Millions of Americans put their trust in healthcare professionals to provide them with the proper medical treatment and care. While many medical professionals have been credited with saving the lives of their ill patients, others are accused of causing a patients severe distress, trauma or death from a medical mistake. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, it is estimated that up to 425,000 patients die every year from medical mistakes, also referred to as adverse medical events. This makes wrongful death from medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, following cancer and heart disease. Connecticut residents who have suffered at the hands of a negligent medical professional or families of those who have died as a result of an erroneous medical act may be entitled to compensation.
Unraveling the concept of adverse medical events
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has constructed a definition of an adverse medical event as a healthcare professional causing injury to a patient with medical intervention rather than the patient being harmed from the underlying condition itself. While some of these mistakes may be based purely on human error, others may be the result of poor communication, lack of documentation, technology or equipment malfunction, or bad management. There are many events that can be classified as medical errors. Some of these include the following:
- Leaving a foreign body within a patient after completing a surgery.
- Performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient or the wrong surgical site.
- Prescribing, dispensing or administering the wrong medication dose or the wrong medication to the wrong patient.
- Allowing the patient to obtain a preventable infection.
- Surgical site infections caused by inadequate precautionary antibiotic use.
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a patient.
The Department of Health and Human Services has found that when analyzing medical error reports, 44 percent of medical errors were considered preventable.
Connecticut malpractice laws
People who wish to file a claim for medical negligence or malpractice must do so within two years from the original date of injury. There is no limit on the amount of damages that a victim can receive as a result of their medical injury. Connecticut law requires an expert witness be used in all medical malpractice cases. The witness must have at least five years of experience in the same field of medicine as the negligent party's area of practice.
Forming a professional legal team
Those who have been injured or have suffered the death of a family member due to the negligence of a medical team or individual should contact an attorney immediately. People may sustain severe injuries that will cause them distress for the rest of their lives. It is important to create a professional legal team that will help you get the compensation and peace of mind that you deserve.