Does Fear of a Lawsuit Really Result in Extra Medical Tests?

Does Fear of a Lawsuit Really Result in Extra Medical Tests?

Doctors in America often fight against the current medical malpractice system.
They insist that the system forces them to order unnecessary tests and procedures to protect themselves if a patient seeks to sue them.
What's interesting is that research from both Duke and M.I.T. found that the possibility of a lawsuit increased considerably the intensity of health care for patients by roughly 5%.  This increase was not to the benefit of the patient and ultimately only increased the amount of testing they received. In efforts to combat this, some states have imposed caps for monetary damages in order to limit the amount of money the medical industry could potentially lose resulting from a lawsuit.
The problem with this is that caps can prevent most medical malpractice cases from ever being surfaced because of all the costs it takes for a case to even make it to the initial hearing.
Here are even more reasons medical malpractice caps should be eliminated:

  1. They may be unconstitutional-  Florida's supreme court ruled that the cap on wrongful death non-economic damages that was adopted in 2003 violates the equal protection clause held by the state.
  2. Caps hurt patients- Caps take away the need for health care practitioners to make sure they are proving patients with quality care. This can potentially put millions of people at risk who rely on the medical industry for their health care needs.
  3. Insurance companies are the only ones who benefit from caps- American Association for Justice AAJ found in a study that in the states that utilize medical malpractice caps the insurance companies benefited solely; their profits by 24%.
  4. They are simply unnecessary- The argument for caps is that medical malpractice lawsuits increase medical spending. However, when looking at the data this is not the case. In a DePaul Law Review article, the authors found that there has been a steady decline in claim occurrence over the past several years. This despite the fact that health care spending and treatment intensity is on the rise.

These four points will be important to keep in mind over the next several years as this argument continues to heat up. Medical malpractice lawyers are not the enemy and are in fact the people who are most determined to win justice for those who were injured or who lost their lives to the medical industry. If you or someone you love has been injured in a hospital; you may have a claim for medical malpractice. Don't wait too long for the statute of limitations to expire. Give us a call today for free to discuss your options for receiving the justice you deserve.  (903) 526-1600


The Top 6 Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

The Top 6 Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

It's widely known that serious errors can be made due to negligence under the care of a health care practitioner.
Are you aware of how those errors occur?
This is so important because so many victims do not even know they are victims even after suffering from life-changing injuries or outcomes. Different states have different statute of limitations laws that restrict the amount of time is available to seek justice after the case has occurred. Because of this, we feel the need to provide to you 6 of the most common types of medical malpractice errors to help you stay informed.
✔️Misdiagnosis
If a doctor examines you or a loved one and fails to diagnose the correct illness. This is considered malpractice because it prevents the patient from getting the treatment they need. Malpractice only occurs if the doctor failed to do what any other doctor would have done and this caused harm to the patient.
✔️Delayed Diagnosis
The doctor made an incorrect diagnosis but the patient eventually receives the correct diagnosis. The condition becomes worse because the patient didn't receive the necessary treatment in time.
✔️Failure to Treat
The doctor may diagnose the correct illness but they may fail to recommend the proper treatment.
✔️Surgical Errors
A doctor may perform the wrong procedure, damage organs, nerves or tissue, use non-sterile surgical instruments, or even provide inadequate care after the surgery.
✔️Birth Injury
Birth injuries can possibly result in the death of your child if the child's prenatal care was inadequate or if the child or mother suffers injuries during the birth process.
✔️Medical Product Liability
If a patient suffers needlessly after a poorly designed medical device was used on them for their illness.

Conclusion

This list is not comprehensive however it does a great job of highlighting the most common types of medical malpractice that you need to keep in mind. We also want you to know that not all medical malpractice cases are this black and white and you should always reach out to professionals like us at Martin Walker Law who specializes in Medical Malpractice and all that goes along with it. (903) 526-1600


World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day, and at Martin Walker Law we would like to use this time to raise awareness about some issues the medical industry creates for those with cancer. World Cancer day is a day to empower the world to show support for those with cancer as well as encourage personal action in everyone to fight for improvement. One way that we would like to participate in this is to raise awareness for when doctors fail to diagnose cancer in their patients. This mistake is more costly than any amount of money because it usually costs someone their life or the life of their loved one. According to recent research from 2016, failure to diagnose properly accounted for 34 percent of all medical malpractice payouts that year. Doctors who fail to perform the required tests for finding cancer in its early stages could very well be engaging in medical malpractice. If a patient is not diagnosed by their doctor early enough it could mean that they will then have to go through a tremendous amount of chemotherapy or other harsh medications in order to combat the disease. If the doctor had successfully diagnosed cancer in the early stages then the patient would have not had to suffer through such harsh of a treatment process.
Other possible outcomes resulting from a failure to diagnose cancer:

  • Shortened estimated life span.
  • Expensive medical procedures may be necessary.
  • The patient passes away in a matter of a few short months.
  • The patient may die weeks after the doctor diagnoses cancer.
  • The patient's cancer could be highly contagious and spread throughout the body at a rapid rate.

This is why it's important for early detection tests to be administered to patients often when they are under their doctors care. Cancer is a very serious illness and should never be discounted when a patient is complaining of symptoms that resemble in any way those of cancer.
The American Cancer Society has some suggestions for avoiding cancer in 2019.

  • Stay away from Tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.

Many types of cancer are easily treated when diagnosed at an early enough stage. These include breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, and renal-kidney cancer. There is no reason that your doctor should miss the warning signs of cancer and submit you for a screening in time to save your life. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer in the late stages you may be entitled to compensation. Call our office today and we can get to the bottom of your situation and make sure that you get the justice that you deserve with your late cancer diagnosis. (903) 526-1600


Mental Health & Medical Malpractice

Mental Health & Medical Malpractice

It's important that we are always informing East Texans about the many ways medical malpractice can be introduced into their lives. There are many forms of medical malpractice and not all of them result from places you would normally think. For example, did you know that you can be subjected to medical malpractice in your psychiatrist's office? Psychiatrists are doctors that deal with emotional and mental health, and any complications that arise under their care should be taken very seriously. Even though psychiatrists roles are different from that of a general health practitioner or a surgeon, their responsibilities and expectations are very similar. The trust placed into a psychiatrist by their patient is extremely personal and should be dealt with the utmost respect. Any errors or mistakes that they make can create for the patient significant negative situations. We must keep in mind that medical negligence of the mind is just as important as negligence on the physical body.
At Martin Walker Law we want you all to be informed of the many ways that your psychiatrist could cause you mental and emotional harm. Some ways that medical malpractice can be proven in your case is if there was one of the following situations:

  • A misdiagnosis
  • The wrong dose of medicine was prescribed
  • Failing to report that the patient could be a threat to themselves or another person
  • Abuse of power
  • Abuse of the patient's vulnerability
  • Talking about private matters to others that were disclosed in confidence by the patient

Just like any other medical malpractice case, the patient needs to be able to prove that their psychiatrist performed in a negligent manner while they were under their care. This negligence can take on several different forms for the patient:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Cost of future treatment
  • Earning capacity was lost
  • The ability to enjoy life has been lost

It's best to seek out the professional opinion of a trained expert in this area. It can be hard to know for sure if you have a case for medical malpractice, but we know how to help you best. Call us today for a consultation and we won't stop till we win justice in your case. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Let us help you win back the strength you once had so you can get back to living your life to the fullest. Call us today (903) 526-1600


Prescription Errors and the Relation to Medical Malpractice

Medication Errors and the Relation to Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice usually brings to mind errors made during an operation, but prescription errors can also be a result of medical malpractice. When a doctor decides on what medication to prescribe to their patient, it becomes a powerful tool for that person to overcome their illness or disease. One thing to keep in mind is that each person is different and they may have reactions to medications that are unpredictable to even the best doctor. East Texans need to be aware that if they suffer from an adverse side effect from a medication it is possible that you or a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice.
It's important in these situations to not jump to any conclusion prematurely. There are several things to keep in mind when you are considering the possibility that you or a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice. You will need to be able to prove some of the things listed below:
1. You were an official patient of the doctor who prescribed the medication
2. The doctor or pharmacist was acting negligently when serving you
3. Injuries were caused to you due to the negligent behavior
4. Damages resulted from the injuries that were caused
Medical Errors can occur if a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist prescribes the wrong dose or even the wrong drug to a patient. However, there are many other errors related to medication that can be caused by these mistakes.
1. The wrong medication was prescribed by the doctor
2. The pharmacist filled the prescription with the wrong medication or drug
3. The wrong dose for the medication was prescribed
4. The pharmacist filled the wrong dose amount of the medication or drug
5. The pharmacist provided the patient with the wrong instructions for the medication
6. The doctor or pharmacist gave medication to the wrong person to whom it was originally intended
7. The wrong drug or combination of drugs was administered to the patient
It can be a difficult process to prove that a professional was acting negligently when they prescribed your medication. This is because when a doctor is prescribing medication they usually focus on the patient's current issues and any relevant medical history, and are very careful. This is why it's important to call skilled lawyers who are experienced in dealing with these types of situations. At Martin Walker Law we know that this situation is capable of causing severe and permanent damage to a person. Don't hesitate to call us and get justice for yourself or your loved one. (903) 526-1600


Communication is Key at the Doctor's Office

Communication is Key at the Doctor's Office

It can be hard to communicate with your doctor, at the same time we put a lot of trust in them, and for good reason. The amount of studying and training they go through is unlike any other profession. Four years of undergraduate studies, followed by four years in medical school. After that another three to seven years in residency training before they are even eligible for a medical license. The reason for this is that the human body is an extremely complicated and intricate system. If one thing is out of place the whole system can get out of sync and serious health issues can arise. This reason alone can put even the most highly trained professional in a situation where they may not know the true reason behind an illness. Unfortunately, this can lead to doctors simplifying issues and not digging deep enough to find the problem. This can lead to patients missing out on treatments that may be the perfect solution to their health problems, and this is an example of medical malpractice. When a doctor makes a careless mistake in their patient's diagnosis it can mean life or death to a patient. It's hard for some people to speak up to authority figures in a white coat, and that is why at Martin Walker Law, we want East Texans to feel empowered at their next doctor appointment.
There are some warning signs to look out for the next time you see your physician.

  • The doctor dismisses your thoughts without discussing them with you
  • The treatment plan prescribed seems uncomfortable to you and hard for you to follow or understand
  • The doctor doesn't feel the need to describe to you the full extent of your condition
  • You or a family member are talked into signing documents without proper explanation

How to speak up at the doctor's office.

  • If your doctor says something that is confusing simply ask them to repeat it again for you.
  • If you say something and your doctor seems to misunderstand you and begins to prescribe a treatment too soon, simply ask them why they think that will help with your issue.
  • If the possible side effects of your treatment are unclear ask to see a list before you make a final decision.

Another simple solution is to ask someone you can trust if your situation sounds like medical malpractice. Getting a second opinion is important even if it's about your doctors level of care for you. There have been situations in the past where patients will complain of certain painful symptoms for months or even years while their doctor neglects to find the root cause. This results in the patient having to rush to emergency rooms at the last minute only then to find out what was wrong with them. Just because your doctor is wearing a white coat doesn't mean he is all knowing. Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself and ask questions, it could save you or a loved one's life many years of pain and suffering. If this sounds like something you have had to deal with in the past or even at the current time, don't hesitate to call our office today for a consultation. We will work with you to find out if you have suffered from medical malpractice and we will help you find your voice and win justice for yourself or your loved one. Call us today (903) 526-1600.


Birth Defects & Prevention

Birth Defects & Prevention

A birth defect is a serious health condition that can be present at the time of birth. Your babies health can be severely compromised and it can lead to long-term health issues throughout their life. If you didn't already know, January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and we want all East Texans to be made fully aware of this issue. There are some common things expectant mothers can do to prevent this that most people are aware of such as avoiding alcohol and eating too much fish. However, there are also some issues related to medical negligence from inadequate or improper care during the course of a mothers pregnancy.
Well Known Causes of Birth Defects

  • Smoking, drinking alcohol or taking any illegal substance
  • Medical conditions such as obesity, or diabetes that have been left untreated
  • Taking certain medications
  • Illness or infection during pregnancy

Ways You Can Prevent Birth Defects 

  • Take Folic Acid daily
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or any illegal drugs
  • Ask your doctor about your current medications or prescriptions
  • Avoid sick or contagious people
  • Wash your hands often to avoid getting sick
  • Continue treatment of any pre-existing medical conditions you have
  • Attend your regular prenatal care appointments

Medical Malpractice Causes of Birth Defects

  • Prolonged labor - If the doctor notices that the mother will be unable to deliver naturally after a long period of time; other options need to be considered
  • Instrument injuries created by the health care provider
  • Babies born breech or in nontraditional delivery positions

The good news is that most birth defects are fully preventable if the health care provider is paying attention and doing a good job of taking care of you and the health of your baby. Keep in mind that if your baby has suffered a birth defect because of the negligence of a health care provider, you can be compensated. At Martin Walker Law, we are fully capable of handling situations like this for you. If you would like to consult with us for free do not hesitate to call our office today. (903) 526-1600.


Holding Your Hospital Liable For Medical Malpractice

Holding Your Hospital Liable For Medical Malpractice

Holding your health care provider responsible for your injuries when they fail to deliver proper care to you is one thing. However, did you know that another option to consider is holding the hospital liable? In some situations, this may be the best option for you.

Feel free to call the lawyers at Martin Walker Law today to get the knowledge you deserve. Some of the main reason why a hospital can be deemed negligent is if there have been signs of negligence in the hiring process. Employees must be verified as being licensed for the skills they are required to perform and have proper experience levels. Hospitals should take care to remove any employees that do not have the requirements for their position. Another way that hospitals can show they deserve liability is if they do not establish protocols that ensure safety and health to patients.

Procedures such as handwashing, sanitizing of equipment and ensuring there are no possibilities for a patient to fall and injure themselves. Moreover, if a hospital does not keep the proper amount of staff on hand this is also an issue for the hospital. It is important to ensure that enough employees are hired so that proper patient care is provided.
The employer/hospital can potentially be held responsible for the negligent acts of any of their employees based on the rule of  Vicarious Liability.

Vicarious Liability is a liability that a supervisory party (such as a hospital) bears for the actionable conduct of a subordinate or associate (such as an employee) based on the relationship between the two parties. Under common law, a member of a conspiracy can be held vicariously liable for the crimes of his co-conspirators if the crimes committed by the co-conspirators were foreseeable and if they were committed with the intent of furthering the objective of the conspiracy

Hospital Employees

The types of employees that the hospital can be held responsible for are:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Employees hired by the hospital

Situations

Situations that the employee could create that could result in a hospital being liable are:

  • The patient was not monitored correctly
  • Misdiagnosed or non-diagnosed illness
  • Failing to check the patient's records such as adverse drug reactions
  • Administered drugs incorrectly into the patient
  • Failing to check up on bedridden patients
  • Not responding properly to a patient's needs

We want all East Texans to know that if you feel that you have suffered an injury as a result of a hospital or health care practitioner failing to meet the safety requirements; do not hesitate to call us today. We will not stop until justice is served for you or your family member. (903) 526-1600


Informed Consent In Terms Of Medical Malpractice

Informed Consent In Terms Of Medical Malpractice

At Martin Walker Law, we want to make sure all East Texans are made aware of the role they have in their own personal health care. To do this, we feel it's necessary that you know the meaning of informed consent and how it relates to medical malpractice. Before undergoing any medical procedure or treatment, you have the right to certain information that will enable you to make proper informed consent. If informed consent is not properly given by a medical care facility, and you experience an injury during your treatment, you may be entitled to pursue compensation. Our team wants to be there for you if that were to happen. However, we are writing this blog post in hopes that it reaches you before anything like this ever takes place. We have compiled a list of details that will help you achieve proper informed consent during your next hospital visit.
Your health care provider is required to give their patients all the positive and negative details about their treatment. Make sure next time that your doctor or nurse provides you with these key details:

  • The Diagnosis
  • The chosen treatment route and the reason for choosing it
  • Any possible benefits to the chosen treatment
  • Any possible risks to the chosen treatment
  • Any possible risks or benefits that could result from not undergoing the chosen treatment
  • Alternative treatments to the chosen treatment and any risks or benefits associated with them

Be aware that some health care providers will already have an informed consent form ready for you to sign. Make sure you read carefully all the details before signing. Keep in mind also that there are some situations where informed consent is not necessarily needed. These include:

  • Routine medical treatments
  • Emergency situations
  • Providing patients with care who cannot give consent
  • If giving informed consent will lead to harm to the patient

Before you decide that you have received an injury due to a lack of informed consent make sure that you are able to prove any of the following:

  • There was an obvious duty to get informed consent before performing the medical procedure.
  • Your provider failed to acquire your informed consent.
  • You would have never consented to the treatment or procedure if you were properly informed of all risks.
  • An injury occurred as a result of the lack of informed consent.

If you or a loved one believes they have received an injury because of a lack of informed consent, or any other medical malpractice situations, please don't hesitate to call us for a free consultation today. (903) 526-1600