Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is medical negligence. When we us the term “negligence” in everyday conversation, we generally mean that someone was careless, sloppy, or inattentive. It could also suggest that an individual did something that they were not supposed to do, or that they to do something they should have done. Legally, negligence is a bit more complicated than that; negligence is not just bad care, but bad care that causes harm. In the medical malpractice arena, we call it substandard care, and the issue of causation of harm is the difference between Webster’s definition of the term and actionable medical negligence.

A physician might overlook an obvious abnormal lesion on your skin that later turns out to be melanoma. Certainly not good care, but is it negligence? It depends on what happens next. If a significant period of time goes by, months or years, before the abnormal area is biopsied and the cancer diagnosed, that may well be medical malpractice because it may be said that the physician’s substandard care caused harm – the worsening of your prognosis. If, on the other hand, you aren’t satisfied with that physician’s approach and within a short period of time, you go to another who takes proper steps to diagnose the condition, then in all probability, the first physician’s substandard care will not have caused any harm, as it is unlikely that a short delay in diagnosis will have any impact at all on your condition or prognosis.

The Difference Between Bad Care and Negligent Care

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured by a healthcare provider’s substandard care, it is important for you to consult with an expert. Here at Keches Law Group, our medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case to determine whether or not negligence has occurred, and by whom. For example, you may come to us saying that a Nurse Practitioner did not send you to a surgeon for evaluation or biopsy of a new breast lump—and now you have cancer. You may think that the delay in diagnosis of your breast cancer was too brief and might be without consequence. However, in order to know whether or not you have a case, a careful review of your story—what you know and what is contained in your medical records—is necessary. It may be that at an earlier exam your gynecologist noted the same lump, but failed to tell you about it. Or, if you have been having regular mammograms, perhaps one or more of them showed an abnormality that the radiologist overlooked. While you may or may not have a case against the Nurse Practitioner, you may well have a case against the gynecologist and/or the radiologist. In our medical malpractice department, we do only one thing—evaluate and prosecute medical malpractice cases for patients. Our staff is able to read your records with understanding. The head of the medical malpractice department at Keches Law Group worked as a nurse in Boston teaching hospitals for 20 years; she has now been successfully prosecuting medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for 20 years.

Expert Witnesses

In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, medical malpractice claims must be supported by expert witnesses. A qualified expert must testify that the defendant (the person sued for malpractice) rendered substandard care that caused harm to the plaintiff (the injured person who brings the suit). First, we review your story and your records. Then, we discuss your case with appropriate medical experts. When we find medical malpractice, we proceed with litigation of your case. If we find that there is no issue of malpractice, we explain to you the steps that we have taken and the reason that we cannot take on your case, and we return your medical records to you.

Time Limitations

In cases of medical malpractice, there are time limits; the rules are different in each state. The statute of limitations in Massachusetts is three years, and it is just one of many time-limiting rules. However, the statute of limitations for your case may be extended if you did not discover that you were injured by negligence until after the three year limit. Time limits for cases involving children younger than six (6) years old are different in medical malpractice cases than in other types of cases, and different in Massachusetts than in other states. Another statue prohibits filing any medical malpractice case more than seven years after the act of negligence, no matter when you discovered it. There are notice requirements that tell us that in certain cases, notice must be given to a defendant within some period of time after a negligent incident. In Massachusetts, there is a relatively new law that requires us to notify would-be defendants six months before filing a medical malpractice claim. If you suspect that you may have suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice, it is in your best interest to call us sooner rather than later, as generally, these time limiting statutes leave no room for error. Failure to timely file a case may leave you unable to file it at all. During our very first discussion, we will ask you about the dates when you believe that negligence occurred and the dates of other significant events in your story.

Does The “Value” of my Case Matter?

Regardless of the value of your case, all medical negligence should be addressed and compensated for. If you believe that you have been injured by medical malpractice, we will review your potential case. We respectfully and confidentially discuss the details and the merits of potential cases with everyone who calls us.

Some common medical negligence cases involve:

No matter the details of your case, if you believe you have suffered because of medical negligence, the medical malpractice attorneys at Keches Law Group can help you. You may be entitled to damages that will assist in improving your quality of life. Don’t hesitate to call today.

The medical malpractice department at Keches Law Group can help you figure out whether you have a case, and what steps to take next. Call Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 for a free consultation today, or visit us online.