Cleveland is fortunate to serve as the base of operations for a number of nationally ranked hospitals. Unfortunately, medical negligence and errors can and do occur, even at prestigious medical organizations.Parents whose children have suffered serious injury or illness because of a doctor's or hospital’s mistake have a number of pressing concerns. Chief among those: Do I have the ability to take legal action? A medical malpractice claim or lawsuit may entitle your child to money to address ongoing medical needs and pain and suffering. Below is information to better help you understand your rights to compensation.
The Basic Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To seek compensation successfully in a medical malpractice action, you must be able to prove the basic elements of negligence as follows:
- Duty of care – The doctor or medical professional owed your child a standard duty of care, such as that owed from a treating pediatrician to a patient.
- Breach of duty – The doctor failed to adhere to the standard of care, which is a generally accepted level of care offered by other medical professionals in similar conditions.
- Causation – There must be a clear link between the doctor’s breach of duty and your child’s injury.
- Damages – You must prove your child and family suffered damages such as medical bills, illness/injury, and other financial and personal losses.
What are common types of medical errors that involve children?
Children and other young patients are susceptible to a number of medical errors and oversights. Some of the most common causes of child injury based on negligent pediatric care include:
- Medication errors (such as providing an adult dose for a child patient);
- Misfiled or incorrectly transcribed patient information;
- Delay/failure to order necessary lab testing;
- Vaccine errors (redundant vaccines, incorrect dosage and so on);
- Overlooking allergies (to drugs, latex and so on);
- Failure to provide patient with appointment or referral;
- Delayed office care;
- Testing or procedural errors; and
- Hospital-acquired infections.
How do medical errors occur, and who is liable?
A medical error can occur anywhere from the pediatrician’s office to the surgical table. Any number of medical professionals may fail to act with due diligence, resulting in a child patient’s injury. Among those who may be liable include:
- Treating physician;
- Physician's assistant;
- Office staff; and
Our office can conduct an investigation to identify all liable parties in a medical malpractice case and maximize the potential compensation in a claim.
What to Do if You Believe Pediatric Care Caused Your Child’s Injury
Time is of the essence in the case of a suspected medical error. Your initial steps should include:
- Requesting all of your child’s medical records (including lab or testing results and prescriptions);
- Requesting the names and contact information for anyone who played a role in your child’s care;
- Creating a timeline of events (include dates of care, communications with medical facilities, progression of your child’s condition);
- Seeking a second opinion; and
- Contacting a medical malpractice attorney.
Once you have the initial elements in place, you may move forward with filing a medical malpractice claim.
How do I file a medical malpractice claim in Ohio?
Provided you can establish the elements of negligence – outlined above – you must file your claim within Ohio’s statute of limitations. Ohio revised code 2305.113 generally provides you with one year in which to take action after a medical error. However, you may have as many as four years if the victim was a minor.
You have the option to seek a “derivative claim for relief.” These claims allow parents and guardians to seek damages on behalf of an injured child. Potential damages include:
- Loss of companionship and society;
- Cost of medical care; and
- Other expenses associated with the injury