Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Helping People Harmed by Medical Errors and Medical Negligence in Florida

Far too many people in Florida and across the U.S. are injured by the healthcare professionals they trust to care for their health and well-being. In fact, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, medical errors cause approximately 10% of all U.S. deaths, making it the third highest cause of death in the nation.

The data on serious injuries and deaths due to medical errors are extremely disturbing, as well as heartbreaking for the injured victims and their families. The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger believe the negligent doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers who cause these injuries should be held accountable for the harm they inflict on their patients and their families.

Over the years, we have litigated a wide variety of medical negligence cases and have achieved many verdicts and settlements in excess of $10 million for the seriously injured victims and families whom we have had the privilege of representing. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about a potential medical malpractice claim and answer any questions you might have.

Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

Section 766.102 of the Florida Statutes defines medical negligence as healthcare that represents a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for a provider in a particular area of healthcare. In other words, when a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider is negligent and fails to act as a reasonably prudent medical provider of the same specialty would act and causes a patient to suffer serious injury or wrongful death, the doctor, nurse or hospital may be held legally responsible for medical malpractice.

Examples of medical malpractice lawsuits include cases in which a radiologist misses a key finding when reading a diagnostic x-ray, such as a cancerous tumor; those in which a doctor introduces infection during surgery by failing to practice sterile technique correctly; or those in which a nurse or doctor fails to carefully monitor a patient after surgery and complications such as internal bleeding, infection, or serious changes in vital signs occur.

Unfortunately, there are numerous possible situations involving medical negligence that can seriously harm patients and lead to medical malpractice lawsuits. However, the most common occurrences are:

  • Diagnostic errors. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, incorrect or delayed diagnoses occur in all areas of healthcare, harming thousands of people each year. Failing to diagnose or delaying a diagnosis of cancer, a serious infection, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, auto-immune disease or any serious medical condition can result in a life-altering or fatal injury. Other injuries, including psychological and financial problems, occur because of unnecessary or harmful treatment and the preventing or delaying of beneficial treatment.
  • Surgical errors. At least 4000 surgical errors occur each year in the United States. Operating on the wrong side of the body, cutting or severing an organ or nerve, leaving foreign objects in a patient, causing internal bleeding or failing to detect internal bleeding and treat it in time to save the patient or prevent permanent injury can all cause irreparable harm.
  • Emergency room errors. Errors in the hospital emergency room can seriously harm patients. These errors occur for many reasons, including:
    • Failing to triage a patient accurately
    • Failing to communicate accurately and fully during a shift change
    • Failing to acknowledge obvious signs of patient distress
    • Overlooking symptoms of stroke or heart attack
    • Administering the wrong medication or wrong dose
    • Misdiagnosing a condition
  • Medication errors. Medication errors, such as improper dosing, can result in temporary or permanent harm to the patient. Other instances of medication errors include:
    • Failing to monitor a patient closely during medication therapy (e.g., when a patient is on anticoagulants or blood thinners)
    • Prescribing or administering a drug to a patient with a known allergy (e.g., prescribing Azithromycin for a patient allergic to erythromycin)
    • Administering the wrong drug or wrong dose (e.g., the wrong flow rate of chemotherapeutic agents, insufficient dosing of antithrombotic agents, incorrect dose of dialysis solution)
    • Prescribing medications for off-label use

Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

medical malpractice attorney in FloridaFlorida medical malpractice lawsuits are usually complex cases. Proving that a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional breached the prevailing professional standard of care and that the breach seriously injured a patient requires extensive investigation, complete understanding of the facts, top quality expert testimony, proficient use of the civil discovery process and expertise as a trial lawyer.

Paul Knopf Bigger attorneys bring the essential expertise, experience and skill to the table to successfully represent clients across the country who have been seriously injured by medical negligence and errors in Florida. We work as a team to leverage our combined knowledge, skills and substantial resources to achieve justice and full compensation for victims of medical malpractice.

Malpractice Claims Related to Diagnostic Errors

A significant portion of the medical malpractice lawsuits we litigate involve diagnostic errors (failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, and misdiagnosis). To prove failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis, we gather thorough evidence showing that the patient suffered more than he or she would have if the diagnosis had occurred sooner.

It is also important to prove that most physicians would have considered the condition and ordered diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out the diagnosis based on the symptoms presented. For example, if a patient presented with severe abdominal pain and a physician failed to consider appendicitis, we would prove that most doctors would have considered appendicitis as a possible culprit and ordered diagnostic testing to confirm or rule it out.

In misdiagnosis cases, there may be one of two results: either the treatment administered caused further harm or failure to deliver appropriate treatment resulted in further progression of the disease. This is especially important in cancer misdiagnosis cases where months without the appropriate treatment can mean the cancer has progressed beyond the stage where it can be treated efficaciously.

Malpractice Claims Related to Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are preventable errors during surgery that go beyond the known risks of the surgery included in the informed consent document signed before the procedure. Surgical errors can be the result of the doctor’s incompetence (inexperience, lack of knowledge or training), inadequate planning before the procedure, improper process during the procedure, miscommunication (such as the surgical site), drug or alcohol use, neglect (such as using contaminated equipment), rushing to complete cases, exhaustion due to lack of sleep or other human factors.

Surgical errors alone do not warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit, but surgical errors that are the result of substandard care from a doctor and that cause harm to the patient can constitute sufficient negligence to warrant filing a lawsuit. To determine whether the care provided was substandard, we ensure it did not meet the level of care and attention a prudent healthcare professional with the same experience and training would have provided in the same or similar situation.

Malpractice Claims Related to Emergency Room Errors

Care and treatment in an emergency room environment is substantially different from the care provided in other healthcare settings. Lack of a reliable doctor-patient relationship, fragmented communication, frequent interruptions and often incomplete information combine to make the emergency room an environment in which numerous information gathering and information processing errors occur, according to a 2018  study of emergency room errors. When these errors lead to a harmful misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose and a harmful premature discharge, medical negligence has occurred.

As with surgical errors, an emergency room error alone is not sufficient for a Florida medical malpractice claim. However, if the error led to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a potentially serious problem that a prudent healthcare professional with the same experience and training would have diagnosed accurately in the same or similar situation, the patient was discharged without receiving appropriate treatment and then suffered harm, as in an undiagnosed bowel obstruction, stroke or heart attack, the injured patient would have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Malpractice Claims Related to Medication Errors

Administering the wrong medication or wrong dose can be grounds for a medical malpractice claim if the medication error harmed the patient, as in causing a severe allergic reaction. Again, if a reasonable healthcare professional with the same experience and training would not have made the error in a similar situation, the person(s) responsible for the error could be liable for medical negligence.

Statute of Limitations for Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

The statute of limitations for Florida medical malpractice lawsuits is two years from the date the malpractice occurred, was discovered or should have been discovered. The latest date allowed for the discovery of malpractice is four years from the date the negligent incident occurred.

People who have been harmed because of diagnostic errors, surgical errors, emergency room errors, medication errors or other instances of medical negligence should not delay consulting with an established Florida medical malpractice attorneyFlorida law requires a thorough presuit investigation as part of the mandatory notice of intent to initiate litigation, which must comply with specific requirements, including a review of the claim and a verified written medical expert opinion.