|| Patients need protection from an epidemic of medical errors and
unsafe practices in medicine. According to the Institute of Medicine,
between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die in hospitals each year due
to preventable medical errors. By comparison the annual death toll
from automobile accidents is 43,000, 42,000 die from breast cancer
and 15,000 die from AIDS.
Research has determined that approximately one in six medical errors
is reported. A landmark Harvard Medical Practice Study found that
only a small percentage of medical errors result in law suits. Twelve
years ago, Harvard researchers using a sample of hospitalizations
in New York State compared medical to claims files. They found that
only one 7.6 instances of medical negligence committed in hospitals
results in a malpractice claim. Researchers replicating this study
made similar findings in Colorado and Utah. From 1996 through 1999,
Florida hospitals reported 19,885 incidents but only 3,177 medical
malpractice claims. In other words, for every 6 medical errors,
only 1 claim is filed.
Most victims of medical malpractice want the same thing- and it
isn’t money. Patients and families with medical concerns usually
want a combination of three things: an acknowledgment of their suffering
with an apology if appropriate, a straightforward explanation of
what happened, and assurances that the incident will not be repeated.
Most people understand that not all unfortunate results of medical
procedures constitute medical malpractice. In order to make a claim
for medical malpractice it is necessary to prove that the healthcare
provider deviated from the appropriate standard of care, in other
words he operated in a manner inconsistent with the practice of
any other reasonably prudent physician. In addition, the deviation
of the standard of care must have led directly to the damage and
injury that would not have otherwise resulted.
We feel strongly in ensuring that our clients’ rights have
not been violated and they have not been injured due to preventable
medical errors. At the same time we have an obligation to ensure
that we do not target a physician who has not operated outside the
standard of care. Over the past twenty years we have developed very
good relationships with competent and impeccably credentialed physicians
who are willing to confront the issue of medical malpractice.
We are proud of the fact that we have assisted deserving, injured
fellow citizens recover compensation for their injuries, their pain
and suffering, and their loss of income due to medical errors.
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