The Dangers of Medical Malpractice and How It May be Proven
When one goes in for surgery, that person puts his or her well-being in the hands of the doctors and staff and the medical center. The trustworthiness of these people is rarely questioned, and it is often assumed that they will provide the best treatment in every aspect of care.
One Medical Malpractice Scenario
This, however, is not always the case. California residents may recall hearing about a Rocklin plastic surgeon and his wife who are accused of performing inadequate surgeries, illegally prescribing narcotics and improperly using narcotics themselves. An investigation headed by the California Medical Board is showing that there are dozens of victims who allege that the plastic surgeon damaged their bodies during surgery.
According to an ABC news story, one women is suing the male doctor for malpractice after the surgeon allegedly botched her tummy tuck, facial fat transfer and breast augmentation, causing the woman terrible pain.
The wife of the plastic surgeon, also a doctor, is being investigated by the DEA for self-abusing a controlled substance. It is alleged that the doctor, "...was administering anesthesia intravenously to a patient in the operating room while simultaneously administering the drug to herself via an additional intravenous line."
A medical student was in the room at the time of the incident and is quoted in documents as saying the female doctor then passed out. The anesthesia supposedly used by the wife is Demerol, which is a highly addictive narcotic. The California Medical Board's investigation revealed that the wife was also getting drugs from the husband by having him prescribe them to her. In addition, it was found that the doctors illegally gave a bottle of Demerol to a patient to help with pain, and showed the patient's boyfriend how to inject it into her body. Both the husband and the wife have been arrested.
An Overview of Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases
According to one source, legal liability for injuries caused by medical malpractice can be established under a number of legal theories. One such theory is negligence.
Negligence is the theory that a medical professional did not meet the required standard of care when treating a patient. To establish medical negligence, the plaintiff must prove:
- That a doctor-patient relationship existed and therefore there was a duty owed by the health care professional to the plaintiff;
- The health care professional deviated from the applicable standard of care thus causing a breach of duty owed to the plaintiff;
- The deviation from the applicable standard of care caused the plaintiff's injury; and
- There was actual injury to the plaintiff.
To determine what the applicable standard of the health care is that should be applied to the negligence claim, the plaintiff must present a medical expert's testimony. That medical expert must be qualified in the same area of medicine in which the defendant practices. The applicable standard of care must be determined before it can be determined whether or not the health care professional deviated from it.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated. Someone who has a potential claim against a health care professional would benefit from consulting with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can help advocate for the plaintiff's legal rights and assist the plaintiff with obtaining proper compensation for the damage suffered.