The vast majority of doctors and nurses do tremendous work and care deeply about their patients. However, like any other profession, mistakes are made.
With more than 30 years of experience of investigating and prosecuting medical malpractice claims, the lawyers of Devereaux, Stokes, Fernandez & Leonard provide dependable and resourceful client service in cases of medical malpractice. Our experience with the litigation of misdiagnosis 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.
Because doctors can’t treat an unidentified or misidentified medical condition, any failure to diagnose the patient’s condition correctly and soon enough for effective treatment can result in disastrous consequences for the patient and the patient’s family.
Contact us in St. Louis to find out how our experience can help you or your loved ones.
What Is Medical Negligence
Medical negligence is a leading cause of avoidable death in the U.S. The legal definition of medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is when a healthcare practitioner, in providing care and treatment to a patient, deviates from what a reasonable health care practitioner with a similar background and training would do under similar circumstances.
A physician’s negligent failure to diagnose illness or injury can occur in a family practitioner’s examination room, a hospital emergency room, a radiology lab, an obstetrics ward, or a postoperative recovery unit.
How Do You Know If You Have A 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
- Performed unnecessary surgeries
- Committed medication errors
- Created avoidable infections or complications
Common Medical Errors
- Emergency Room Negligence
- Spinal Cord Impingement
- Anesthesia Errors
- Preeclampsia Complications
What is the time limit on medical negligence claims?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice varies by state. In Missouri, 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. Of course, there are exceptions that may give you more time which must be analyzed on a case by case basis.
Does Hyper-Specialization in Medicine and New Technology lead to a decrease in patient care?
Over the last generation, as medical technology and knowledge have increased, so has specialization in medicine. Not only do you see an oncologist for cancer, but also you might see a nuclear oncologist that has dedicated his or her entire career to dealing with the specific type of malignant cells you are dealing with. This type of hyper-specialization has allowed us to benefit from having doctors that have an incredible wealth of knowledge with a particular issue. The problem with such an approach is that each doctor seeing the patient is so focused on his or her limited area of expertise that no one steps back to look at the big picture. Unfortunately, with an increased reliance on new technologies and specialists who are hyper-focused on their limited area of expertise, we often see patients who fall through the cracks because no one is stepping back and looking at the big picture.
We have recovered damages against physicians, hospitals, medical technicians, and other healthcare professionals whose negligent approach to patient care resulted in the wrong diagnosis and a delay in treatment.
- 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.
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 2005, the state of Missouri enacted tort reform laws that make it more difficult for a victim of medical negligence to receive compensation. Since then the legislature has on several occasions enacted more laws restricting the rights of victims of medical negligence to get full compensation for their injuries. Although the current state of the law is no longer as favorable to plaintiffs and their families, we can still work toward realizing the maximum value of your claim insightful investigation of facts and thoroughly documenting proof of your actual physical and economic losses.
In the worst cases of surgical error or hospital negligence, where the victim 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 provider to that standard — and seek maximum compensation for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.