The most basic purpose of any personal injury lawsuit is to make the injured man, woman, or child “whole.” Stated simply, the law tries to put the injured person as nearly as possible in the same position as he or she would be in if the medical malpractice had not happened. In medical malpractice cases, the primary way this happens is through payment of money.
Through money, a plaintiff may be compensated for a variety of things he or she has lost or will lose. A plaintiff may be compensated for concrete things, like future medical expenses, and intangible things, like the loss of the ability to enjoy life.
But compensation is not all. Lawsuits have another great benefit–a societal benefit. When you sue a hospital, or a doctor, you do your part in helping improve the quality of local healthcare. This will benefit our community. After all, nearly all of us can envision needing medical care in the future, and we’d like to receive non-negligent medical care. For the sake of illustration, let’s look at the story of Libby Zion.
Dr. Paul Ruggieri, in his book Confessions of a Surgeon, notes the impact that a lawsuit filed by the family of Ms. Zion had:
Times have changed for [medical] residents. It all changed because of the unexpected death of a patient in a New York city hospital in 1984. Libby Zion walked into an emergency room, ill and looking for care. She left in a body bag. Her father was a high-profile citizen of the city and would not accept the initial explanations of her death as fact. At his legal and political urging, state authorities investigated the details of Libby’s care (helped along by his vigorous lawsuit). In the end, the legal case and investigation uncovered what most residents already knew and lived.
Libby Zion’s death exposed the exhaustive pressures and lack of supervision that were the norm in many training programs, both of which increased the potential for serious mistakes, and led to reforms including the number of hours residents could work continuously without sleep. Libby’s death ultimately closed the door on residencies rooted in the old way of thinking ….
For your community, a medical malpractice lawsuit you file can have a profound effect.
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical professional in Maryland, you may have questions about your legal options. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.