In Michigan and all other jurisdictions, one basic principle in the practice of medicine is that the physician is supposed to try less invasive procedures prior to resorting to more complex or risky treatment or surgical options. When that protocol is not followed, and the patient suffers injury, the doctor's competence may be questioned and doctor negligence may be inferred. If an invasive and risky procedure ends in a debacle where the patient is declared brain-dead, the doctor's strategy will be questioned even more aggressively.
The V.A. hospitals throughout the country do a valiant job in caring for great numbers of veterans who have nowhere else to turn for medical attention. Unfortunately, these institutions are overworked and understaffed. They tend to get doctors just starting in their careers. The money and opportunities clearly exist elsewhere, and so the revolving doors are always turning in a V.A. hospital's staff of medical providers. In Michigan and everywhere else, this can result cases of medical malpractice, as indicated by the statistics on malpractice awards and settlements at these institutions.
Sometimes lawyers on opposing sides enter into agreements prior to trial that are designed to minimize the potential negative economic effects that the trial could bring. One group of defense lawyers in a medical malpractice case did pretty well for themselves by limiting the plaintiff's recovery to $5 million in a high-low agreement. Such agreements are sometimes used in Michigan in various litigation matters.
There's a federal and state rule that allows a physician in an emergency room a higher degree of negligence before he or she can be liable for faulty treatment of a patient. This is intended to cut down on malpractice claims involving emergency room services. The rule essentially says that a claim for medical malpractice arising out of emergency room treatment cannot be established that the medical providers were grossly negligent without evidence found to be clear and convincing. In Michigan and other states, gross negligence describes a reckless disregard of the reasonable care to which a patient is entitled.
They say that the best defense is a good offense. In Michigan and elsewhere, that premise would be particularly helpful if the chosen offense is based on the truth. This report concerns the running dispute between professional baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball. The home run leader just recently filed a lawsuit against the Yankees' team doctor and a hospital where an MRI was performed. He claims medical malpractice against the defendants in that they allegedly engaged in a misdiagnosis of his left hip injury.
After a patient dies or is seriously injured from a doctor's errors, the offending doctor is often the only person to deny the mistakes that created the mishap. Surprisingly, doctors tend to cling to a mistaken diagnosis, despite overwhelming evidence and large jury verdicts against them. In one case in a state other than Michigan a misdiagnosis by a doctor caused the death of a six-year-old girl to the ravages of type 1 diabetes.
One of the most active areas of medical negligence is that of birth injuries. Numerous issues can arise in childbirth cases, which can result in a finding of medical malpractice. The general negligence principles are similar from state-to-state. The case reported on is from another state but could have the same result here in Michigan. An out-of-court settlement in the amount of $9 million was agreed upon by the parents of a brain-damaged daughter and the university medical center where the delivery took place.
All doctors will make mistakes during their careers because, for one thing, they're human. Unfortunately, a landmark study by the Institute of Medicine published in 2000 demonstrated that medical errors and medical malpractice in the United States, including of course Michigan, resulted in about 75,000 unnecessary deaths and more than a million injuries each year. An article by a medical doctor in the Huffington Post concludes that health care personnel should handle their mistakes in an ethical way that allows for the best patient outcomes.
There are several warning signs in childbirth deliveries that obstetricians must recognize. One of those deals with when to continue a natural delivery and when to switch to a cesarean section instead. In a locality outside of Michigan, a jury recently award $4 million to a mother and daughter in a medical malpractice case for an obstetrician's failure to use a cesarean delivery where certain warning signs were present.
A jury verdict should not lightly be negated by a post-trial decision of the trial judge except under exceptional circumstances. This is generally true in Michigan as well as other states. In one medical malpractice case in another state, a jury awarded more than $6 million to the parents of a two-month old son who died in the emergency room of a medical center. The jury verdict called for $3 million to be paid by the doctor and $3.2 million by the medical center.