All patients place immense trust in their medical professional when they visit them for help identifying or treating a medical problem. With that trust comes a responsibility on the part of the medical staff members—from doctors and dentists to nurses and nurse’s assistants—to conduct themselves in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances. Medical patients cannot always expect perfection, because medical conditions always involve a certain level of risk. However, patients do have a right to expect that the professional will perform just as other reasonable medical employees would. When a doctor in our area fails to provide that level of care, then the victims need to consider filing a San Diego medical malpractice lawsuit.
Depending on the specific situation there are different rules that apply when it comes to California medical malpractice cases. Various legal doctrines exist that dictate when lawsuits have to be filed, where the case must be tried, and who can file a lawsuit (i.e. a parent on behalf of an injured child). Of course, understanding and identifying these issues in our area is a crucial role played by a San Diego medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer familiar with this area of the law should be able to listen to the facts of a new client’s situation and shortly thereafter develop a good understanding of the how the legal rules are applicable in that particular case.
The attorney can explain if there are any special doctrines that apply. For example, the “Feres Doctrine” is a well-known legal rule in the medical malpractice field which many observers find to be misguided. The 60-year old legal precedent holds that the U.S. government cannot be held liable for medical malpractice committed against an armed forces service member while on duty. If the doctrine is applicable in a specific case, an attorney should explain that to a potential client. However, it is also vital for the nuances of the rule to be understood which may allow victims to recover. In this case, while the Feres Doctrine bars suits from service members suing for medical negligence, military dependents are allowed to proceed with these suits. Therefore, when the husband or wife of a service member is harmed by the mistakes of a military medical employee they can file a civil suit and seek compensation for their losses.
That is exactly what happened in a case which was recently upheld by a state appellate court. The Stars and Stripes reported this week on the California medical malpractice case in which the wife of an Air Force Master Sergeant won a $7.5 million jury verdict after Air Force medical staff members failed to diagnose her herniated spinal disk. The victim had sought treatment for numbness in her spine and legs for several weeks at the air base clinic. However, the nurse and medical assistance failed to conduct even basic medical examinations which would have uncovered the problem. As a result of the delay she suffered permanent nerve damage.
All victims of poor medical care and their families should take the time to visit with legal professionals to share their story and learn about their options. Our San Diego medical malpractice attorney has worked with many victims in this area who were harmed because they did not receive the medical care to which they were entitled. By taking the time to visit our offices, all victims can feel confident that they at least took the time to learn about the choices in front of them before determining the appropriate next step in their situation.
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