Primary Care & Family Practice Malpractice
Primary care and family practice doctors see patients who have ordinary or common maladies. Sometimes a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant sees the patient. Health care providers working in a primary care practice must provide medical services according to the generally accepted medical standards of the profession. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, our experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you sue for damages not only if you were injured in a hospital but also if you were harmed by primary care or family practice malpractice.Taking Legal Action Against Negligence at a Primary Care or Family Practice
Usually, primary care health providers see patients when a new medical problem has arisen or for a routine checkup or examination. Like other health care providers, primary care doctors, nurses, and staff owe a professional duty of care to abide by the accepted standards and practices of the medical community. Not every mistake made by a primary care physician rises to the level of medical malpractice. To establish medical malpractice, a plaintiff’s attorney must show that the patient was owed a professional duty of care, the defendant breached this professional duty of care, and this malpractice led to the patient’s injuries. Essentially, the error must have deviated from what other reasonable and competent doctors would do in the same or a similar situation.
Breaches of the professional duty of care can happen in many different ways in a primary care practice. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and other organizations have guidelines that many providers follow. These guidelines provide some sense of what is appropriate care, but the application of the guidelines may depend on individual characteristics of the patient, such as gender, age, family history, the results of any medical testing or imaging, and symptoms. For example, how a primary care physician handles a sore throat and fatigue may be different if an older patient had a family history of lung cancer than how it would be handled if the patient were a 13-year-old girl with no family history of cancer.
Medical errors that may constitute medical malpractice include failing to take an appropriate patient history, failing to order the right lab work and diagnostic studies, failing to properly screen a patient, failing to refer a patient to a specialist, failing to prescribe the right medications, failing to ensure that the medications that a patient is taking do not have negative interactions, failing to provide a complete annual check-up, failing to monitor drug side-effects, failing to timely provide the results of a test, and failing to follow up as needed.
When these failures deviate from the professional standard of care in that situation, such that a patient is injured as a result, there may be a viable medical malpractice claim. For example, if a primary care physician fails to screen for heart disease, and the patient soon afterward dies of a heart attack that could have been prevented had the screening occurred, there may be a viable medical malpractice claim.
In most cases, your attorney will retain an experienced and credible health care provider and expert even before filing suit. The expert reviews records and other evidence and forms opinions about what the professional standard of care was, whether the defendant deviated from it, and whether the deviation was the legal cause of the harm to the patient. Usually, an expert is from the same field of practice as the defendant. Expert opinions cannot be speculative and need to be based on facts within the record or personally known to the expert.Hire a Dedicated Syracuse Attorney for Your Malpractice Claim
Many patients develop trust in their family care physicians over a long period of time, and it can be devastating to learn that the physician's error has caused grave harm. If you have suffered harm as a result of negligence by a primary care or family practice health care provider, our attorneys may be able to help you recover damages from the responsible parties. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents people in Syracuse, Rochester, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oswego, Canandaigua, Utica, Wampsville, Oneida, Lowville, Watertown, Herkimer, Delhi, Cortland, Norwich, Elmira, Auburn, and Binghamton. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.