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Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What is vicarious liability?

You may have sustained a preventable injury due to medical treatment you received at an Indiana health care facility and wonder who is responsible for the medical malpractice. The most obvious answer is the treating physician. However, the scope of a medical malpractice claim can extend past the doctor, up to the facility that employs him or her and down to his subordinates. This is the principle of vicarious liability.

According to FindLaw, vicarious liability means that, in some cases, you may hold an employer responsible for the negligent actions of employees according to a principle of "respondeat superior," a Latin phrase meaning, "let the master answer." 

What is informed consent?

Before a doctor in Indiana treats you for an illness, injury or other medical condition, he or she must first acquire informed consent from you. You can help your doctor to provide you with the best care possible if you understand what informed consent is, in which situations it is not necessary and what role you have to play in the process as a patient.

According to FindLaw, informed consent simply means that you must give your doctor permission to perform a procedure or conduct a test and that he or she must first explain to you the potential risks, benefits and alternatives associated with the treatment. Once you understand what your doctor explains to you and decide to proceed, you usually give your consent in writing by signing a form. 

How do you know if your doctor has malpractice claims?

If you are looking for a new doctor in Indiana, it is imperative that you take adequate time to research a health care provider who can give you the type of committed and loyal medical treatment you desire. Part of this research should be into your doctor's past to get an idea of how satisfied his or her patients have been with the care they have received. Uncovering a malpractice claim is something that you can do with a bit of research, and something that can potentially save you time, money and your health in the future. 

According to Forbes Magazine, the internet provides a wealth of information that you can look through in determining how comfortable you feel in using a particular doctor for your health care needs. Often, you can read reviews left by former or current patients who can provide you with insight into the type of experience you may expect to have should you choose to use the doctor in question. 

What is informed consent?

Whenever a doctor treats you in Indiana, you have to give your consent. This allows you to provide the proper permission and ensure the doctor does not do anything you do not want him or her to do. This, according to the American Medical Association, is called informed consent. It is a very important concept in the medical field, and the lack of informed consent is often the basis for negligence. It is a legal and ethical issue within the field.

When you give informed consent, it is saying that you understand everything the doctor has told you and that you give your permission for treatment. Requiring this means the doctor respects your right to know what is happening with your care. It also signifies that you have had the chance to ask questions, get answers and that you trust your doctor to treat you.

Asking the right questions can prevent surgical errors

When people are facing the need to get surgery in Indiana, they are often met with anxiety about the operation itself as well as what recovery will be like. Preparing for their surgery the right way can help to reduce these concerns and give patients more confidence in the process. However, it is critical that they communicate with their surgeon to verify information and confirm that they fully understand the surgery's purpose and proposed outcome. Doing so can help to prevent a surgical error from happening that may ultimately leave them with worsened health. 

While it is never pleasant to consider the chance that a surgeon makes a critical error during surgery, it does happen. In fact, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are cases of surgeons performing on the wrong patient, completing a surgery on an incorrect body part and even performing a separate procedure from what was previously discussed with the patient. 

Important facts about shingles infection

Many people in Indiana may harbor some misconceptions about the shingles virus. Unfortunately, some of these mistaken ideas come from healthcare professionals who are themselves improperly informed about the disease. 

One of the most persistent myths about shingles, even within the medical community, is that only elderly people can contract it. According to WebMD, one woman called her doctor's office to request an appointment after developing a suspicious rash. Because she was only 28 years old at the time, the people working in the office laughed at her when she expressed concern that she might have shingles. However, faced with the telltale skin lesions on the patient's torso, the treating physician stopped laughing and correctly diagnosed the patient with shingles.

Does your situation involve medical malpractice, or not?

When your surgery didn't turn out the way you'd hoped, some of your friends or family members may have suggested that you file a medical malpractice claim. You may have been hesitant to do so, with good reason. There are numerous factors you must be able to prove to the court in order to successfully litigate a medical malpractice claim. Before filing such a claim, you'll want to make sure you have the necessary grounds to do so.  

Just because a nurse, doctor, surgeon or other medical professional makes a mistake, this doesn't necessarily mean someone has committed medical malpractice. On the other hand, not only direct medical team members, but hospital officials and other administrators, may be potentially liable for your injuries in certain situations. It is a complex area of law, which is why most medical injury victims seek outside support before heading to court.  

Defining fetal macrosomia

Most in Indianapolis might assume a large, growing baby to be an indicator of a healthy pregnancy. While expectant parents and their doctors alike want to see that a baby is growing, overly large babies can actually pose certain risks to themselves and their mothers. "Fetal macrosomia" is the actual name of the condition describing big babies. Per the definitions set forth by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, fetal macrosomia exists when a baby grows to weigh more than 4500 g (which equates to 9 lbs, 4 oz) prior to being born. 

Clinical research has shown common causes of fetal macrosomia to include: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Obesity 
  • Age 
  • Previous incidents of fetal macrosomia 
  • Subsequent pregnancies
  • Gestation beyond 40 weeks

Can you protect yourself from wrong-site surgery?

When your health care provider in Indiana recommends surgery as a solution for your treatment, one of the first concerns you may have is regarding pain levels and recovery. However, while these topics are essential to address, it is also imperative that you are familiar with tactics to keep yourself safe from surgical errors. Because your surgeon is performing lots of surgeries on many different patients, it is not entirely guaranteed that he or she will not make a mistake. 

A common surgical error is when doctors perform a surgery or operation on the wrong body part. Protecting yourself from this completely preventable error requires you to be diligent in advocating your safety. According to the Patient Safety Authority, one of the best steps you can take is to ask someone you trust to accompany you to your surgery. The person you bring should be aware of the type of surgery you are getting and what will be happening. He or she should also be comfortable verbalizing their concerns if they are unsure of what is going on. 

Heuristics in healthcare

Most in Indianapolis understand that doctors are human and thus subject to errors in judgment just like everyone else. Such errors are the reason why misdiagnoses rank among the most common medical errors reported in the U.S. (indeed, information shared by CBS News shows that 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed annually). Diagnostic methods in healthcare to have limitations, yet its the reason behind misdiagnoses that often prompts people to take legal action. 

Doctors' decisions are typically prompted by a number of different factors. Among these are heuristics. The word "heuristics" describes general standards or "rules of thumb." Typically, heuristics are formed from documented evidence and clinical experience, and in the absence of definitive diagnostic evidence, they may be relied on to develop a patient's diagnosis. Heuristics may often point clinicians in the right direction when determining what is wrong with a patient, yet an overreliance on them could be dangerous.