Michigan Medical Malpractice – An Introduction
When a doctor, or any medical practitioner, acts in a negligent way when treating a medical illness, it is called medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs in two ways- (1) either the medical practitioner took an action that resulted in further impairment or damage, or (2) the medical practitioner failed to take an action that was medically appropriate. Here are some examples of medical malpractice:
- Delay in providing treatment for a diagnosed medical illness with unreasonable excuse.
Failure to give the correct treatment for a medical illness.
- Misdiagnosis – the failure to correctly diagnose a medical illness or disease.
Patient and health care providers in Michigan alike need to be aware of the medical malpractice provisions being enforced in the state in order to protect themselves. Here are some of the things they need to remember.
A medical practitioner who performs a medical procedure that causes the patient to be harmed in any aspect, regardless of the correctness of the way the procedure was performed may also be held legally accountable if the patient did not give his “informed consent” to him. For example, if a surgeon did not tell the patient with a spine tumor that the operation has a 50% chance of resulting in paralysis. Thus, the patient does not have the slightest idea about this and hence, does not have the crucial information to make an informed choice to either go on with or put off the operation. Now, if the patient undergoes the operation and as a result, has become paralyzed, the surgeon may be liable even if he has performed the operation flawlessly. This is because if the patient has been told of the risks involved, he might have refused to undergo the operation. In order for a medical practitioner to obtain this informed consent, he must provide the information to the patient in a timely manner and in agreement with the established standard of practice among members of the vocation who have had comparable experience and training.
Under the Michigan malpractice law, any patient who has experienced damages due to something that was not a result of the medical practitioner’s mistake cannot recover damages for the results. For example, a patient has been experiencing severe stomach pains and went to a physician to get diagnosed. If the true condition was a ruptured appendix, yet the physician misdiagnosed it as perforated ulcer, and the patient had to undergo surgery because of it, he will most likely be unable to bring a lawsuit. This is because even if the physician made a correct diagnosis, the surgery was necessary. However, if, let us say, the stomach pains were caused only by indigestion, he will have a string defense for a malpractice action since a surgical procedure is highly unwarranted for a simple case of indigestion.
“Tort reform” has significantly affected medical malpractice actions and Michigan is one of the pioneers of this. It has instigated several legal stipulations which make medical malpractice both costly and burdensome to take up. Moreover, non-economic damages had caps imposed on them under the Michigan malpractice law. Malpractice cases have thus become very expensive to litigate and the patients’ chances of recovering damages may be limited. Therefore, if you are decided in taking your case to trial, you need to retain lawyers who specialize in Michigan malpractice law and have the resources to build up your case.
THERE ARE VERY STRICT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE STATUTES OF LIMITATION IN MICHIGAN. THESE CASES HAVE VERY SHORT FILING DEADLINES OR YOUR CASE COULD BE FOREVER BARRED. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY.
For more information about Michigan Medical Malpractice law or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation.