When we drive our cars, we’re expected to obey the rules of the road to assure the safety of others. It’s just plain common sense.
So what about when doctors treat patients? Are the rules any different? Not really. Consider the 2500 yr. old Hippocratic Oath that doctors swear to honor when they first wear their white coats:
“I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment, and never do harm to anyone.”
In other words: First, do no harm. It’s just plain common sense, and it’s fair to say that all the other rules of medical care that guide good doctors today are designed to preserve, protect, and defend the first and foremost rule of good medicine. Safety first.
Unfortunately, modern day medicine is a complicated business, and as every savvy defense lawyer is quick to suggest – “The devil is in the details.” True enough, but all the more reason why you and I should not be distracted by medical details we just don’t understand, take a few steps back, and look at the big picture with fundamental common sense foremost on our minds. First, do no harm.
If we keep this rule in mind, and let it serve as the litmus test against everything else the doctors and lawyers and other experts tell us, it will help us cut through what’s complicated, and come out on the side where the truth resides.
Clients sometimes call with cases in which the negligence of the doctor is crystal clear, but the harm caused by the negligence is not.
In some cases, the harm to the patient was already present when he walked through the doctor’s door.
In others, the harm to the patient may have increased after seeing the doctor, but proving that the doctor’s conduct was responsible for the increase, as opposed to a natural progression in the patient’s pre-existing condition or disease, is just not legally possible.
Finally, there are cases where the conduct of the patient has made his condition worse, despite the best efforts of the doctor.
If a clear connection between the patient’s harm and the doctor’s malpractice can been made , there remains the question of measuring that harm in terms of monetary compensation. In legal speak, what are the damages?
Damages are measured by the nature, extent, and duration of the harm caused to the patient by the doctor’s negligence, together with the pain, suffering, disability, and financial loss resulting from that harm.
Except for financial loss, which can be measured by economists using mathematical formulas, damages in medical malpractice cases are largely unliquidated, meaning they depend on a jury’s common sense of what is fair and reasonable, and cannot be simply measured with already known quantities. In other words, there is no book to which jurors can look to tell them what surgical scarring or a missing kidney may worth. Each patient’s case contains its own unique set of facts and circumstances, and only when there’s a sound connection between clear cut negligence and serious harm will a seasoned attorney consider the vigorous prosecution of that case to a just conclusion.
With the health of each patient always at stake, the practice of medicine is a high-risk business requiring exceptional care and skill. Unfortunately, even the best doctors sometimes make mistakes. In fact, there are so many different ways in which one careless act by a well-meaning medical provider can cause a patient serious harm that its just not practical to list all those ways in one place.
That said, some of the more common kinds of medical malpractice cases in New Jersey include birth injuries arising from ob/gyn malpractice, missed opportunities for early diagnosis and treatment of injury and disease due to emergency room malpractice, unacceptable outcomes arising from anesthesia accidents and surgical malpractice,cancer diagnosis malpractice which permits benign tumors to metastasize and spread, and prescription medication mistakes causing serious injury, permanent disability, and wrongful death.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers NJ
If you or someone you love has been harmed by the negligence of a New Jersey doctor, hospital, or other medical provider, please contact Medical Malpractice Lawyers NJ Patrick Amoresano for a free consultation.