Hospital negligence occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other staff member makes an unacceptable mistake in the care of a patient. Every licensed medical care facility has a legal duty of care to every person who is accepted for treatment. Therefore, a hospital—including the doctors and nurses stationed there—that commits malpractice may be liable to the patient or the patient’s family for any injury or harm that results from negligence. A patient harmed by medical negligence can sue the hospital in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you think that a hospital committed malpractice in the care of you or a loved one, you should contact an experienced Michigan hospital negligence lawyer to determine whether you have a valid case. A skilled legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. will work to obtain all of the relevant medical records, personally review them, and consult with a board-certified physician about your case. Our attorneys have successfully sued hospitals in Michigan negligence lawsuits since 1969.
What is Hospital Negligence?
Despite the obligation of proper treatment that is set upon each hospital, they often fail to deploy appropriate care methods, or will simply neglect to give patient care. Medical malpractice, often called medical negligence, is the term used to describe a careless, reckless, or wrongful act—or inaction—committed by a licensed medical professional who caused harm or injury to someone under their care. The results of this inadequate and inappropriate care can cause significant injuries, worsened conditions, and even death.
An important Johns Hopkins Medicine study found that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Medical experts found that more than 250,000 deaths in the U.S. every year result from medical negligence. Many of these preventable deaths occur at the the largest hospitals throughout the country.
What are Examples of Hospital Malpractice?
The most common types of neglect and malpractice include:
- Failure to admit a patient to the hospital for observation or medical condition
- Misdiagnosing a condition like a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism
- Not prescribing necessary medical treatment
- Failing to order necessary medical diagnostic tests
- Improper medication or dosage of a drug
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results, like blood tests
- Mistakes in interpreting test results, like an x-ray, CT scan, and MRI
- Errors that occur during a surgery or procedure, include wrong-site surgeries
- Ignoring signs and symptoms of a serious and life-threatening medical problem
- Failing to properly supervise or assist a patient at risk for falling
- Failure to request a consultation with a specialist for evaluation
- Discharging a patient from the hospital too early
When these or other neglectful actions cause a patient to suffer injuries, they might be overwhelmed and feel worse than before they sought care. A dedicated Michigan hospital negligence lawyer will work to determine if or how a medical facility is to blame.
Types of Hospital Accidents
In addition to medical malpractice, there are often other serious injuries that can occur in a hospital to a patient and even a visitor. Many of these are often unrelated to medical treatment or the reason for hospitalization, but occur and result in significant harm. Common types of hospital accidents include:
- Falls—from hospital beds, tables during radiology studies, bathrooms, transfers in wheelchairs, and showers or bathtubs, among others
- Trip and fall accidents
- Burn injuries, including from scalding water in a shower or spilled coffee or tea
- Surgical fires in the operating room
- Stepping on syringe needles or other objects
Of all these and other types of accidents, falls are one of the most common types of hospital accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental falls are the leading cause of injury and death in the elderly. Despite the numerous risks taken by many care facilities, falls still happen, and often result in severe injuries.
Unfortunately, the risk of individuals contracting an infection due to their hospitalization is unfortunately common. This is also known as nosocomial infections—hospital-acquired infections. While some of these conditions might be mild and only require slight care, others are serious and can cause severe and even fatal conditions. The most common nosocomial infections include, but are not limited to:
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)—a type of staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics, multiplies rapidly, and can cause many other infections
- Group A strep—commonly causes sore throats, but could also cause scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, or pneumonia
- Group B strep—common in newborns, which can result in pneumonia, meningitis, or brain damage, and lead to vision loss, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, or death. This can also affect pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions, such as liver disease or diabetes
- Flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis)—often results in amputation of a limb or even death
Often, these and other hospital-acquired infections could have been prevented, if not for the neglect of the care facility and its staff. Because of this, working with a knowledgeable and tenacious hospital negligence attorney in Michigan who is familiar with these types of claims might help to establish how a nosocomial infection was caused by a care facility’s neglect.
VA Hospital Neglect
The largest medical system in the nation, the Veteran Administration Hospital System allows veterans seeking medical care to have the right to the same standard of care as other care facilities. Therefore, when this system fails and a veteran suffers injury or harm due to medical negligence at a VA Hospital, the patient has the legal right to pursue a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claim Act (FTCA).
However, there are strict procedural requirements for filing a military medical malpractice case under the FTCA. These include submitting necessary forms and filing claims even before a lawsuit can be filed. The failure to comply with these requirements might result in a valid lawsuit being barred for technical reasons alone. As such, it is important to consult a well-versed Michigan lawyer who is familiar with hospital negligence involving veterans as soon as possible to preserve legal rights.
Largest Hospitals and Health Systems in Michigan
There are many small hospitals in the state, but most are now part of a large health system. The largest hospital systems in Michigan are:
- Trinity Health, which includes St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital and St. Mary Mercy Livonia
- Henry Ford Health System, which includes Henry Ford Hospitals located in Detroit, West Bloomfield, Wyandotte, and Macomb
- Spectrum Health System Hospitals in Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Ludington, Lakeland, Greenville, and in Southwest Michigan
- University of Michigan Health System with the main UM Hospital in Ann Arbor
- McLaren Health Care Corp. with hospitals in Mt. Pleasant, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Lapeer, Port Huron, Pontiac, and Petoskey
- Beaumont Health Systems, with Beaumont Hospitals in Troy, Royal Oak, Dearborn, and Farmington Hills
- Detroit Medical Center (DMC), including Detroit Receiving Hospital, Sinai Grace, Harper University, and Huron Valley Hospital
- Sparrow Health System, with hospitals in Lansing, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, Mason, and Ionia
- MidMichigan Health with medical centers in Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, and West Branch
- Ascension Health, including Providence Hospitals in Novi, Southfield, and Rochester and St. John Hospital in Detroit
- Munson Health with hospitals throughout Northern Michigan including Charlevoix, Grayling, Traverse City, Gaylord, and Cadillac
- Bronson Health Care, including Bronson Hospitals in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Southaven
Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
Yes, a patient harmed due to a medical error can sue a hospital for negligence. These cases often result in large settlements to victims of medical malpractice.
To sue a hospital for negligence, it must be proven that the hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, failed to provide necessary and appropriate treatment to the patient. In addition to this requirement, you must also prove that the patient suffered injury or harm as a result of this negligence. If a patient is not harmed due to treatment that was neglectful, then there is no case under Michigan law. Both negligence and a resulting injury are required to file a lawsuit.
Medical malpractice must be proven by the sworn testimony of medical experts. To file a case, the lawsuit Complaint must be accompanied by an Affidavit of Merit signed by a licensed medical provider. Essentially, a plaintiff must have a physician or nurse expert willing to testify in support of the case. Our attorneys will find the top national experts to review your case and to testify that the negligent treatment caused serious harm to the patient.
How Much is a Hospital Lawsuit Settlement?
Medical malpractice settlements include compensation for pain and suffering damages. Many patients have life-changing injuries due to medical neglect and suffer both physically and mentally. In addition, many malpractice victims suffer substantial pain and permanent disability from medical mistakes.
In Michigan, these types of non-economic damages are limited under caps on damages. The cap that applies to your case depends on the type of injury caused by the negligence. Our lawyers will review your records and determine which level of damage limits applies to your case. We will fully explain it to you.
In addition to a pain and suffering suffering settlement, the plaintiff can also demand economic damages. These damages include lost wages, loss of future income, and payment of medical expenses. Many patients require home care and have other needs, like home modifications, and these are part of settlement.
How Long do you have to Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
Under Michigan law, you have two years from the date of a medical mistake to sue a hospital for negligence. This deadline applies to cases involving errors in medical judgment, treatment, and care. There are some exceptions to this rule. This includes cases involving minors, the death of a patient, or a discovery of the malpractice more than two years after the mistake actually occurred.
For lawsuits involving accidents not related to medical care, like slip and fall injury, the limitations period is three years from the date of the accident. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an incident because the hospital may argue that the two year deadline applies to your case. If you could miss the case filing deadline, you will be forever barred from filing a lawsuit.
Our Michigan Hospital Negligence Attorneys Can Help You
When you go to a care facility for an injury or condition, you expect to be treated with care and respect—and to not leave in a worse state than you arrived. Unfortunately, hospitals and their staff frequently neglect their responsibilities and cause worsened injuries or even give rise to new and worse conditions for patients under their care.
If you or a loved one was injured while being treated at a hospital, you have legal options and will benefit from reaching out to a Michigan hospital negligence lawyer for help. Our top-rated attorneys will explain your rights, answer your questions, and work to establish how a care facility’s neglect caused you to suffer. To begin taking legal action, call a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.
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