Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Kansas City
Holding Negligent Healthcare Providers Accountable
Did you recently leave the hospital with a different health problem than the one you were treated for? Did your doctor fail to make a correct diagnosis for your condition early on? Are your health care providers avoiding answering your questions about the bad outcome of your treatment?
If you experienced any of the above or some other issue with recent medical treatment, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. When patients are harmed by substandard care, legal representation is vital.
For nearly 30 years now, the attorneys at Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. have been holding negligent doctors, nurses, and medical professionals accountable for their actions. We are a well-respected and well-known law firm that excels in medical malpractice cases. We are also fortunate to have a highly dedicated and talented staff of paralegals and legal assistants to assist us in our work.
Ready to schedule a free consultation with our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers? Call us at (816) 484-3776 today.
How We Can Help
Medical malpractice can be carried out in so many different ways – that is why Dempsey & Kingsland takes on a wide variety of medical malpractice cases. Whether you suffered minor injuries or catastrophic side effects at the hand of a medical professional, we can help.
Our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys take on cases involving:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Brain injuries
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Catheter errors
- Dangerous medications
- Defective medical devices (including shoulder pain pumps)
- Diagnosis errors
- Doctor errors
- Duragesic/fentanyl pain patch overdose
- Emergency room errors
- Hospital errors
- Nursing home negligence
- Surgical negligence
- Pharmacy errors
- X-ray and radiology errors
- Vaccine litigation
Most medical malpractice cases settle out of court, and that is true of the cases that we accept at Dempsey & Kingsland. Our ability, experience, reputation, and dedication to excellence produce results. We can also provide you with the answers that you are seeking about the medical care that you or a loved one received.
The Definition of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, hospital or other healthcare provider fails to provide care that a reasonable and careful healthcare provider would be expected to provide under the same or similar circumstances. Medical malpractice (medical negligence) can occur in many different scenarios. In some cases, it is evident that a health care provider has caused injury by reason of substandard care. In other cases, the medical negligence that resulted in a poor outcome may not be so obvious. If you have experienced a poor outcome that was unexpected, there may be a basis for a case.
Proving Fault in a Medical Malpractice Case
In a medical malpractice case, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff who alleges substandard care on the part of a health care provider. The plaintiff must prove that the health care provider acted negligently so as to cause actual injury. Proving fault in a medical malpractice case often requires the assistance of an experienced attorney. Medical malpractice cases are often aggressively litigated as health care providers are never eager to admit negligence.
Proving fault in a medical malpractice case requires proof that the health care provider caused injury by failing to do that which a reasonable and careful health care provider should have done under the same circumstances.
In order to have a legitimate medical malpractice case, the following elements must be present:
- You must have a duty of care owed to you
- That duty must’ve been breached
- You were proximately harmed as a result of the breach of duty
The legal term “proximate cause” refers to whether you would’ve been harmed if your doctor hadn’t acted negligently. In essence, if you would’ve been injured regardless of the malpractice action, then you don’t have a viable claim.
Breach of Standard of Care
All health care practitioners, such as medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors and pharmacists are required to adhere to professional standards of care. If the health care provider fails to adhere to a reasonable and careful standard of care, he or she may be found to have been negligent. Although health care providers are not required to guarantee a satisfactory outcome in the care that they provide, they are required to perform their work such that it satisfies a normal and reasonable level of proficiency.
Proving negligence requires a showing of the following:
- Existence of Duty: The health care practitioner had a duty to the plaintiff (for example, a doctor/patient relationship).
- Breach of Duty: The health care practitioner failed to provide care that a careful practitioner of the same medical training would have provided under the same circumstances.
- Existence of Injury: The patient (the plaintiff) suffered injury or death.
- Causation of Injury: A causal connection exists between the health care professional’s breach of duty and the patient’s injury.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, followed closely by deaths resulting from cancer and heart disease. Medical malpractice also causes serious injuries to thousands of Americans each year. Below are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
#1: Misdiagnosis / Failure to Diagnose
Usually one of the first steps of medical treatment is finding a diagnosis. Doctors do make mistakes and can misdiagnose a problem, but that does not necessarily mean it is malpractice. There has to be harm done to the patient because of the misdiagnosis.
Additionally, there has to be a failure to live up to a basic standard of care. In other words, the doctor would have to handle the patient less competently than other doctors would have. This would include failure to run the correct tests, for example.
#2: Surgical Error or Unnecessary Surgery
Surgeries require precision and accuracy to be successful. Unfortunately, surgeons or their assistants make errors that injure patients. For instance, a medical tool is left inside the patient’s body, or the wrong kidney is taken out.
Sometimes, the mishandling of medical records can even cause surgery to be done on the completely wrong person. In cases like this, it is obvious to see how the surgical team’s negligence caused harm to the patient.
#3: Anesthesia Error
Anesthesia error goes along with surgery. Anesthesia, for those who aren’t familiar, are the drugs that stop a patient from feeling anything during their surgery. With these powerful drugs, the patient’s response to the anesthesia has to be monitored very closely. There have been cases where patients have died from an overdose of anesthesia. Some patients have not been given enough and woken up during surgery. It is the anesthesiologist’s job to ensure that these things do not happen. If they fail to do so, it may be medical malpractice.
#4: Birth Injury
Childbirth can lead to a number of complications. Both the mother and the child can suffer lifelong consequences and even death if things go wrong. If harm is caused to either patient by the incompetence of a doctor, then it may be medical malpractice. Examples include failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake or the mother’s blood loss.
#5: Environmental Error
Environmental errors are a rare form of medical malpractice, but they do happen. They occur when harm is caused by the environment of the hospital or medical facility. This could include things like unsanitary conditions causing an infection.
#6: Medical Product Liability
Doctors rely on medical devices and tools to help them administer treatments. If one of these products fails and causes damage to a patient, this is a type of medical malpractice. An example of this would be a vein stint that breaks off and causes damage to a patient’s heart. If the manufacturer had known or should have known about this defect, then they acted negligently and are liable to pay damages to victims.
#7: Failure to Treat
Hospitals can be crowded. Patients in emergency rooms have to wait hours for treatment at times. Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor is not properly staffed and patients are not able to be treated because of it. Other examples include releasing a patient before they should be released, not offering needed follow-up care, or refer the patient to the right specialist.
#8: Failure to Warn You of Known Hazards
Your doctor has a duty to warn you of the established risks of a procedure or treatment. This duty is referred to as the “duty of informed consent.” If your doctor decides not to warn you of the potential hazards associated with the recommended treatment, and as a result, you experience complications that you weren’t aware could be possible, you may have a case.
The Need for Experienced Attorneys
Medical malpractice attorneys should be well versed in the applicable law, and they should also have an in-depth understanding of the medicine at issue. Our attorneys have successfully resolved cases that involved many aspects of physician care and nursing care that patients received in and out of hospital settings. Our attorneys not only negotiate and, where necessary, try medical malpractice cases; they also lecture and publish articles on medical malpractice and trial practice. If a case involves medical negligence, we do not refer it to other attorneys or seek the help of other attorneys. We handle the case here with our staff from start to finish. In meritorious cases, we can achieve optimal results for you.