The Truth About the Impact of Medical Malpractice October 12, 2023.
Our Cleveland-based medical malpractice attorneys recognize the long-lasting impact medical malpractice has on patients and their families. Medical malpractice does not only affect the patient, it affects everyone in that person's life as well. The mental, physical, and financial challenges of medical malpractice are overwhelming and frustrating for everyone involved.
After medical malpractice occurs, patients have 1 year to file a case. To have a medical malpractice case the suing party needs to be able to prove three factors.
The three factors that need to be proved include:
- The healthcare professional did not provide a proper standard of care to the patient
- The injury occurred because of negligence by the healthcare professional
- The injury came with damages (these can include loss of income, pain, suffering, disability, and more)
The Physical Impact of Medical Malpractice
In medical malpractice cases, physical harm is done to the patient, which breaches the standard of care. The standard of care refers to the level of care a reasonable person would use under the same circumstances.
Common types of medical malpractice include:
- Birth injuries
- Surgical injuries
- Emergency room errors
- Leaving a foreign object inside the body
- Puncturing organs or arteries
- Wrong-site surgery, such as removing the wrong organ or amputating the wrong limb
- Causing nerve damage during the procedure
- Performing the wrong procedure
Medical malpractice could leave the patient disabled, seriously injured, or could even lead to death. The injured party's quality of life may greatly decline after the malpractice. According to the American Pain Foundation, 51.6 million adults live with chronic pain… 17.1 million [adults] live with chronic pain that restricts their ability to work or participate in daily activities. Simple activities they once loved to do like riding a bike or playing catch with their children could be stripped away from them. These “simple” activities that we take for granted are activities that many people wish they could do again without dealing with pain or physical restraints. When one’s physical abilities are taken away due to a negligent healthcare professional, this could affect their entire life.
The Mental Impact of Medical Malpractice
When someone goes to the doctor they expect the highest level of care, so if the doctor breaches the standard of care this could affect the patient mentally. After dealing with medical malpractice the injured person could be at risk for developing mental disorders like depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In a study, it was found that on average 65% of people who complain about having chronic pain are also diagnosed with depression. According to the CDC, depression is the leading cause of disability in people ranging in age from 15-44.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, occurs when someone goes through a traumatic and life-changing event. PTSD can greatly affect someone's life by:
- Making it hard to sleep
- Becoming irritable or easily angry
- Making it hard to concentrate
- Forming self-destructing behaviors, like heavy drinking or reckless driving
Anxiety is also a very common psychological response after experiencing medical malpractice. Many medical malpractice survivors develop an intense fear of healthcare providers or procedures due to the trauma.
Medical malpractice cases do not only affect the patient. A study done in 2007 by Tom Delbanco and Sigall K. Bell revealed that often patients and their families felt extreme guilt after medical malpractice. While it is not their fault that the medical malpractice occurred, many family members felt that they should have watched over their loved ones better.
The Financial Impact of Malpractice
As a result of medical malpractice, victims also endure financial burdens. Some victims may not be able to go back to work, while others just don’t have the money to afford the extensive medical bills. According to a 2018 study by the National Health Interview Survey, there was a "significant positive association between financial worries and psychological distress among adults in the United States”. In simpler terms, this means that financial worries cause mental stress, anxiety, etc.
The Overlap of Mental and Physical Health
Mental and physical health are very closely related. Studies have shown that in many instances someone's quality of life declines when they have chronic pain. They frequently encounter symptoms such as low energy, high stress, depression, and declining mental performance. The Mental Health Foundation states that having a physical health problem increases the risk for mental health problems, and vice versa. They also state that 1 in 3 people with a physical health condition experience mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. These survivors have to live every day in pain or with severe mental health disorders. Depending on what they experienced they may not feel “back to normal” for months or many people the trauma results in lifelong effects.
Seek Help From Our Experienced Attorneys
Medical malpractice cases are time-consuming and labor-intensive, so choose a firm that will put all of its resources into your case. Since we are a small firm we give each case the attention that it deserves. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting you the justice that you deserve.