Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Lawyers Serving Clients in Medical Negligence Claims in Vancouver and Throughout British Columbia
As patients, we place enormous trust in doctors and other medical professionals to provide us with the best care. We instinctively accept their diagnoses, follow the treatments they recommend, and take the medications they prescribe.
Unfortunately, every year thousands of patients in British Columbia and throughout Canada suffer serious injury or death as a result of medical errors. These errors occur in doctors’ offices, in emergency rooms, in hospitals, in delivery rooms, in pharmacies, and other facilities.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, you need an experienced lawyer to handle your claim. Klein Lawyers has been serving clients in complex litigation for over 20 years. Call (604) 874-7171 today for a free case evaluation. Our medical malpractice lawyers serve clients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Surrey, and throughout British Columbia.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide proper medical care. The standard for proper care is based on the accepted practices within the medical profession.
It is important to understand that an adverse outcome is not automatically medical malpractice. Even a simple mistake on the part of a provider does not necessarily qualify as malpractice. Instead, the provider must be negligent in treating you.
Negligence is the failure to take proper care, resulting in harm to another. Healthcare providers may be negligent if their actions fail to meet the standards upheld by the medical profession. Examples include:
- Birth Injury
- Obstetrics & Gynaecology Malpractice
- Surgical & Anaesthesia Errors
- Hospital Errors
Given the high standards and inherently technical nature of healthcare, medical malpractice can be extremely difficult to prove. It is important to contact a lawyer who can build a strong case on your behalf.
Can You Sue a Doctor in B.C.?
Doctors are liable for the damages you and your family sustain as a result of medical malpractice. The term “doctor” encompasses a wide variety of different medical specialties, from general practitioners to surgeons.
You may be able to bring a malpractice claim against other medical providers as well, including:
- Physician assistants
- Medical technicians
- Physical therapists
If a medical provider works for a hospital, clinic, or other care centre, you may also be able to file a claim against the facility.
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Although your medical team may tell you “We did all we could,” it is important not to take the provider’s word for it when it comes to your health or the health of a family member. If you believe something went wrong, trust your instincts and speak to a lawyer about your legal options.
Some of the most common medical malpractice claims involve:
For many parents, birth injuries permanently alter the future they expected for their child. Birth trauma can occur due to errors in the delivery room or in the course of prenatal care. A baby may also suffer an injury early in life, when the brain is developing and highly vulnerable.
Potential causes of birth injury include:
- Failure to perform prenatal screening
- Failure to diagnose and treat maternal infection
- Failure to monitor fetal heart rate
- Failure to monitor the mother for conditions such as preeclampsia
- Errors in the administration of oxytocin (a medication that induces labour)
- Delayed vaginal delivery
- Delay of a medically necessary cesarean section (C-section)
- Errors in the use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
Types of birth injuries that may occur as a result of these errors include:
- Cerebral palsy: Children with cerebral palsy may experience lifelong challenges when it comes to mobility, coordination, communication, and cognition. Lifetime support is often necessary.
- Shoulder dystocia: Also known as a brachial plexus injury, shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal. Failing to free the shoulder through specialized manoeuvres or applying too much force during extraction can damage the nerves, potentially resulting in Erb’s palsy (paralysis and dysfunction of the arm) or Klumpke’s palsy (paralysis and dysfunction of the hand).
- Bone fractures: Errors during the birthing process may result in broken bones. Fractures of bones in the skull, neck, back, arms, and legs can result in lifelong impairment if they are not diagnosed quickly and treated properly.
- Oxygen deprivation: If the fetus is in distress, timely delivery is crucial. Errors and delays in the delivery of the baby can prolong the lack of oxygen, presenting a risk of brain injury, spinal cord injury, and death.
- Facial paralysis: When nerves in the face are injured during delivery, your baby may experience loss of control or function of one or more areas of the face. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, palsy may affect the mouth, the eyes, and an entire section of the face.
- Cephalohematoma: A cephalohematoma generally forms as a result of trauma during delivery. Blood vessels are ruptured inside the head between the skull and the scalp. Babies who suffer this injury are at a higher risk of anemia and jaundice, both of which can present serious health risks to a newborn.
- Caput succedaneum: Babies born after a long and difficult labour may have an elongated appearance to their skulls. Known as caput succedaneum, this malformation typically resolves on its own. However, as with cephalohematoma, the injury is a risk factor for jaundice and anemia.
Pregnant women trust obstetricians and gynaecologists (doctors usually dual specialize as OBGYNs) to provide proper care for them and their babies during pregnancy and labour. Unfortunately, obstetrical and gynaecological malpractice often results in birth injuries and maternal injuries.
Most patients consider a doctor’s diagnosis the final word on their health. However, delayed diagnosis and the failure to diagnose a serious medical condition can have significant, sometimes fatal consequences.
A variety of different errors can result in misdiagnosis, including:
- Failure to order the proper tests
- Misreading test results
- Errors in taking a patient’s medical and family history
- Failure to refer the patient to a specialist
- Failure to order X-rays, MRI, CT scan, and other imaging
- Misreading imaging results
Doctors may fail to diagnose any type of injury or illness. Some of the most common conditions in misdiagnosis cases include:
- Heart attacks: Patients who are suffering from a heart attack are often sent home from the emergency room without being properly evaluated. They often die at a later date from a subsequent heart attack that could have been prevented with proper medical care.
- Cancer: When caught in the early stages, many cancers are highly treatable and have good survival rates. In the event of a diagnostic error, however, a patient may need more extensive or invasive treatment. Sometimes the cancer isn’t caught until it has spread, potentially progressing to the terminal stage.
- Appendicitis: Patients with appendicitis typically go to the emergency room when the appendix is still intact. If detected in time, the appendix can be removed. If the condition is misdiagnosed, however, the appendix may rupture, presenting a serious risk of infection and requiring more extensive surgical intervention.
Whether the doctor failed to diagnose the condition or made the correct diagnosis but only after too much time has passed, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
Undergoing surgery can be a frightening experience. You have faith that the surgeons and other staff involved in the procedure are highly qualified and will treat you with the utmost care. Unfortunately, in spite of the limited margin of error in the operating room, surgical errors are a leading form of medical malpractice.
Some of the most common surgical errors at issue in medical malpractice claims include:
- Failure to explain the risks of surgery
- Failure to get the patient’s informed consent
- Operating on the wrong part of the body (wrong-site surgery)
- Performing the wrong operation (wrong-procedure surgery)
- Operating on the wrong patient (wrong-patient surgery)
- Performing an operation a patient doesn’t need (unnecessary surgery)
- Leaving surgical equipment inside the patient
- Damaging organs and tissue during surgery
- Anaesthesia errors
- Errors in post-surgical monitoring
Surgeons, anaesthesiologists, and other members of the surgical team may be liable for malpractice in the operating room.
A hospital in a major metropolitan area like Vancouver can serve thousands of patients every day. Each employee at the hospital is responsible for the care these patients receive, and they are subject to policies and procedures designed to minimize errors.
When hospital employees ignore procedures or fail to communicate, patients suffer. Serious errors in a hospital setting that may constitute medical malpractice include:
- Medication and pharmacy errors: A doctor may fail to order the correct medicine for a patient, or the pharmacist may fill the wrong prescription. Patients may suffer adverse reactions after receiving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, or taking a drug to which they are allergic or one that interacts with other medications. Certain medications may also be misused to make patients more manageable.
- Emergency room errors: ER workers often have the most stressful jobs in the hospital. Prompt, accurate decision-making and attention to detail are key for treating patients who are in distress. Errors such as a failure to prioritize patients, misdiagnosis, and failure to monitor patients may all be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
- Nursing malpractice: Nurses perform a variety of vital tasks in caring for hospital patients. Procedural errors and failing to communicate with other members of staff can unnecessarily endanger the health of patients.
- Defective or broken equipment: Modern medical care involves the use of a number of advanced devices. When these devices fail, hospital staff can miss critical health information. Hospital workers have a duty to maintain equipment and take it out of service in the event of a malfunction. The manufacturer of the equipment may also be liable if your injuries arose from a defect.
- Falls in hospitals: Conditions on the grounds, floors, and corridors of a hospital should be clear to allow patients and staff to move safely. A dangerous condition on the property may cause a fall, which can exacerbate the injury or condition of a patient who is already in poor health.
The administrators of hospitals and other facilities may be liable for failing to develop and enforce patient care procedures. Administrative errors can make medical malpractice more likely to occur.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The damages you suffer as a result of a doctor or other provider’s negligence can be wide-ranging. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your claim and identify the compensation you may be able to recover.
At Klein Lawyers, we pursue full compensation for damages such as:
- Current and future medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, therapy, and counselling
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Costs for long-term care, including home healthcare services and modifications to your home and vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If your loved one died due to medical malpractice, our lawyers can pursue damages in a wrongful death claim. You may be entitled to compensation for losses such as:
- Loss of economic support
- Loss of household contributions
- Medical expenses incurred before death
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
- Loss of support and society
Medical malpractice claims require thorough investigation of complicated evidence. Our lawyers will examine your medical records and enlist experts to determine how your injury or the death of your loved one occurred, whether violations of the standard of care was the cause, who is liable, and the compensation you and your family are due as a result of the malpractice.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers in British Columbia Today
If you or a loved one received substandard medical care, you may be able to recover your losses through a medical malpractice claim. Klein Lawyers has extensive experience handling complicated litigation, and we have achieved significant, multi-million-dollar recoveries on behalf of clients who have been seriously injured in a variety of circumstances involving negligence.
Please call (604) 874-7171 today for a free, 100% confidential case evaluation. Our medical malpractice lawyers serve clients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Surrey, and other areas of British Columbia.