I read an interesting article this morning written by Robert E. Oshel, a former associate director of the Division of Practitioner Data Banks at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That division of the government has produced studies on malpractice payments. As always I hope this gives you something to think about.
We’ve found that even the most brilliant and accomplished medical professionals can cause grave injury to patients by failing to perform a routine task or asking the patient a basic question.
Ross Brindle, host of the Legal Journal on Business 1570, interviewed Shannon Carey, attorney at SiebenCarey about medical malpractice claims. Shannon discusses medical malpractice claims, lawyers' duties in pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit and how to hire a medical malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are difficult to file in Minnesota, let alone win, and they're not approached lightly.
Under a state law passed in the 1970s to prevent frivolous lawsuits, before a case can be brought it must be reviewed by an independent medical expert who specializes in the same field of the physician accused of wrongdoing. That expert then has to sign a detailed affidavit saying that not only did negligent care occur, but the care resulted in harm. The cost to get an expert and to obtain medical records can be thousands of dollars.
"A lot of law firms stay away from these cases because it involves a lot of time and expense before you even know if there's a case," said Paul Schweiger, a Duluth attorney who specializes in malpractice cases.
Exposing The Errors
Mistakes happen to each of us. But when they happen in a hospital, the consequences can be fatal. For many years, we had no idea how often medical mistakes happened. One study estimated that as many as one hundred thousand Americans die every year from them. In Minnesota, an effort is underway to prevent medical errors.
Expert witnesses are principal actors in Minnesota malpractice cases.
Physicians may not feel quite as comfortable in the courtroom as in the clinic, but they need to take center stage in any medical malpractice proceeding. In fact, in Minnesota, you can't start Act I without them.
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