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What is Medical Malpractice in Michigan?

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Doctors, nurses, and other medical care professionals are held to high standards of professionalism and competence. When they don’t meet these standards, significant physical and mental harm to the patient can result. This is especially true in cases when patients are at their most vulnerable, such as during surgeries or childbirth.

If you’ve suffered a negative outcome as the result of suspected medical malpractice, you need a top medical malpractice law firm on your side. Your new medical bills can be tens of thousands of dollars or more, and when you account for lost wages and pain and suffering, you could be eligible for much more.

Lawyers specializing in medical malpractice at our law firm can advise you on how to proceed with a claim. The bar for proving medical malpractice can be high, and your legal team may need to do an intensive investigation of your medical records in order to win.

Definition of Standard of Care

The standard of care varies between diagnoses and between individual cases. Doctors and nurses are trained on best practices for treating patients from various demographics, especially based on age and comorbidities. If a medical professional neglects these practices and harms the patient as a result, then he or she can be sued for malpractice or even stripped of licensure.

This also includes cases of inaction, such as failure to diagnose. Any doctor who does not diagnose a condition or order follow-up tests after having reason to believe the patient may have the condition can be found liable for not meeting the standard of care.

Severe malpractice cases may end up with multi-million dollar settlements because of how serious patient injuries can be when standards of care are not followed during surgery or childbirth. If the injured patient requires highly specialized medical care or multiple reconstructive surgeries, his or her family members could even be impacted.

Who can Commit Medical Malpractice?

Anyone who works in a medical setting and is tasked with patient care or interaction can commit medical errors that constitute malpractice. This includes physicians, nurses, and even technicians and orderlies. Naturally, some individuals have more responsibilities than others, and therefore can be held liable for much more.

Nurses may commit medical malpractice by providing the incorrect medication, failing to update paperwork, or failing to monitor patient vitals as assigned. X-ray technicians and other specialized support staff could fail to recognize an unusual scan or notify other staff of an urgent change in the patient’s condition.
In some cases, hospital administrators could even be defendants in a malpractice lawsuit. Only an experienced medical malpractice attorney can sort through who’s responsible for your injuries.

Questionable Laws and Practices

One example of a questionable medical practice that is still technically legal is a non-consensual pelvic or prostate exam that is performed while the patient is under anesthesia. Patients may wake up from unrelated surgeries with minor pain or discomfort and only discover upon questioning staff that they had been subjected to an unwanted exam.

Medical professionals are supposed to advocate for their patients, and if they use them as training dolls while unconscious to learn how to do pelvic exams, without explicit consent, it is a violation of the patient’s trust and dignity.

The practice is currently not outlawed in Michigan, although at least one bill has been introduced in the legislature to try to change that. The American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists condemned the practice, the latter stating if it is performed solely for teaching purposes explicit consent is required.

Although it is immoral and indefensible based on the basic principles of informed consent, it is still currently practiced at some teaching hospitals. You might have a medical malpractice case if the exam was performed at a non-teaching hospital or if the exam resulted in harm, but it can be a difficult case to win.

Negative Patient Outcomes

In other cases, the patient may be hospitalized in a stable condition or brought in for a routine procedure or surgery, but takes a turn for the worse with no clear explanation. Proving the chain of events that led up to the negative patient outcome can be difficult, and medical malpractice may be suspected.

Sometimes, poor outcomes are the result of complicating factors or unforeseen circumstances that a doctor cannot foresee, making the case ineligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Many times, though, a top-tier experienced medical malpractice lawyer can see through the situation and recognize the potential for medical malpractice to have occurred.

Hospitals and doctors will generally avoid disclosing mistakes to you, so your only option is to dig into your medical records and find them on your own. With all the jargon and technicalities in records, you need the help of an attorney, even if the actual malpractice is a simple failure to diagnose.

Getting the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice laws are complex, and attorneys must have specialized knowledge of how malpractice occurs to win your case. Attorneys must be up-to-date in all changes in laws applying both to medical malpractices cases and to physicians and hospitals in general.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, you need to choose the right team of expert attorneys with specialized knowledge in malpractice and personal injury cases. Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. knows all about health care best practices and how to seek justice when medical malpractice has been committed.

The statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases in Michigan is just two years from the date of the event, or six months from when the malpractice was discovered, whichever is later. If you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice in Michigan, call us at 866-MICH-LAW for a no-obligation case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Hannah Johnson has her Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs with a specialization in civic engagement. Her career has focused on labor-related research, including unions, workers' compensation, and contract law. She is now broadening her career to include research and policy analysis in East Asia, specifically in countries like South Korea and Japan where the aging population is creating a new frontier in economic trends and public policy innovation.



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