All licensed medical professionals have a responsibility to provide care and treatment to their patients that comports with the standards expected of their industry. Unfortunately, not all medical practitioners meet this standard. When this occurs, it can often leave patients suffering from serious consequences that may affect them for the rest of their lives. In legal terms, this type of incident is known as medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the United States, with preventable medical errors ranking as one of the top causes of death in the country. Non-fatal instances of medical malpractice, which cannot be neatly quantified in the same way that fatal forms of this problem can be, are an even larger problem on the order of several magnitudes.
While the ability to fully compensate for the challenges that medical malpractice may pose in a victim’s life are often considerably diminished in our legal system, medical malpractice lawsuits nevertheless can help to restore at least some of the losses that a patient may suffer. A brief examination of several notable medical malpractice cases in the United States can help to give a more detailed understanding of the legal apparatus in place for resolving this issue.
Medical Malpractice: A Case-Based Examination
One of the most high profile instances of medical malpractice in recent memory involved the popular singer Michael Jackson, who died as a result of a prescription-drug overdose. While many initially assumed that it was the singer’s own abuse of the drugs which led to his death, the coroner who examined Jackson’s body decided that the death occurred not as a result of improper use of any one drug, but rather as a result of an unsafe combination of different prescriptions which had been provided by Jackson’s physician. Jackson’s father currently has employed a team of medical malpractice attorneys to pursue a suit against the physician, as well as the producers of the pharmaceuticals.
Another well-known instance of medical malpractice involved the actress and singer Julie Andrews. Andrews opted to undergo a routine surgery to remove nodules from her vocal cords, a procedure which should have had no lasting effect on her singing voice. However, errors during the course of the surgery dramatically limited her vocal range and left her unable to sing at all for years. As a result, she filed suit against the physicians who performed the operation, eventually settling for an undisclosed sum.