In a landmark study by a Johns Hopkins medical research team, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Even when not fatal, the number of people and families affected by preventable medical errors is disheartening.
Some degree of risk comes with any medical procedure. However, adverse events caused by negligent or incompetent medical performance are not acceptable.
Standard of care and malpractice
A standard of care exists for actions performed by a medical provider in an elective procedure or emergency treatment. When medical practitioners do not follow approved treatment protocols or provide substandard care, the result can cause grave injury or death to patients. A case of medical malpractice against those who caused the problem may ensue.
For example, something as simple as medical providers failing to wash their hands before treating a new patient can spread pathogens. To prevent the spread of hospital-acquired MRSA or other diseases, the standard of care requires all hospital staff to wash their hands thoroughly before touching a patient.
Medical malpractice lawsuits
Professional medical personnel or facilities licensed to provide medical care in Georgia are legally responsible for malpractice. In 2009, a Georgia woman’s blood pressure became elevated after she gave birth at a hospital. Her doctors attempted to control her blood pressure with fluids, but they flooded her system, causing a heart attack with catastrophic brain damage.
Her family sued the hospital in 2017 and won a $46 million in a medical malpractice verdict. In 2019, the hospital tried to apportion fault among the woman’s doctors. However, in Trabue v. Atlanta Women’s Specialists, No. A18A1508, the Georgia Court of Appeals refused to change the original verdict.
Statute of limitations in Georgia
A patient in Georgia may suffer an adverse health event caused by medical malpractice that occurs days or even months after the original medical procedure. Georgia has specific laws that govern time limits on filing a lawsuit for injury or death resulting from a medical malpractice event. The law allows for two years to file from the time an individual’s health declined or death occurred and five years from the actual medical procedure date. Therefore, it is essential for the patient or a family member not to delay getting experienced help to file for medical malpractice.