Hartford Medical Malpractice Attorney
Injuries due to medical malpractice in Hartford, Connecticut, are not just regrettable; they are, without exception, preventable. Yet, such injuries are becoming an increasing concern in Hartford, Connecticut. When a healthcare professional misdiagnoses a condition, prescribes incorrect medication or demonstrates negligence during surgical procedures, the consequences can be severe or even fatal. In the gravest scenarios, patients find their lives irrevocably altered.
In Connecticut, medical malpractice, commonly referred to as “professional negligence,” encapsulates any act of negligence by a healthcare professional that results in injury or death. Such failure can and must be held accountable. Our team of dedicated Hartford medical malpractice lawyers at Hassett & George is here to help navigate these complex legal waters.
The staggering impact of COVID-19 has further exacerbated the already worrying issue of medical malpractice in Connecticut. The pandemic has strained the state’s healthcare system considerably, leading to overworked professionals, understaffed facilities, and unprecedented financial challenges for hospitals.
This increased strain can potentially elevate the risk of medical errors, thereby increasing instances of negligence. As we strive to recover from the pandemic, we must address these issues and work towards safeguarding patient welfare against preventable harm.
What Exactly is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, simply put, refers to situations where a healthcare professional fails to meet the accepted standards of practice in the medical community, causing harm to a patient. This can occur in many forms, from misdiagnosis to incorrect medication prescriptions, surgical errors, or even poor aftercare. It is a serious issue, leading to injury, undue suffering, or even accidental death.
To establish a case of medical malpractice, the situation must satisfy three main criteria:
1. Standard of Care Violation
Medical professionals have to adhere to recognized standards of care in their field. These standards are commonly accepted procedures and practices that competent healthcare professionals use when treating patients under the same or similar conditions. However, suppose you can show that the medical professional didn’t meet these standards. In that case, it may be possible for your Harford medical malpractice attorney to establish a standard of care violation.
2. Negligence Caused the Injury
However, it’s not enough to show that the healthcare professional violated the standard of care. You must also demonstrate that they suffered an injury and that this injury directly resulted from the healthcare professional’s negligence. This often requires the input of medical experts who can connect the violation to the harm you experienced.
3. The Injury Caused Significant Damages
Finally, for a case to be considered medical malpractice, you must show that the injury led to substantial damages. These could include physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, or loss of earnings capacity. This criterion is important because the cost of pursuing a medical malpractice case is often high, and minor injuries, while regrettable, may not warrant the expense of legal action.
Understanding Negligence: Was The Mistake Preventable?
Medical negligence is a critical concept in understanding medical malpractice in Hartford, Connecticut. However, it’s essential to know that not all mistakes made by healthcare professionals are considered medical negligence.
The medical field is complex, and even with the best intentions and efforts, healthcare professionals can sometimes make mistakes. However, a mistake only turns into medical negligence when the healthcare professional could have taken steps to prevent it reasonably and when it falls below the accepted standard of care.
- Avoidable delays could fall under medical negligence. There are two main kinds of delays: treatment delays and evaluation delays. Delays might occur when a healthcare professional fails to act promptly upon identifying symptoms, causing your condition to worsen. Timeliness is often crucial in medical scenarios, and unnecessary delays can sometimes have grave consequences.
- Failure to take precautions refers to situations where a healthcare professional neglects to account for potential risks. For example, if a doctor does not consider your allergies before prescribing medication, it could fall under medical negligence.
- Improper medication can be a form of medical negligence. This can involve prescribing or administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failing to consider dangerous drug interactions.
- Inadequate monitoring of your condition can also lead to preventable errors. Your healthcare professionals are responsible for observing your progress and adjusting treatment plans accordingly. Failure to do so can result in preventable harm.
- Technical medical errors are another preventable mistake that could lead to medical negligence. These include errors made during a procedure, such as a surgical mistake or an error in administering treatment. These errors fall under negligence when a competent professional would have avoided the error under the same circumstances.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice in Hartford, Connecticut?
Millions of people get medical care in hospitals, clinics, and other locations every year. Unfortunately, in some situations, medical malpractice claims result. Medical malpractice cases happen when a doctor or nurse makes a mistake or doesn’t do their job correctly. In medical fraud cases, your medical malpractice lawyer in Hartford has to prove that the doctor’s care went below what the community considers acceptable. Common examples include:
Drug and Anesthesia Errors
Drug and anesthesia errors are also common forms of medical malpractice. Prescribing or administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failing to consider dangerous drug interactions can severely harm a patient. Similarly, errors in the administration of anesthesia can have serious consequences. For instance, an overdose can lead to brain damage or death, while an insufficient dose could result in a patient waking up during surgery.
Improper or Delayed Diagnosis
One common form of medical malpractice is improper or delayed diagnosis. When a healthcare professional fails to identify a patient’s condition promptly and correctly, the patient may miss critical treatment opportunities. This could lead to a worsening of their condition and, sometimes, fatal outcomes.
An incorrect diagnosis can also lead to unnecessary or harmful treatments. For example, a patient could undergo an aggressive treatment plan for a condition they don’t have, resulting in unnecessary physical and emotional distress.
Injuries Inflicted During Surgery or Performing Surgery on the Wrong Site
Surgical errors represent another significant category of medical malpractice. These can range from injuries inflicted during the operation, such as damage to surrounding tissues or organs, surgery on the wrong body part, or even the wrong patient. Such errors are preventable and can have devastating consequences for the patient, including additional surgeries, prolonged recovery times, or permanent disability.
Birth Injury Claims and Medical Negligence
Medical negligence during childbirth can lead to severe birth injuries, which can have lasting impacts on both the infant and the family. Some common types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:
- Brain damage
- Intrauterine fetal demise
- Intraventricular hemorrhage
- Newborn cephalohematoma
- Newborn jaundice
- Periventricular leukomalacia
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
This group of disorders affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Brain damage that occurs before, during, or soon after birth usually causes it. If medical professionals fail to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels during labor and delivery or do not address complications quickly, it can lead to cerebral palsy.
Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s Palsy)
These injuries involve damage to the nerves that control the hand, arm, and shoulder muscles. They often occur when a baby’s neck gets stretched to the side during a difficult delivery, such as a breech presentation. If not properly managed, this can result in temporary or permanent damage.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
This type of brain damage occurs when a baby’s brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and blood. HIE can occur for numerous reasons, such as complications with the umbilical cord, severe fetal distress, or a delay in performing a necessary cesarean section.
Who Are Some Of The Health Care Providers Typically Liable?
Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are the most commonly mentioned healthcare practitioners in medical negligence claims. However, it’s important to note that your Hartford medical malpractice lawyer can hold any healthcare professional liable for medical malpractice, including, but not limited to:
- Emergency room physicians
- Hospital administrators
- Physician assistants
- Physical therapists
- Plastic surgeons
What Are Some Damages a Hartford Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Me Recover?
The courts will award you as the patient damages to compensate you for the harm or injuries the healthcare professional caused. You’ll hear these called compensatory medical negligence damages, and the goal is to make you “whole” again and compensate you for non-economic and economic losses. Some economic damages include the following:
Decreased Earning Capacity
An injury can affect your ability to do your job as well as you used to. If this is your situation, you might be eligible for compensation to cover the earnings you’ve lost due to your injury.
Loss of Consortium
If you’re married, your spouse might also be deeply affected by your medical malpractice injury. If the damage has led to losing spousal benefits like companionship or sexual relations, your spouse might be eligible for compensation. This type of compensation usually gets reserved for the most severe cases, where injuries are life-changing or permanent.
Sometimes, healing from a medical malpractice injury means taking time off work. If that’s the case for you, you can receive compensation to make up for the income you’ve lost during your recovery.
If you’ve sustained injuries due to medical malpractice, you’re likely facing many medical bills. These might include hospital stays, doctor visits, physiotherapy, and prescribed medication costs. Compensation can cover these expenses. If you’re likely to need ongoing medical care, you might also receive additional money to help with those future costs.
Pain and Suffering
After an injury, it’s not just the physical pain you might be dealing with. Emotional distress, fear, anxiety, and other forms of mental suffering can also follow a traumatic experience. The court designs compensation for pain and suffering to help you cope with these consequences.
In cases where a healthcare provider hasn’t merely slipped up but has shown gross negligence in diagnosing or treating you, the law might grant you the opportunity to claim punitive damages. This compensation goes beyond covering your losses, and it works to serve as a significant penalty for the responsible party.
The aim is to hold them accountable for their actions and deter other healthcare providers from behaving similarly. In addition, our legal system uses this tool to ensure standards are upheld across the medical profession.
Connecticut Medical Malpractice Laws
Understanding Connecticut’s specific laws on medical malpractice can be crucial if you’re considering legal action following a case of potential medical negligence. Two key components in the state’s legislation are the “Requirement for a Certificate of Merit” and “Connecticut’s Rules on Shared Liability”.
The Requirement for a Certificate of Merit
A “Certificate of Merit” is required in Connecticut before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This certificate indicates that a medical expert has reviewed the claim and believes there’s evidence of malpractice. In addition, the expert, usually a healthcare professional, must believe that the care given was subpar and led to the patient’s harm. This measure helps to prevent baseless lawsuits by ensuring a case has merit before it proceeds. You can read more on this certificate and the requirements with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-190a and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-184c.
Connecticut’s Rules on Shared Liability
Connecticut operates under a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases, including medical malpractice claims. This rule means that a plaintiff can recover damages if they are less than 51% responsible for the injury. However, the court will reduce the total compensation they receive by the percentage of their fault.
For instance, if the court finds you to be 20% at fault for your injury, and the total damages are $100,000, you would receive $80,000, which represents the total amount reduced by your percentage of fault.
Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, is a city that beautifully marries historical charm with modern vibrancy. Known as the “Insurance Capital of the World,” it boasts a rich heritage and is home to some of America’s oldest institutions. But Hartford’s unique blend of cultural, historical, and recreational attractions truly sets it apart.
One such attraction is the Bushnell Park Carousel. An enchanting piece of history, the Carousel is over 100 years old and still delights visitors of all ages with its hand-carved wooden horses and classic charm. Its location in the picturesque Bushnell Park, one of the oldest publicly funded parks in the U.S., only adds to its appeal.
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Contact Hassett & George, P.C. Today
At Hassett & George, the commitment to serving as dedicated medical malpractice attorneys is unwavering. With a highly skilled and experienced professional team, we devote ourselves to providing thorough and compassionate representation to victims of medical negligence.
Understanding the physical, emotional, and financial toll such cases can take, our attorneys at Hassett & George work tirelessly to seek justice and compensation for our clients. Our staunch advocacy and deep-seated commitment to the law underscore our mission: to stand by your side, safeguard your rights, and help you navigate the complexities of your case. For more information about our team and services, visit Hassett & George.