New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Who Fight For Patients
In September 2013, a study published in The Journal of Patient Safety estimated that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year that go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. According to those statistics, hospital medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.
Medical negligence law is designed to protect a patient’s right to safe medical care by permitting recovery of monetary compensation for harm caused as a result of sub-standard medical care. Medical negligence cases require intensive case evaluation to determine whether a patient’s claim has merit.
Under New Jersey law, a patient who wants to sue a medical professional or licensed facility must provide an Affidavit that a case has merit from a like-licensed professional in order to avoid dismissal of the claim. When you come to our office to discuss a potential case, you will meet with Tom Shebell and Christian Mastondrea.
If our investigation shows that there is a legitimate basis to proceed with a claim, we will then obtain your medical records and any medical scans. In the event we conclude that there is probable merit to your case, we will refer your records for evaluation by the appropriate medical expert to determine whether your medical professional’s care fell below accepted standards in that professional’s field.
If we receive a medical expert’s sworn conclusion, called an Affidavit of Merit, that shows that you or a loved one suffered harm through medical neglect, we will proceed with a case that thoughtfully advocates the patient’s position to the defendant’s insurance company, and many times, to a jury. If you need an effective personal injury law firm to help you through tough times, contact Shebell & Shebell, LLC.
Some frequently seen examples of medical negligence we handle include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Unsterile hospital conditions, resulting in infections
- Incorrect dosage of medication
- Improperly administered care
- Negligent nursing treatment
- Inadequate staffing
- Dental malpractice
- Equipment failure
- Failure to properly monitor vital signs
- Delay in diagnosis and or treatment
- Incorrect or misdiagnosis
- Operating room errors
- Emergency room (E.R.) errors
- Obstetrical & Gynecological (OB-GYN) errors
- Medical testing or radiology errors
- Wrongful death
Understanding Medical Negligence
Health care professionals are obligated to meet or exceed the applicable “standard of care.” The standard of care is generally defined as the level of competence that a physician or other licensed health care professional of average skill and ability practicing in the same specialty field would use when caring for a patient. When a treatment provider deviates, or falls below the standard of care by providing inadequate treatment, a misdiagnosis, or makes an inappropriate medical decision or surgical error, a patient can suffer from long-term health problems or death.
In order to prevail on a claim for medical malpractice, a patient must generally prove:
- The medical provider’s care fell below the appropriate standard of care
- The patient suffered a new, different, or worsening of his condition or injury
- The medical professional’s conduct is a substantial factor in causing or contributing to the injury or condition
In addition, treatment providers are required to obtain a patient’s informed consent for all medical procedures. If a patient is not told about the potential risks and complications involved with a certain procedure, enough so that the patient can make an informed and educated decision, a patient may have a valid claim for medical negligence or battery. This policy is critical to patient’s rights so that the patient fully understands knows of the risks so that they can make an informed decision to undergo the procedure in the first place.
Although doctors and political lobbyists acting on their behalf routinely repeat the myth that medical malpractice insurance premiums are forcing doctors on a mass exodus out of New Jersey, the reality is that the total cost of medical errors, including additional care, prescription drug services, and disability payments is as high as $1 Trillion annually in the U.S.
What is a “Never Event”?
A "Never Event" is a type of medical error or adverse event that is considered preventable and should never occur in a healthcare setting. These events are considered to be serious and result in significant harm to the patient. Examples of Never Events include:
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient
- Performing the wrong procedure on a patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
- Using contaminated drugs or devices
- Using a medical device for something other than its intended purpose
- Leaving a foreign object inside a patient after surgery
- Giving a patient the wrong medication or dosage
These types of events are considered to be preventable through the implementation of proper protocols and procedures. They are often used as a measure of the quality and safety of a healthcare facility.
Due to the catastrophic and preventable nature of Never Events, health care organizations are under pressure to eliminate them completely. To this end, Medicare announced in 2007 that they would no longer cover additional costs associated with such events, and other private insurers and states have followed suit. Since 2009, CMS has not paid for any wrong-site surgeries. Additionally, public reporting of these events has been implemented with the goal of increasing accountability and improving quality of care. In many states, health care facilities are responsible for finding out the root cause of these events and taking corrective action when needed.
Why You Need A Medical Malpractice Attorney
Unfortunately, medical providers often do not disclose medical errors or neglect that have injured you. If you suffer adverse consequences while undergoing medical treatment, your doctors might tell you that they did their best, or that your injury was a “complication of the procedure” or was “unavoidable.” Although complications may occur that are inherent in a surgical procedure, you should get an opinion from a lawyer who is experienced in this area of law and who can advise you of your legal options.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The medical negligence lawyers at Shebell & Shebell, LLC have years of collective experience in successfully representing patients injured from medical neglect. To learn more, contact us today. Our offices are located in Shrewsbury and Newark.