Since the mid-1990’s, studies have shown that the number of patients treated within the United States that die each year due to preventable medical errors is approximately 100,000 people. These figures have greatly increased over the past twenty years. In 2010, the United States Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services stated 180,000 Medicaid recipients die each year from hospital mistakes (thats 15,000 each month). The Inspector General’s report also found that hospitals do not document or report most patient harm. In another report from the Inspector General, it was found that 27% of all Medicare patients experience events causing temporary or permanent harm due to medical or surgical errors. That is nearly one-third of all Medicare patients receiving treatment that experience an adverse event.
Despite these staggering statistical figures, less than ten percent of injured patients ever file a claim for compensation, and only two percent file a lawsuit. The reasons for this failure or oversight are numerous. Often patients and their families are too traumatized to report the error or to be concerned about other patients being treated at the same facility and doctors. Other reasons are that the patient and their families have no idea where to turn or who to report these errors. Families often attempt to obtain information and answers from the hospital, but hit a brick wall once they get too close to real answers. Many times the reputation of the institution outweighs the interests of the individual patient.
It is at this point that a medical malpractice and wrongful death attorney can be of great help to the family. A medical malpractice attorney can assist the family determine the causes that led to the death of their loved one. Obtaining medical records has become a burdensome task that requires commitment and knowledge of where the appropriate records are held. The use of electronic records has complicated this task. Ryan, LLP has extensive experience obtaining and reviewing medical records to determine whether you or your family have a viable medical malpractice claim. We routinely assist families and their loved ones by sorting out the information that is relevant to the treatment and care that was provided.
If it is determined during the pre-litigation investigation that there is a potential medical malpractice or wrongful death claim, Ryan, LLP can assist the indiviaual or family to seek compensation for their loss. In Ohio, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within one year from the date the medical care was provided. However, wrongful death claims can be filed two years from the time of the death. So, the survival claims (for example the medical malpractice claim) must be filed within one year, but the wrongful death claims must be filed within two years. There are other potential pitfalls that can complicate the appropriate statute of limitations, depending on the relationship between the medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. The practical importance is to file the claim within one year to ensure all available remedies are presented to the court . However, you should discuss the particular facts of your case with an attorney licensed in Ohio to determine the appropriate time limitation periods.
Prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the records must be reviewed by a licensed medical doctor and he/she must provide an affidavit of merit. The affidavit of merit must state that one or more of the defendants failed the patient and provided medical care below the minimum standard of care. Ryan, LLP works with an extensive and proprietary list of medical malpractice experts that have assisted our firm in prior successful medical malpractice lawsuits. Our network of medical professionals have reviewed thousands of potential cases and have a long history of successfully identifying those cases that constitute medical malpractice.
If you are suspicious of an injury or a death that occurred to you, a family member, or another loved one, contact our law firm to discuss the merits of your case. The initial consultations are free. Some cases require payment for expert review of the case. Call or email us today to begin discussing your case and to begin a thorough investigation of your medical malpractice claim.
About the author of this article: Thomas Ryan