An estimated 100,000 people or more die as a result of medical mistakes every year in the U.S. based on reports by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. The Institute of Medicine is a Congressionally mandated, non-profit research body. Their initial report in the late 1990’s was alarming to the general population, but only confirmed what many inside the medical community have known for some time.
Now, the Institute is preparing to release another report that may be equally alarming. The Institute recently found and reported that racial and ethnic disparity exists in the delivery of health care regardless of income or insurance coverage.
"Disparities in the health care delivered to racial and ethnic minorities are real and are associated with worse outcomes in many cases, which is unacceptable," said Dr. Alan Nelson, chairman of the Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.
According to one review of the report, blacks or African-Americans often get second-class care resulting in higher death rates from HIV/AIDS, cancer and heart disease1.
The report cites time pressures on physicians, provider bias against minorities, language barriers and geographic proximity as reasons for this unacceptable state of affairs. Yet your state law may require you to rely on the medical community to determine if you are a victim of medical malpractice.
Whether or not you are a victim of racial or ethnic bias, your state’s law may require that you obtain written support for your claim from a nurse or doctor before you can begin a medical malpractice lawsuit. Knowing how to meet this extraordinary burden is the specialty of a small group of lawyers who spend every day litigating and trying medical malpractice cases. Our firm is a part of that small group.
Most state laws allow doctors, nurses and hospitals to define what the ‘standard of care’ means in the context of your potential case. Both Florida and Georgia require that a victim of malpractice obtain a special, written, expert opinion before they are legally entitled to even file suit and serve discovery upon the defendants. In this special written opinion, a qualified-expert health-care provider must identify care and treatment that is below the accepted standards of practice in the community.
As a result, medical malpractice cases are a special and complex type of personal injury claim. The phrase ‘medical malpractice’ generally describes a personal injury caused when a health care provider breaches his or her duty to the patient thereby causing physical injury or death.
The law generally describes the health-care provider’s duty in terms of what another reasonably careful and similarly qualified health-care professional would do under similar circumstances.
While the methods of compensating victims of medical malpractice are the same as in other personal injury cases, these cases can be more difficult to prosecute because they turn on technical and sometimes complex issues of medicine and health care. As a result, the majority of medical malpractice cases that are successfully placed into litigation and trial are for substantial injuries demanding substantial verdicts or settlements.
This investigation can be a daunting task for a trained lawyer, let alone a victim of medical malpractice or the family of a victim. There is very little in the experience of the average lawyer that could prepare him or her to investigate, file and prosecute a medical malpractice case successfully. So it is very important to retain a lawyer with extensive experience in these areas.
Our law firm has significant experience investigating, filing and trying medical malpractice cases successfully. Our resources and experience in the field ensure that your case will be handled professionally and honestly from the beginning. Our experience and expertise will provide reliable answers and information, while at the same time placing you on the path to a successful experience. We will do our best to make sure that you make the recovery to which you are entitled. And always remember, if we don’t win your case, you pay us nothing2.
NOTE: You are not a client of The Orlando Firm, P.C., until you have executed an attorney-client contract for employment of the firm, and the contract has been signed by a member of the firm.
1CNN report, March 20, 2002, "Report Finds Minorities Get Poorer Health Care", Rhea Blakey
2 Medical malpractice cases are handled on a contingency fee basis unless otherwise agreed upon by the client and the firm. Other types of cases may be governed by fee agreements other than contingency fees.