Medical malpractice is a negligent act or omission by a physician during a patient’s treatment that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community, and results in an injury to the patient.
In order to bring a successful medical malpractice claim in North Carolina, you have to show that your physician or other medical professional breached the appropriate standard of care while providing your treatment, or neglecting to provide treatment/diagnosis. In addition, your physician’s breach of the duty of care needs to have directly contributed to your injury.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
People typically think of a medical malpractice claim as the treatment a doctor provides to a patient in response to an illness or injury.
However, “treatment” as viewed in medical malpractice can also mean:
Failure to provide the correct diagnosis, i.e. a misdiagnosis
Failure to provide a timely diagnosis
Making an incorrect prescription dosage
Prescribing the wrong medication
Errors in administering anesthesia
Mistakes during the course of a surgical procedure in the operating room
During an operation, a surgeon might err by damaging internal organs, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical instruments or other items such as sponges in the body cavity. In addition, the nursing staff and other healthcare workers might be negligent in administering post-operative care, which could cause complications that require additional surgery, life-threatening infection, and even death.
Statute of Limitations
North Carolina limits the time in which a patient can bring a medical malpractice claim against a surgeon, physician, or hospital. This statute of limitations is generally up to three years from the date of the treatment that caused the injuries, or within a year of when the injury was or should have been discovered. In either case, a patient can’t initiate litigation for medical malpractice more than four years after the date of the treatment that caused the injuries. However, if a foreign object is left within a patient—such as a surgical sponge, gauze, or a surgical instrument—the patient can bring a claim within one year after the discovery of the foreign object or no longer than 10 years after the procedure when the object was left inside the patient.
Speak with us at the Deuterman Law Group immediately if you believe you’ve been injured due to the negligence of your doctor, surgeon, or healthcare facility. The strict time limits on bringing claims in North Carolina mean that it’s critical for you to discuss your injury with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.