Providence Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Doctors and hospitals are held to a certain standard of care. When they fall below that standard and patient harm occurs, they are liable for the damages caused. Medical malpractice cases, as they are known, are complex matters that are hard fought by doctors, hospitals and their insurance companies. Providence medical malpractice lawyer Michael Kiselica has over 40 years of experience helping accident and injury victims recover compensation when they have been harmed by the negligence or misconduct of another. Call the Kiselica Law Firm if you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice in a Rhode Island hospital, clinic or doctor’s office.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to medical care which falls below the standard of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care provider in the community and in the same area of practice would be expected to provide under similar circumstances. It’s therefore important in a medical malpractice case to retain a medical expert witness who can testify to the applicable standard of care and give an opinion whether the doctor or hospital in question failed to meet that standard. Rhode Island law only allows medical experts to testify if they are qualified as experts in the field based on their knowledge, skill, experience, training or education.
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice in Rhode Island are:
- Delayed or missed diagnosis of cancer
- Medication errors
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient
- Foreign object sewn up inside the patient during surgery
- Unnecessary surgery or procedure
- Botched surgery
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
How long do I have to file a claim of medical malpractice in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island has a special statute of limitations specific to medical malpractice claims which limits the time an injured patient has to file a medical malpractice claim. This law gives a deadline of three years from the date of the medical error. However, a medical mistake is not always known by the patient at the time it happens. For instance, if a sponge or clamp is left inside the patient after surgery, it may not be until the object causes some blockage or rupture that the patient becomes aware of it. Likewise, in the case of a misdiagnosis, the patient may not know he or she was misdiagnosed until much later when additional, serious harm has occurred. In situations like these, the three-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date when the malpractice should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.
Also, a child victim of medical malpractice has until the age of 21 to file a claim, even if the medical error occurred more than three years before.
Can I sue for medical malpractice if I signed a consent form agreeing to the procedure?
Doctors and hospitals are required to obtain your informed consent before performing surgery or certain other medical procedures. Informed consent generally means explaining both the risks and the benefits of the procedure, as well as alternatives. Failing to obtain informed consent before operating could itself be considered malpractice or even a form of battery. The fact that you gave your informed consent to a procedure, however, does not excuse harm caused by a doctor’s incompetence or other failure outside the known the risks of the procedure. Regardless of any form you signed, talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you believe you’ve been harmed by a medical mistake.
What is res ipsa loquitor?
This is a term you may hear in some medical malpractice cases. It is a legal term that basically means “the thing speaks for itself.” In other words, the fact that you were injured in a certain way itself implies medical malpractice without requiring other forms of evidence or proof. For instance, if a medical instrument was accidentally left inside your body after a surgery, that fact alone can be proof of malpractice, because there is no other way it would have got there other than by mistake. Rhode Island law requires issues of res ipsa loquitor to be decided as a preliminary question of fact by the court before they can be submitted to the jury.
Get Help from an Experienced and Successful Providence Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe you may have been harmed by a medical error in a Rhode Island hospital or doctor office, call the Kiselica Law Firm at 401-421-0300 for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced, skilled and dedicated Providence medical malpractice lawyer.