Myths About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Myths

Working with a trusted malpractice lawyer, such as the ones available at Wieand Law Firm LLC means you know that there’re myths and misconceptions about malpractice lawsuits out there. This article is here to talk about those myths and misconceptions, so that you’re better prepared—in case you’ve never heard any of these misconceptions.

Medical malpractice cases are often strange for the public, because they’re shrouded in mystery. Those that are publicized for large settlements seem like you’ve won the lottery. But it’s not hard to understand you wouldn’t want to experience a medical malpractice lawsuit—because it means that there was an error or negligence that led to an injury, life-changing disability or even death.

The first myth states that most medical malpractice claims are frivolous. It’s not trust at all. America became known as the “sue-happy” society a while ago, and that led to people thinking they could sue doctors and medical professionals extremely easy. You cannot. It’s actually very hard. Most medical malpractice lawsuits are necessary, about 3% of them are considered frivolous.

Physicians complain about “frivolous malpractice medical lawsuits” because the emotional toil, their reputation, and the trauma of going through a lawsuit is hard on them—it’s even hard on everyone involved, jury and judge included. But baseless lawsuits do still happen, and will continue to happen. Just know that only 3% of medical lawsuits are believed to be frivolous.

Let’s talk about what a frivolous lawsuit looks like—so you can tell from headlines what’s frivolous and what isn’t.

That Time A Guy Cut Off His Hand

One of the most historically bizarre lawsuits is about a construction record with a rather long psychiatric history. He claimed that he saw the “number of the devil, 666” on his right hand. He perceived this to be demonic possession, and used a power saw to cut his hand off at the wrist. The construction worker’s hand was packed with ice and transported it and the patient to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia in 1997, the year that the incident occurred.

The hospital contacted a hand surgeon, and the surgeon received consent for the operation—an attempt to reattach his hand—to be done. They even consulted a psychiatrist who said the patient was of legal and sound mind to consent to the operation.

The patient was prepped for surgery and given sedatives. When he was wheeled into the operation room he changed his mind, and threatened to cut his hand off again if it was reattached. The psychiatrist was called again, and they found the sedatives had not impaired this man’s mental capacity to give or withdraw his consent. With “self-mutilators” there is a high chance they’ll self-mutilate again, and the hand surgeon knew that.

The surgeon and hospital risk manager asked a judge for advice, and the judge said that as long as the psychiatrist said the patient was of sound mind, the surgery couldn’t happen. And it had to happen quickly if the hand was to be reattached correctly.

The patient later, after his wound was sewn up and his hand dealt with as medical waste, sued the hospital because he claimed the doctor should have known he was psychotic. This is a frivolous lawsuit because it has no base, the physician did everything correctly. The plaintiff had “expert witnesses” lined up to say that the surgeon and hospital should have operated on his hand. As long as an expert was going to testify, the judge had to let the case go on.