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The high personal and financial costs associated with medical mistakes

Medical doctors are among the most respected and trusted of all professionals. Every year, millions of Americans seek medical advice and entrust their health and very lives to doctors who they rely upon to provide a correct diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Unfortunately, while doctors are highly educated and trained, they are not infallible and this fact is evidenced by the estimated 210,000 to 440,000 patients in the U.S. who die annually due to medical mistakes.

From a surgeon who operates on the wrong leg or leaves a sponge inside a patient's body to a doctor who fails to detect a cancerous lump or recognize symptoms that a patient suffered a heart attack; medical mistakes exact physical, financial and emotional tolls that are often difficult to quantify.

In cases where you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of a medical mistake, it's wise to turn to an attorney for advice and assistance. For example, say you experienced health problems due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis or that you received an incorrect diagnosis and underwent unnecessary treatments. The physical, mental, emotional and financial costs can be significant and you may be able to take legal action to recover damages.

It’s important to note, however, that despite what may appear to be glaring and obvious errors and acts of negligence, medical malpractice cases can be complex and difficult to win. In order to triumph in a case, a plaintiff must be able to prove that a doctor failed to act in a manner that is consistence with how "a reasonable prudent doctor" who was "under similar circumstances" would have acted. Additionally, a plaintiff must unequivocally show that a medical mistake directly resulted in harm or injury.

For these reasons, it’s critical to hire an attorney who is well-versed in and has successfully handled medical malpractice cases.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment,” Jan. 20, 2016

NPR.org, “How Many Die From Medical Mistakes In U.S. Hospitals?,” Marshall Alan, Sept. 24, 2013

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