Steve Roberts Attorney at Law

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Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a highly specialized area of the law. Medical malpractice requires that a complaint be filed with the medical review panel prior to the filing of a lawsuit. In other words, you cannot simply sue a doctor or medical provider as you would any other type of defendant in the State of Louisiana. Instead, you have to first go through a medical review panel hearing.

A medical review panel will make a decision as to whether or not a doctor or healthcare provider committed malpractice. Medical review panels are made up of doctors who will review the actions of the doctor or healthcare provider to see whether or not they were negligent.

Once the complaint has been processed by the medical review panel and there has been a hearing, the panel will render a decision as to whether or not they find that malpractice was committed. The malpractice must be based on some sort of deviation from the standard of care utilized by other doctors in a particular area. Again, this is a simplification of the process, and there are many complicated issues that must be addressed at the medical review panel level.

Once the medical review panel's decision is rendered, it will be very telling regarding what the plaintiff can expect in terms of the difficulty of proving their case. If the medical review panel comes back with a decision that the doctor was negligent, this makes the plaintiff's case much easier to prove. If the medical review panel comes back with a decision that the doctor was not negligent, however, your case will be much more difficult to prove. Regardless of the decision of the medical review panel, after a decision has been rendered the plaintiff can then file a regular lawsuit against the doctor or healthcare provider and proceed accordingly in front of a judge or jury depending on the amount of damages at issue.

One of the most important things to remember regarding medical malpractice claims is that no doctor or healthcare provider can provide any guarantee of an outcome of any surgery or medical procedure. The human body's ability to heal itself and the effect of various medications and procedures on different individuals varies greatly. Thus, a doctor is only required to utilize medical procedures and techniques that are accepted in the industry and do his or her best to provide quality healthcare.

Examples of gross medical malpractice that would result in certain liability would be things such as amputating the wrong leg by simply misreading a chart, leaving sponges inside of a patient after surgery causing long-term infection problems and further operations to remove sponges. Also, as most recently heard about through the news media, attempting to transplant an organ into a person who has a different blood type than the organ donor. All of these mistakes are ones that were due to negligence and not being careful about the procedures utilized. There's a big difference between these cases and a surgery simply "not turning out right" or the patient having complications.

Certainly, it would be impossible to address all possible causes of action here. In order to find out whether or not you have a medical malpractice situation that would be suitable for litigation, you would have to come in for a free consultation and provide specific facts about your circumstances.

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