Most of us realize that members of our medical profession sometimes operate under difficult conditions. However, where medical negligence is clear and damages are suffered as a result of that negligence, a patient may sue the negligent doctor and/or the hospital.
A medical negligence action is usually based on a contract between the hospital or doctor and the patient. This contract implies that reasonable skill and care will be exercised in the medical treatment. A patient, in order to win with the claim, would have to prove, among other things, that the doctor or health worker was negligent and damages were suffered as a direct result of that negligence.
The courts ultimately decide whether the doctor has been negligent or not. They often rely on the expert evidence of qualified medical professionals. What may seem to you to be gross negligence may well be viewed differently by the courts and by medical professionals.
What damages can be claimed?
First, a patient can claim hospital and medical expenses (both past and future) which resulted directly from the doctor's negligence. Second, if income is lost as a direct result of negligence, the loss of earnings can be claimed. Finally, the patient can claim pain and suffering, emotional shock, disability, disfigurement, and the loss of the amenities of life. These damages are known as "general damages."
Should the negligence result in the patient's death, the executor of the deceased's estate can claim reimbursement of funeral expenses. Where the deceased had been financially supporting dependents prior to his or her death, those dependents may have a claim for loss of support.
Failure to perform C-section and failure to recognize and treat seizures in the period following the birth: Cerebral Palsy and brain damage which were caused by the failure of the obstetrician to perform a Cesarean Section and the misuse of forceps in the delivery of a newborn. The fetus was in obvious distress and the obstetrician allowed the labor to continue for an extended period of time without intervening and then failed to perform a Cesarean Section and effected a delivery with excessive force using forceps. In the period following the infant's birth, he began to have seizures, which were not appropriately treated. The result was a child who is brain damaged and will suffer from Cerebral Palsy for the remainder of his life.
In June of 1999, a jury in New York ordered New York's hospital agency to pay $76 million to a child for her birth injuries. The case states that Gaelle Prindilus, who has cerebral palsy, suffered severe brain injuries at birth when she apparently was choked by her umbilical cord.
Gaelle was born in 1987 at Harlem Hospital. The case claims that when Gaelle's mother, a Hatian immigrant who spoke very little English, arrived at the hospital, the resident doctor on duty didn't perform a sonogram, which would have shown that the umbilical cord was around the baby's neck. As a result, during Gaelle's...