South Florida Patient Protection Lawyers
Skilled Florida Lawyers Dedicated to Upholding Patient Protection Standards in Hospitals and Medical Facilities in Palm Beach County, Broward County and Across South Florida
Patients enter South Florida hospitals, clinics, and medical treatment facilities every day with the expectation that their illnesses or injuries will be treated by trained medical professionals—but what happens when the patient receives the formal treatment required, but the medical staff or facility fails in protecting the patient in some other way? Patients with psychological or memory problems, or those with suicidal tendencies, can suffer serious harm when trained medical professionals fail to take steps necessary to protect those patients under the circumstances.
Patient protection in Florida encompasses a wide range of potential events designed to protect patients from symptoms related to an underlying condition–usually a cognitive disorder–that could result in physical harm. For example, patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often have a tendency to wander, increasing the potential for injuring themselves, and patients suffering from depression may attempt suicide or other self-harm. While the facility may be providing the underlying treatment appropriately, staff members must also take steps to protect these patients from the symptoms of those conditions that can cause harm.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our patient protection lawyers have the resources and skills necessary to successfully pursue claims for compensation when medical negligence causes a failure in patient protection that results in harm to you or a loved one. Call today to schedule a no-cost consultation to tell us what happened in your case and explore how we can make sure you receive the compensation you need.
Establishing Liability for Patient Protection Events Under South Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
Patient protection events are included in the annual report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as “never events”—meaning medical events that should never take place under any circumstances, and for which even Medicare and most private insurance companies will refuse to pay for treatment made necessary by these events. These “never events” can include:
- Negligent early discharge from a hospital or medical facility,
- Failure to properly monitor a patient, resulting in patient disappearance or elopement,
- Failure to provide the psychological care necessary to prevent a suicide, attempted suicide or other self-harm.
When a hospital or medical facility knows, or should reasonably know, that the patient suffers from a condition that requires additional care or monitoring, that establishment has a duty to provide that care even if it is not specifically designated as a nursing home, psychiatric treatment center or memory care facility. Patient protection can take on many forms depending upon the specific circumstances, including:
- Requiring the patient to remain in a facility until it is determined that he or she is mentally stabilized,
- Providing trained psychological counseling, or transfer to an appropriate facility designed to keep the patient safe,
- Providing comprehensive screening of all patients who are admitted to a hospital or facility,
- Implementing training procedures so that staff members can identify patients who pose a risk of wandering, disappearance or suicide,
- Establishing procedures for increased monitoring of patients with memory problems, who may be inclined to wander off and may be a danger to themselves or others as a result,
- Ensuring that the patient is released into the care of an appropriately informed and/or trained family member or caregiver upon discharge,
Attorneys Gonzalez & Cartwright Skillfully Navigate the Complexities Involved in Pursuing Claims for Compensation
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we have the skills necessary to successfully pursue claims for compensation based on negligent provisions of patient protection in South Florida. These cases are often complicated by the fact that it an underlying—and often difficult or impossible to treat—a condition of the patient that technically caused the harm. We will investigate to determine how the negligence of the medical professionals or facility involved actually caused the harm through failure to take appropriate steps to provide reasonable patient protection. Depending upon the circumstances, this may include:
- Interviewing medical staff who came into contact with the patient,
- Subpoenaing the facility’s records,
- Examining the patient’s medical history,
- Examining the hospital or facility’s training procedures and safety record,
- Investigating to determine whether medical staffing levels were appropriate,
- Consulting with medical experts to determine how a reasonable medical professional should have acted under the circumstances in order to establish that patient protection measures were insufficient and constituted negligence in your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one have suffered harm because of the failure of a medical professional or medical facility to ensure that appropriate patient protection standards are followed, you need an experienced lawyer who you can trust to help pursue your right to compensation for that harm. Call our experienced South Florida medical malpractice lawyers or fill out this secure online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case today.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Patient Protection in South Florida
The available compensation will depend upon the harm suffered and the actions of the facility. Importantly, the patient must have suffered some sort of harm that would have been prevented had the medical staff or facility taken reasonable steps necessary to ensure patient protection. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, but generally only expenses related to injuries or harm that occurred because of the lack of protection—for example, if your loved one suffered from dementia and disappeared because of a lack of reasonable monitoring and broke a hip in the process, compensation may be available to treat the broken hip, but not for expenses relating to the underlying dementia.
She’s the one who hurt herself. Medical professionals are not responsible for suicides in all cases even if your loved one had sought medical help. If your loved one was under the care of the medical staff that failed to provide reasonable protection when they knew or should have known that she was suicidal, that may constitute negligence that is actionable. The key is examining whether the actions of the facility or staff were reasonable under the circumstances and whether they could have prevented harm by taking reasonable measures to ensure patient protection and prevent a tragic loss of life.