No couple in West Virginia wants to be told that their child has either a birth injury or a birth defect. Although some such conditions are relatively minor and easily cured, others are debilitating and could leave an infant unable to function without special care for the rest of his or her life.
When a Morgantown resident puts her own and life and the life of her child in the hands of an obstetrician, she is expecting that this doctor will do his or her best to protect both her life and health and the life and health of her baby. While sometimes bad things happen even when a doctor and his or her medical team give the best possible medical care, at other times, a West Virginia family may find itself having to deal with a child who will be disabled for life because a doctor failed to meet the accepted standard of medical care and thereby caused serious birth injuries.
In most cases, residents of West Virginia who have suffered a personal injury because of another person's negligence have only a limited amount of time to sue the other person for compensation. If a Morgantown victim does not do so, then under West Virginia law, they are forever barred from raising their claim.
In all cases of medical malpractice, a Morgantown, West Virginia, patient must prove that their doctor or other trusted medical professional did not exercise a reasonable degree of care and that the professional's failure to do so caused the patient's injury.
A hospital in West Virginia now finds itself in hot water in connection with a doctor that it hired several years ago and who is now the subject of a Department of Justice investigation. Several cardiac patients have filed suit against the hospital, saying that this doctor recommended and then performed cardiac surgeries that were not necessary. Indeed, it seems that the number of cardiac operations that the hospital performed more than tripled during the doctor's tenure at the institution.
Several of the recent posts on this blog have discussed the concept of "non-economic" damages, which include items like pain and suffering and other types of damages that are difficult to quantify.
A recent post on this blog mentioned that West Virginia imposes a cap on how much compensation a victim of medical negligence can receive because of his or her pain and suffering. While the phrase "pain and suffering" is often talked about in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, residents of Morgantown may still only have a vague idea of what pain and suffering really is and how one can receive compensation for it.
Medical malpractice cases are often especially tragic for West Virginia families because they usually entail a betrayal of trust. A victim of medical malpractice naturally goes to his or her doctor or hospital expecting to get better or, at worst, expecting not to be left worse for wear. It is therefore emotionally wrenching when a patient and his or her family have to deal with sometimes permanent injuries and disabilities because of a doctor's negligence.
The West Virginia Supreme Court recently held that drug addicts, at least in theory, may be able to sue their doctors or pharmacists for damages caused by their drug addiction. The logic appears to be that a doctor's mistake in prescribing a drug that is addictive can lead, or at least contribute, to the unnecessary emotional and physical demise of a person.
You've awoken from surgery and your surgeon says there's been a complication. You suspect the complication might be due to medical error. What do you do?