical error must directly cause an identifiable injury or wrongful death.
What You Need to Prove in a Florida Medical Negligence Case
First, you must establish that a “patient/doctor” relationship existed such that a healthcare provider had a legal duty to provide you with medical care. You must then establish that a medical doctor or other healthcare provider failed to meet the prevailing professional standard of care (i.e. acted negligently) when rendering medical care. This can mean doing something that a reasonably prudent medical professional would not have done under similar circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably prudent medical professional would have done under similar circumstances. Finally, you must prove that the medical negligence directly caused an injury or wrongful death.
Do I Have a Miami Medical Negligence Case?
If you believe there was medical negligence which caused an identifiable injury or wrongful death, then you may have a medical negligence case. However, it is difficult to know for sure without first consulting a medical negligence attorney. There are many factors that should be considered when deciding whether you have a medical negligence case worth pursuing. Some of these factors include: available medical malpractice insurance, whether the medical providers were state employees, the nature and extent of your injury, the number of prospective defendants, and the employment relationships among prospective defendants.
Patients and their families are often unsure whether an act of medical negligence is to blame for an injury or death. More commonly, patients simply suspect a medical error has occurred. This is not surprising as medical errors are sometimes committed while patients are under anesthesia or in surgery, and some acts of medical negligence are hard to detect absent specialized medical knowledge.
Our Florida Office Locations
Viñas & DeLuca is headquartered in Miami, Florida and has offices available for consultation in Miami, Boca Raton/Palm Beach, and Tampa. We have handled cases in multiple state and federal jurisdictions throughout Florida. Click here for more information.
Contact a Miami Medical Negligence Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida personal injury or wrongful death matter, please contact Viñas & DeLuca for a free and confidential consultation by calling (305) 372-3650. There is never a fee or cost to you unless our law firm can recover money for you. You can also complete our Free Case Evaluation Form or easily chat with us online, and one of our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys will contact you right away. We are here 24/7/365 to speak with you and answer your questions. If you cannot come to us, we will come to you.