The vast majority of doctors and nurses do tremendous work and care deeply about their patients. However, like any other profession, mistakes can happen.
With more than 30 years of experience investigating and prosecuting medical malpractice claims, the lawyers at Devereaux, Stokes, Fernandez & Leonard provide dependable and resourceful client service in cases of medical malpractice.
There are many different types of medical malpractice cases each with its own unique challenges. It can involve a failure to recognize or diagnose a condition, which can have disastrous consequences to the patient. It can also involve surgical or anesthesia errors, failure to monitor a patient or perform adequate follow-up, or not ordering the right tests.
Over the last few decades, our attorneys have witnessed an enormous shift in how medicine is practiced in this country. There has been a hyper specialization in medicine where a patient in a hospital sees a variety of specialists, each focused on their own area of expertise. One of the dangers of hyper specialization is that all too often no one is stepping back and looking at the big picture. We have also seen large insurance companies exert an inordinate amount of power in how medicine is practiced and unduly influence medical decision making. This can lead to care that falls far short of what a patient may need.
Our experience with the litigation of medical negligence cases can help ensure that your case will be resolved on the basis of all of the evidence – not just the documents that the defendant’s malpractice insurer wants you to see.
Contact us to find out how our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help you or your loved one seek justice.
How Do You Know If You Have A Medical Malpractice Case?
You might have a medical malpractice if a medical professional did any of the following:
- Failed to timely diagnose a condition or diagnosed a condition improperly
- Failed to appropriately treat a condition
- Made an error during surgery or the administration of anesthesia
- Failed to order appropriate tests or follow up
- Failed to correctly interpret and act on the tests and film studies that were performed.
- Committed medication errors
- Created avoidable infections or complications
Common Medical Errors
- Emergency Room Negligence
- Failure to perform a timely C-Section with an infant in distress
- Failure to act on a Spinal Cord Impingement
- Anesthesia Errors
- Failure to recognize complications or infections.
- Birth injuries
If any of these scenarios occurred, contact our team of malpractice lawyers to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Medical Negligence?
The legal definition of medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is when a healthcare practitioner, in providing care and treatment to a patient, deviates from the standard of care, which is what a reasonable health care practitioner with a similar background and training would do under similar circumstances. Medical negligence is a leading cause of avoidable death in the U.S.
It is important to understand that the standard of care for a physician is not what would the best doctor do – or even what would a very good doctor do. The bar for a plaintiff is much higher: They must prove that no reasonable doctor would have done what this doctor did. It is important to understand that a bad outcome does not necessarily mean there was negligence. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor does something, or fails to do something they should have done, that any reasonable doctor in their position would have done.
A physician’s negligent failure to diagnose an illness or injury can occur in a family practitioner’s examination room, a hospital emergency room, a radiology lab, an obstetrics ward, the ICU or a postoperative recovery unit.
What is the time limit on medical negligence claims?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice varies by state. In Missouri, the law is as follows:
- An injured patient has two years after the medical error occurs to bring a case.
- If the medical negligence resulted in the death of the patient, you have three years from the date of death to file.
- If the case involves leaving a foreign object in the body then you have two years from when you know or should know this happened.
- If the case involves negligently failing to inform the patient of the results of medical tests, then you have two years from when you know or should have known of this failure to inform.
- If you are a minor, you have two years from your 18th birthday to file.
Of course, there are exceptions that may give you more time which must be analyzed on a case by case basis.
How We’ve Helped Our Clients
Our medical malpractice attorneys have recovered damages against physicians, hospitals, medical technicians, and other healthcare professionals whose negligent approach to patient care resulted in the wrong diagnosis, a delay in treatment or injuries and damages that could have been avoided.
Callahan v. Cardinal Glennon Hospital – $16 million settlement
A medical malpractice claim involving a young baby who suffered leg paralysis following a failure to correctly treat a rectal abscess. A jury awarded $16 million in damages against the defendants, which was affirmed on appeal by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Joe Doe vs. Hospital – $7 million settlement
Our team filed a medical negligence lawsuit on behalf of a teenage boy who suffered extensive brain damage following a failure to diagnose and treat a pulmonary embolism. The case went to trial and settled just prior to closing arguments for over $7 million.
Matthew Scott v. SSM Healthcare – $5 million settlement
Our team represented a young man who visited the emergency room with symptoms of a serious brain infection, which we alleged the treating doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat. After a nearly two-week trial, the jury ruled in favor of our clients and awarded nearly $5 million in damages. This case was appealed all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court and resulted in a historic decision in our favor that changed the law in Missouri with respect to how much money a plaintiff could receive in damages from a defendant in similar cases. The case continues to be widely cited by courts and scholarly publications throughout the country.
Jim Doe vs. Health Care Providers – $3 Million Dollar Settlement
Our client suffered a spinal cord injury and complete paralysis after his doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat a growing spinal infection and abscess. The case was settled for $3 million.
John Doe vs. Health Care Facility $1.2 million settlement
Our client was a retired gentleman who suffered a brain injury following a failure to recognize and treat a developing stroke in an emergency room setting. The case settled for $1.2 million
Lorna Bottger vs. Cheek – $800,000 settlement
This medical malpractice case involved an 84-year-old woman who suffered loss of sight in one eye as a result of a failure to timely recognize and treat an eye infection. A jury awarded her $800,000 in damages. The judgment was reversed on an appeal and settled thereafter immediately prior to a retrial.
What Our Clients Are Saying
Gonzalo Fernandez did a great job of representing our son in a complex medical malpractice case. His case lasted over two years and during the entire time Gonz kept us informed and updated. The tireless work that Gonz and his firm did provide a future for our son and relief to the entire family emotionally and financially. We would highly recommend Gonz and his law firm to anyone needing professional legal representation in the complicated world of medicine.
Let Us Work For You
In the worst cases of negligence – where the victim has suffered brain damage or an injury to their spinal cord and faces a lifetime of disability and continuing treatment or rehabilitative needs – we achieve outstanding results for our clients through our ability to document specific long-term consequences and expenses, even under the current law.
We expect high standards of care from doctors and medical providers. We will hold the medical providers to that standard — and seek maximum compensation for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.