Let us imagine: a woman underwent a routine hysterectomy, but instead of feeling better as she healed she felt increasingly worse. She thought she might be coming down with the flu when she began to get chills and a fever, but when her heart began to race and she became disoriented and felt a bit “loopy,” her husband rushed her back to the hospital where it was discovered that she had sepsis because doctor had perforated her bowel during the surgery. She had to undergo several surgeries to repair the bowel and the damage that was done.
How can this patient determine if this was indeed medical malpractice on the part of the surgeon?
Elements of medical malpractice
Just because you have received an injury after a doctor treated you it does not mean that you have a medical malpractice case. Although you might have had an adverse outcome after being treated by your doctor, it does not always amount to medical malpractice.
A winning case must prove that:
- You were injured by a mistake your doctor made when they were treating you.
- Your doctor somehow deviated from the accepted standard of care that other doctors under similar circumstances would provide.
- Your injury is connected to your doctor’s negligence, according to medical evidence. In other words, you must prove causation, which requires the testimony of an expert medical witness who can explain how the doctor’s mistake caused the injury.
In South Carolina there is a three year statute of limitations within which you can file a medical malpractice lawsuits. The clock starts from the date of the injury. If you believe you might have a case, it makes sense to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer right away.
Medical malpractice cases are quite complex and costly to pursue, but an experienced attorney can review your medical records and determine if it makes sense to pursue your case. Most personal injury attorney accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will not charge you any attorney fees unless they are able to win the case for you.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood