There is an implicit trust that every person seeking medical care places in the physician. There is respect for the doctor’s advanced learning, apart from a belief that the medical caregiver is truly capable of discharging the required duties. There is also the awareness that a slip on the doctor’s part can have significantly harmful consequences. There are, therefore, in Roanoke, Virginia, as well as elsewhere in the United States, legal ramifications if a proven doctor’s mistake causes unreasonable pain and suffering to the patient. In many cases, the hospital or care center may also be a responsible party for the incident.
A case recently filed in the United States District Court in Huntington, West Virginia, by a woman from Michigan alleges that certain wrong decisions made by a doctor employed by St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc. when she was in labor led to her daughter eventually contracting cerebral palsy as well as blindness. Per the case, the doctor administered a delivery-inducing drug that caused distress to the baby, and also resulted in the mother experiencing symptoms of a uterine rupture. The medical malpractice lawsuit seeks as-yet-unspecified damages along with interest, besides costs and expenses related to the trial, as compensation.
While such a lawsuit may be the only option by which to penalize errant medical caregivers, it is an expensive and difficult one. For instance, the patient needs to establish that the doctor error was certifiably an act of negligence. As a result, those filing claims for medical malpractice invariably need to seek legal counsel on the prosecution of such cases.
Again, the damages that a victim can receive as compensation are limited in amount by law. In Virginia, this limit is currently $2.1 million, but even this is a legal guideline and the actual amount depends on the jury or judge. Ultimately, the sense of justice perceived by the aggrieved patient may be much diluted.
Source: West Virginia Record, “Mom blames Huntington hospital for injuring newborn“, Ben Hart, May 8, 2014