Many individuals who experienced injuries resulting from medical procedures do not pursue the care provider for the monetary (or non-monetary) compensation related to their injuries — for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is litigation’s tension, uncertainty and expense.
Whether a health care provider caused a medically-related injury is a question for a jury to decide based on witness testimony, including expert physicians or nurses.
No injured person should go without compensation to pay for the costs of repair – to his or her body, psyche or bank account.
We read about major and drastic injuries resulting from a health care provider’s medical negligence. But most injuries arise from relatively simple surgery and/or treatment.
A recent example of minor surgery that went wrong and caused a permanent injury is described in a recent lawsuit filed in Vermont’s U. S. District Court. The plaintiff (the patient suing the provider) engaged a physician at a local hospital to perform arthroscopy knee surgery. It is a common procedure for a torn meniscus and other knee conditions.
She had a prior surgery that probably increased the risk factor that she might experience “Deep Vein Thrombosis (“DVT”) as a result of the arthroscopic surgery.
When discharging its patient, the provider failed to prescribe blood-thinning medication and/or compression stockings. The patient had problems with the “continuous passive motion device (“CPM”), used in rehabilitation for soft-tissue surgical procedure or trauma. The device is intended to aid in rehabilitation, reduce inflammation, control pain, provide cautious movement and protect the healing area.
The patient was unable to use the device for several days. Despite the physician’s advice to the contrary, because the patient could not use the device for several days and was not consuming a blood thinner, she experienced a pulmonary embolism, Lyphodomia and a DVT requiring hospitalization, further therapy and medication.
These conditions left the plaintiff disabled. She has also been diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). And, she lost her employment, wages and benefits. She also incurred medical costs exceeding $1 million. Naturally, these eventualities cause her significant anxiety.
From these facts it is easy to see how a common, relatively minor medical treatment can cause a person serious injury and considerable expense. The question is whether or not a person in such a situation should sue for compensation.
Most people fear litigation. To be sure, the process is fraught with tension and uncertainty. And expense.
But state and federal courts require pre-trial mediation. Actually, federal courts require mediation even before most of the pre-trial discovery efforts (primarily depositions) have been pursued. As a result, over 90% of the cases in litigation settle without trial.
The mediation process eases the emotional difficulty of medical negligence lawsuits, making it easier for plaintiffs to recover for the mistakes of their health care providers. In our experience, patients who pursue genuine, viable claims for medical negligence receive compensation for their physical and psychological injuries.
Even if a case does not settle, it is wise to remember that jurors are, for the most part, a claimant’s peers. Health care providers are usually eliminated from the prospective jurors.
The bottom line is that the prospects are strong for compensation for medical treatment injuries.