Mishandling Medical Equipment and Vetting Doctors
Visiting any medical facility, whether it is a hospital or local family physician, involves the use of some type of medical equipment. Doctors and other medical professionals rely heavily on this technology to give them information about the presence of diseases, chronic conditions, and vital signs. When the equipment is working properly and operated correctly, the information they provide can be life saving, but if they are defective, malfunctioning, or used improperly, the results can be serious and deadly. Medical malpractice lawsuits regularly arise out of such situations simply based on the ever-increasing reliance the medical industry puts on technology. That being said, when it fails and someone is injured or dies as a result, figuring out who is at fault can be tricky. Does the problem stem from operator error, or is the issue with the machine itself? Answering this question will reveal whether the injured party should pursue legal action against the doctor and medical facility or the equipment manufacturer. PBS News recently reported on a study conducted by researchers in Minnesota into the heightened risk of spreading infections in hospitals from contaminated scopes used in gastrointestinal and colonoscopy procedures. The risk was linked to infant gas drops that contain ingredients that both promote bacteria growth and hinder the ability to effectively clean the scopes for use on other patients. This is but one example of the many ways medical equipment can endanger a patient’s health.
Medical malpractice cases involve claiming the doctor or other health care provider who offered treatment was negligent. Medical negligence means the doctor did not follow the professional standard of care and a person was injured as a result. The professional standard of care is measured by what other prudent and similarly skilled doctors would have done if in the same situation. Thus, if the treatment provided was inadequate or deficient when evaluated by other medical practitioners, the doctor could be liable for the injuries. Further, it is often necessary to demonstrate that the injury suffered was outside what is considered a necessary or foreseeable result of the treatment provided. This highly technical and complex analysis is performed by expert witnesses who frequently testify in malpractice trials.
Manufacturer Product Liability
Product liability claims, on the other hand, are aimed at the manufacturer of a product or device. In these cases, the injured party asserts that the defective design or manufacture of a device is the reason an injury occurred. In addition, it is also possible to argue that the manufacturer failed to include proper labeling, instructions, or safety warnings about potential risk. This contention is particularly important in cases with medical device injuries because a doctor may unintentionally use a device in an unsafe manner due to the absence of correct instruction or hidden risk. Basically, medical device manufacturers need to ensure that doctors and staff are fully trained on their equipment, and thoroughly test devices for potential risk before putting them on the market for use.
Finally, it is important to know that Florida law imposes an obligation on all hospitals to ensure that all physicians and other medical staff are competent, established through careful selection and periodic reviews. Further, hospitals must set up risk management procedures to reduce the likelihood of patients suffering unnecessary injury and risk. Any failure to meet this obligation opens up a hospital to liability if a patient is injured. When it comes to medical device-related injuries, hospitals have a responsibility to track and verify that all doctors and staff are sufficiently trained on equipment, and to development safeguards to catch problems before an injury occurs.
Talk to Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered any type of injury as the result of negligent medical treatment, it is crucial to speak with an lawyer as soon as negligence is suspected. Florida gives injured patients only two years to sue for malpractice, which goes by quickly. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado has the experience to handle these complex matters, and will fight to hold the negligent party accountable. Contact us for a free consultation.