What Constitutes Malpractice?
The Michigan Patient Bill of Rights
Victim Rights in Michigan
What Victims Need to Know
Nuts and Bolts . . .

Medical Mistakes Are More Deadly Than Auto Accidents But Victims Often Lose Out on Rights
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Medical professionals kill far more people each year because of mistakes than the number killed in automobile crashes. The American Institute of Medicine reports that medical errors kill up to 95,000 people per year. Doctor prescription errors injure more than 1.3 million persons annually.

Wrongful deaths caused by cancer misdiagnosis are on the rise despite advances made breast cancer screening. The average intensive care unit patient experiences almost two errors per day, many serious or fatal. If these same medical negligence levels were applied to airlines, it would equal two bad landings a day! Medical malpractice also can cause disability, disfigurement, paralysis, amputation, brain injury, or birth trauma.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that the number of new medical malpractice claims actually declined by about four percent from 1995 to 2000? Has your doctor told you that medical malpractice insurance rates have risen by less than half the increase in total medical costs since 1987? The Consumer Federation of America points out that insurance companies are raising rates because of poor returns on investments, not because of increased litigation or jury awards.

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You should not be concerned about your legitimate lawsuit driving up malpractice premiums or driving your doctor out of business. You should think about the findings of Harvard researchers that only one malpractice claim is made for every eight hospital injuries. For every medical error reported, 50 go unreported. And the Physician Insurer Association of America admits that malpractice plaintiffs drop 10 times more claims than they pursue. You do not want to be kind to bad doctors.

If you believe you might be a victim of medical malpractice, Cochran & Foley wants you to seek the justice you deserve. If you don't, doctors are given a green light to careless doctors to continue causing unnecessary pain, suffering, disfigurement, permanent disability and death for thousands of people like yourself.

What Constitutes Malpractice?
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Medical mistakes range from prescribing a drug that is harmful, ignoring warnings on medications, performing surgery on the wrong patient or on the wrong limb.

Among the examples of medical malpractice are:

  • Failure to make timely diagnoses which results in injury or illness
  • Failure to properly treat
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Birth injuries
  • Improper prescription of drugs
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Surgical error
  • Failure of a nurse to share important information with the physician

Malpractice occurs whenever a medical professional fails to properly treat a patient and that improper treatment results in harm to the patient. Additional harm is required because your physician cannot be held responsible for your original health problem.

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The Michigan Patient Bill of Rights
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Because of the Michigan Patient Bill of Rights, every Michigan resident should receive certain information in writing, such as: an estimate of the cost of services; what is included in your medical insurance policy; who to call to make a complaint; how emergencies will be covered; what happens if your family doctor is not a participating physician in the plan; or why happens if you need treatment out of state.

If your health insurance requires that your physician be on an approved list of providers than you have the right to request: information about services that need advance approval; information about the physician's qualifications; information about how services are paid for; and, information on prescription coverage.

The Patient's Bill of Rights also prevents a doctor from agreeing not to inform patients of medical rights or choices. And the bill does guarantee coverage for emergency treatment that is needed, although insurance companies and healthcare providers may disagree about what constitutes an emergency.

When disagreements do occur about coverage an appeal may be made. The law spells out the steps that must be followed in appeal process.

Victim Rights in Michigan
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In Michigan the victim of medical malpractice has the right to bring legal action against a doctor or hospital. A patient in Michigan also has the right to obtain a copy of personal medical records. A medical malpractice claim must be filed within two years of the occurrence or within six months when the negligent act was discovered. It is important to seek legal help so that claims are filed in a timely manner.

Michigan malpractice law is among the most complex of all personal injury law, especially in regards to the statue of limitations. Sometimes more a longer time to file a claim is granted to persons in military service, mentally disabled persons, or minors.

Proving a medical error was caused by negligence can be very complex, in Michigan and elsewhere. Studies have established that persons represented by an attorney recover far more in damages than a person who represents themselves.

You lawsuit can lead to remedial action, a result that is not being produced by the medical profession or government oversight agencies. Less than one-half of one percent of the nation's doctors face any serious state sanctions each year. In 1999 all state medical boards in the U.S. recorded a total of 2,696 total serious disciplinary actions -- a pittance compared to the volume of injury and death of patients caused by physician negligence.

What Victims Need to Know
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What do you need to know about malpractice? Medical malpractice is simply a health care provider not doing what they are supposed to do, or doing what they are not supposed to do. The term indicates ordinary negligence - medical negligence by a health care provider that causes an injury.

Good medical care requires a proper response. The standard of care is constantly improving and what was appropriate, acceptable or commonly done in the past may not be so now. When a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of acceptable medical care and acts negligently, any resulting injuries could be the basis for a medical malpractice claim.

For you to win a monetary award, your attorney must prove these elements: a doctor- patient relationship existed; the provider must breach the duty to meet the standard of care; the breach in the standard of care caused the injury; and, there was a significant injury or damage to the patient.

If you decide to hold negligent hospitals and doctors accountable for mistakes made, you have taken a stop to help curb medical malpractice. You certainly have the right to file a lawsuit against any hospital, doctor or other healthcare professional whenever it is believed malpractice may have occurred.

If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, let Cochran, Foley & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made. Click here for a free consultation or call 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley.

The Law Offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.

Click here for more technical legal information about medical malpractice.

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