Ohio University has settled a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a former student who lost her arm due to flesh-eating bacteria. The victim accused the University of misdiagnosing her illness, leading to its progression and the eventual amputation of her right arm, shoulder and shoulder blade. She was awarded $250,000 in the August 2013 settlement.

Medical malpractice payouts exceeded $3.6 billion nationwide in 2012. The breakout by allegation is as follows:

  • Diagnosis    33.00 percent
  • Surgery       24.00 percent
  • Treatment   18.00 percent
  • Obstetrics   11.00 percent
  • Medication   4.00 percent
  • Anesthesia    3.00 percent
  • Other            7.00 percent

As can be seen, diagnostic errors are the leading source of medical malpractice claims. These include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and delay in diagnosis. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, diagnostic errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, right behind heart disease and cancer. They are costly, both in terms of human and financial loss.

To substantiate a medical malpractice claim, you must prove medical negligence, causation and harm. Courts require that you demonstrate your injury was caused by the negligent care, and that it was reasonably foreseeable that the injury would result from the medical error. Although this sequence of events is often demonstrable, there are times when doctors have done nothing wrong but are still swept up in a lawsuit. This has led many physicians to practice “defensive medicine,” ordering excessive tests and screening procedures to guard against medical malpractice claims. This practice adds expense to the medical healthcare system as well.

If you believe you have been injured because of medical malpractice, contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. for a consultation.