Articles Tagged with Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney

Punitive damage awards – which can potentially triple the monetary damages to which you are entitled in an injury lawsuit – are notoriously tough to obtain in Florida medical malpractice cases. Even getting judicial approval to request them requires proof of gross negligence and/or intentional misconduct – rare in any medical negligence case. The West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney you hire should be able to tell you whether it’s at all a possibility after a careful assessment of the facts of your case.West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney

There are two basic types of damages you can seek in a Florida injury case: Compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory damages are paid to compensate someone for specific losses, injuries or detriments. There are actual (aka “special”) compensatory damages (medical bills, lost wages, transportation, rehabilitation, property replacement, etc.) as well as general compensatory damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of life enjoyment, etc.).

Punitive damages, meanwhile, are intended to punish the defendant for egregious negligence or intentional wrongdoing and/or to serve as a deterrent. It is paid to you, but the driving factor is the outrageousness of the defendant’s wrongful conduct. Punitive damages are capped in Florida to be either three times the amount of the compensatory damages OR $500,000, whichever is greater.

Medical malpractice claims in Florida are tougher than the average tort case as it is because it’s not enough to show the health care provider simply failed to use reasonable care (the standard for typical negligence claims). What must be established – by expert witness testimony of a similarly-situated medical professional – is that the health care provider failed to follow the applicable standard of care for their specialty, region, and circumstances. Doing so would entitle the claimant to collect compensatory damages for their injuries.

But punitive damages would only be allowed, per F.S. 768.72, if there was proof the health care provider in question engaged in intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Continue reading

A recent expose by reporters at The Palm Beach Post detailed the many alleged medical mistakes and lawsuits peppered throughout the 30-year career of a Palm Beach OB-GYN who retained his medical license until only recently. The watchdog reporting raises questions not only about how he was able to continue practicing with his track record, but also why obstetrics and gynecology specialists have higher rates of medical malpractice claims compared to other medical experts. Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

According to a survey of more than 4,000 physicians by Medscape, nearly 60 percent had been involved in one or more medical malpractice lawsuits during their career. For OB-GYN practitioners specializing in women’s health, that rate was 83 percent. On average, OB-GYN practitioners are involved in 2 to 3 medical malpractice claims over the course of their careers.

The OB-GYN featured in the Post article was reportedly:

  • Linked to at least 14 serious injuries of women and children, including six deaths.
  • Named in four disciplinary cases.
  • Named as a defendant in nine medical malpractice lawsuits.

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Recently in another state, a hospital admitted a patient received a kidney meant for someone else. The hospital released a statement apologizing for the medical error and said two employees were placed on leave. The only good news is that while the kidney was given to the wrong patient, it is compatible with that person, who is expected to recover. Meanwhile, the surgery for the intended patient has been delayed. NPR reports the hospital is reviewing what went wrong and how to prevent similar mistakes.Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Such incidents are what are referred to by healthcare professionals and medical malpractice lawyers as “never events.” These are errors in medical care that are:

  • Clearly identifiable.
  • Preventable.
  • Serious in their consequences for patients.
  • Indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a health care facility.

These can include wrong side, wrong site, wrong procedure, wrong patient. Simply put, they are things that should never happen. When they do, patients adversely affected are rightly entitled to some form of compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, loss of consortium (spouse) and wrongful death. Continue reading

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