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West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney

When a medical professional deviates from the standard of care, patients who put their trust in him or her are left seriously or fatally injured. Medical malpractice claims combine legal complexities and emotionally charged issues. A bond of trust is broken. Victims of a doctor’s negligence are seeking not only compensation for their loss, but also justice.

At the Manchin Injury Law Group in West Virginia, our Fairmont medical malpractice lawyers represent clients in the following types of medical malpractice claims:

Delayed diagnosis — If you are feeling symptoms of a possible serious illness, you trust that your physician will identify the problem and provide quality and attentive care. Overworked doctors who fail to attend to all details can misdiagnose or fail to diagnose cancer and other potentially deadly diseases. The job of our West Virginia failure to diagnose attorneys is to hold them accountable.

Emergency room errors — Despite the chaotic and rushed atmosphere of an emergency room, medical professionals must still maintain basic standards of care. Downplaying or ignoring the needs of a patient can make a bad situation worse. When that patient is your loved one, the consequences can be devastating.

Pharmaceutical and medical device injuries — Some medical malpractice cases do not involve doctors or nurses. Medical product manufacturers must adhere to the same standards as their medical professional counterparts in manufacturing and selling pharmaceuticals and devices. The slightest oversight or error can result in injury or death.

Birth injuries — The excitement of an impending birth can turn to tragedy when a mother or newborn suffers injuries. Failing to monitor heart rates or identifying distress during delivery can lead to immediate and future medical problems. Our West Virginia hospital negligence lawyers bring both experience and compassion to handling these complex, emotionally charged injury claims.

Nursing home negligence and abuse — A loved one is placed in the care of nursing home staff after a careful selection process. You want what is best for your elderly or disabled loved one. Allowing a nursing home resident to wander or overly restraining or medicating him or her not only violates trust, but requires immediate legal action as well.

Medication errors — A mistake when prescribing, dispensing or administering prescription medications can result in serious injuries or death.

Hospital negligence — We represent people in cases involving nursing errors, surgical errors and other types of negligence occurring in hospitals throughout West Virginia.

What You Can Do to Mitigate Medical Errors

Patient safety is a pressing concern that affects our nation’s healthcare system. Though we enter a provider’s care with the reasonable expectation that he or she will be looking out for our safety, medical errors can – and do – happen all the time. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the risk of medical errors throughout the course of your care.

The best way you can prevent medical errors is by playing an active role in your own healthcare administration. Pay attention to your healthcare delivery, and your team is more likely to act in kind. Here are some simple ways to be involved and avoid mistakes:

Preventing Mistakes in Surgery

No one wants to be the victim of a surgical mistake, but it happens more often than you think. Here are a few ways you can help prevent mistakes before and after a surgical procedure:

  1. Listen – and Ask Questions

Your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other medical professionals will each consult with you before your surgery or medical procedure. They should review the nature of the procedure, inform you of the possible risks and benefits, and ask you if you have any questions. This is a good opportunity to be your own healthcare advocate. If you have doubts or questions, here is your time to voice them. If something about the procedure doesn’t sound right, don’t be afraid to speak up – performing the wrong operation on a patient is rare, but it does happen.

  1. Make Sure You Understand the Procedure

You, your primary care provider, and your surgeon should all be on the same page when it comes to your healthcare. Ask your PCP who will be in charge of your care while you’re in the hospital. During your surgical consultation, make sure you know and understand the answers to the following questions:

  • What are you doing?
  • How long will it take?
  • What happens after surgery?
  • How will I feel after?

Also, be sure to tell your anesthesiologist about any allergies or medications you’re currently taking – even if it’s over the counter.

  1. Bring a List of All Your Current Medications

During and after surgery, you’ll receive medications to relieve pain, keep you under during the procedure, and prevent post-operative infections. Medications can interact with one another, so it’s essential to bring an up-to-date list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements you take.

Preventing Medication Errors

Medication errors are one of the leading causes of medical malpractice claims. You can reduce your risk of medication errors by:

  1. Using Your Powers of Observation

Many medications look alike, but may serve vastly different functions. If you know that your cholesterol medicine is oblong and white, but a nurse hands you a pink, round pill, don’t assume it’s a hospital generic. Ask someone to double check to ensure you’re getting the right medication. The same applies to bottles your pharmacist fills.

  1. Keep Your Medication List Up-To-Date

Certain medications, when combined, can create dangerous or even life threatening side effects. If you know your PCP recently started you on a new medication, make sure everyone else on your healthcare team – including every specialist – knows about it.

  1. Ask Questions

Finally, ask your pharmacist or your physician about any side effects you’re experiencing from a medication. Medications affect everyone differently, and there may be an alternative medication that causes fewer issues.

Medical errors are more common than you might think, but you can be a part of the solution. Follow these tips to avoid errors during surgery and medication administration.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in West Virginia

Medical professionals have a legal duty to treat people with fairness and reasonable care. If a medical professional in West Virginia injured you or a loved one and you believe you are eligible for a medical malpractice claim, contact the Manchin Injury Law Group.

Steps to Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Filing a medical malpractice claim can be complicated and confusing. There are a series of steps that you will need to take.

  1. Contact the medical professional whom you are planning on filing against. Talking to him or her before approaching an attorney gives the medical professional the opportunity to try to correct the mistake before you take the case to court. If the medical professional does not try to rectify the mistake or denies your claim, your next call should be to the medical licensing board. Let the board know what the medical professional did so the board can punish him or her.
  2. Find an attorney in your area who is knowledgeable and experienced in West Virginia medical malpractice cases. Go over your case thoroughly and create a plan for the next steps.
  3. Talk to another medical professional. See if he or she would have chosen the same treatment as the medical professional you are filing the claim against. If the second opinion confirms that the initial medical professional made a bad choice, the second medical professional can give you a certificate to use as proof that you have grounds to file a medical malpractice suit.
  4. File your claim. Your attorney will be able to file it for you. Usually, medical professionals prefer to settle malpractice suits out of court so that they do not need to make them public.

Damages

You could receive compensation for a variety of damages from a medical malpractice suit, as the severity of the consequences can vary.

General Damages

General damages cover a patient’s pain and suffering. Pain and suffering includes emotional, physical, and psychological harm a patient experiences because of malpractice. Specifically, it covers medical expenses, lost enjoyment of life, and lost future earning potential.

To determine the price of all the relevant factors, West Virginia courts will often bring expert witnesses to testify about the state of the victim. After hearing about the level of pain and suffering the patient endured, the court will decide how much to award in general damages.

Special Damages

Special damages cover the extra expenses that general damages do not include. For example, past and future medical costs due to the malpractice, therapy, medical equipment, and the cost of any necessary lifestyle modification because of a permanent injury.

Punitive Damages

Unlike general and special damages, punitive damages are not based on compensating the victim for his or her experience. The court assigns punitive damages when the defendant’s actions were intentionally malicious. Punitive damages are meant to be a punishment.

Wrongful Death Damages

In the worst circumstances, a person dies because of medical malpractice. West Virginia has special damages for wrongful death cases. Wrongful death damages include the family’s sorrow, anguish, and loss of companionship, support, and love. The court also may award damages for an inheritance that someone would have received if the victim had lived and wages the family lost because of the victim’s death.

Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice in West Virginia and want to file a claim, contact the Manchin Injury Law Group. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Fairmont medical malpractice attorney, please contact us at (304) 367-1862.

We represent people throughout West Virginia, including Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Morgantown.