Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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sleeping infant
Medical mistakes can cause injuries or death both to the old and to the young, but some of the most heartbreaking east Tennessee medical malpractice cases involve situations in which a doctor’s mistake causes a child to either die in utero or shortly after birth.

Obstetricians fight hard against a finding of liability in such cases, urging the jury to believe that they did everything they could under the circumstances. While this may be true in some situations, it is not always so. Ultimately, it is up to the jury to decide whether a mistake was made and, if so, the compensation to which a family is entitled as a result.

Facts of the Case

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exam table

An act of medical malpractice in Knoxville, Maryville, or another region of east Tennessee can cause devastating injuries and even a wrongful death. Unfortunately, Tennessee has one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the nation, giving grieving families just one year in which to assert a claim or else have their right to recover money damages barred by the statute of limitations.

While contacting a Tennessee wrongful death attorney may be a difficult and emotionally taxing step in recovering from the death of a family member, it is vitally important that this be done as soon as possible so that the attorney can have adequate time to investigate the matter, prepare the paperwork for the claim, and file the necessary documents before the statute of limitations runs.

Those who wait too long to hire an attorney may find themselves unable to find a qualified legal professional willing to put their name and reputation on the line when too little time is left to properly research a claim. This was exactly what happened to a widower who lost his wife to an alleged act of medical negligence. He had no choice but to file the claim pro se (although he was able to retain an attorney later). Unfortunately, the family spent the next 12 years arguing about whether this action complied with the statute of limitations.

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mother and baby
When a child’s life is catastrophically altered by a birth injury or brain injury just as his or her life is beginning, there is untold heartbreak for the family.

While money can never “fix” what went wrong, a fair settlement or judgment in a Tennessee medical malpractice case can help offset the considerable expenditures that the family will incur due the child’s injury or disability in the coming years. Unfortunately, medical providers often resist a finding of liability, urging juries to believe that these types of injuries “just happen sometimes” without it being anyone’s fault.

Facts of the Case

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doctor

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult to hold negligent medical providers legally liable for the harm that they cause. Among the reasons for this are the various procedural hurdles that have been put in place for those who file malpractice claims.

Failing to comply with these procedural requirements can result in the dismissal of a plaintiff’s otherwise valid claim for medical negligence.

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pregnant belly

Medical negligence can leave victims with permanent injuries and, in some cases, even result in a wrongful death.

In a recent case, both a mother and her newborn child were seriously injured due to the alleged negligence of a doctor and others during the child’s birth.

Unfortunately, their claims were not filed within the applicable statute of limitations period (which is quite short in Tennessee) due to their alleged disabilities, and the court of appeals was asked to consider whether their cases met one of the small handful of exceptions to the general rule requiring the dismissal of untimely lawsuits.

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hospital bedSeptic shock is a very dangerous, potentially life-threatening medical condition that can occur when the body attempts to fight a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Possible complications from septic shock include heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, liver failure, or respiratory failure.

Although septic shock can be fatal, a patient’s prognosis is better if the condition is promptly diagnosed and properly treated. Time is of the essence, and any delay can hurt a patient’s chances of recovery.

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ambulanceIn Tennessee, there are certain procedural hurdles that must be addressed in filing a cause of action under the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act.

Failing to comply with these requirements can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim against an allegedly negligent health care provider.

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service of processFiling a lawsuit for medical malpractice or another act of negligence can be fraught with potential procedural pitfalls:  missing a statute of limitations, naming the wrong party as a defendant, or – as happened in a recent case – an allegation that the person who accepted service of process on the defendant was unauthorized to do so.

In some instances, a procedural misstep can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim against a defendant purely on technical grounds. However, the plaintiffs in one case were determined to have their day in court, filing a second lawsuit against the allegedly unauthorized person who accepted service of process, causing their malpractice case to be dismissed as to a certain doctor.

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woman's shoulderUnder Tennessee law, the plaintiff in a negligence lawsuit must prove four elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. If the negligence action sounds in medical malpractice, the plaintiff is required to provide expert testimony as to the standard of care (duty) element. Purportedly, this is to aid the jury in determining complex issues with which they may not be familiar.

A failure to provide expert testimony usually results in the dismissal of a medical malpractice plaintiff’s claim, except in the most obvious of cases (such as a medical instrument left inside the patient’s body).

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heartbeat morguefile PrawnyIn Igou v. Vanderbilt University, a man filed a medical care liability action against a Tennessee hospital over the injury he allegedly sustained as a result of a surgical procedure that was performed at the facility.  According to the man, he was rendered impotent as a result of his surgeon’s error.  Prior to filing his case, the man provided the hospital with notice of his claim in accordance with Section 29-26-121 of the Tennessee Code.  When the man formally filed his complaint, he provided the court with a certificate of good faith under Section 29-26-122.  In addition, the man’s wife filed a loss of consortium claim.  She did not provide notice of her claim under the requirements enumerated in the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (“THCLA”).

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