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The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) ensures that all medical facilities that accept Medicaid or Medicare undergo regular inspections to assess the extent to which they comply with required standards of care. Charleston’s Trident Medical Center has not only been fined for medical errors by CMS in recent years, but it remains among the lowest-rated hospitals in the nation, according to CMS. Most recently, a judge awarded damages to a widower in May 2019 after his wife died at Trident Medical Center from a medical error.
When we sustain injuries or don’t feel well, we usually head to our nearest clinic or medical center for treatment and/or diagnosis, because we trust that medical professionals will provide us with the care and service that we need. Under federal and state laws, hospitals must adhere to specific standards of care. When they fail to comply, patients might suffer harm or injury as a result of negligence or medical malpractice. Additionally, being harmed by a medical facility or medical professional erodes trust we put in doctors and hospitals, sometimes leading to mental anguish on top of physical injury.
If you or a loved one has been harmed because of medical error or negligence that occurred at Trident Medical Center, South Carolina law permits you to take legal action to seek compensation for damages related to the injury. The qualified legal team at Hughey Law has experience with medical malpractice cases, abuse and neglect cases, and cases involving injuries in facilities as a result of ordinary negligence. Contact a skilled nursing home abuse attorney today at (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation to discuss the harm you suffered at Trident Medical Center.
CMS provides overall ratings for each hospital in its system, which includes more than 80 percent of facilities in the United States. CMS uses more than 100 measures, divided into seven categories, to assign an overall rating between one and five stars. Hospitals, like Trident Medical Center, with the lowest scores, receive one star, while high-performing hospitals receive five stars. The seven categories include:
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury at Trident Medical Center, your attorney might advise you to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages for your injury. Medical malpractice suits are complex undertakings with requirements that go beyond a run-of-the-mill personal injury lawsuit. Below we outline some specifics that pertain to medical malpractice suits in South Carolina.
Numerous different scenarios can lead to a medical malpractice claim against a facility and/or an individual medical professional, most often a physician. These scenarios include:
In most cases, you have three years to file a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina. The state does, however, have a strict statute of repose, which is an absolute time limit of six years. This means you cannot file a claim beyond six years after you were harmed by a facility or medical professional. South Carolina does have a delayed discovery rule, which means your three-year statute of limitations time clock begins from the date you discover, or should have discovered, your injury. For example, if a surgeon closes up your body and forgets to remove a sponge or surgical tool, you might not realize the mistake for days, weeks, months, or years.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit requires a qualified attorney who can help you meet the pre-suit procedural requirements in South Carolina, which require you to file a Notice of Intent and an Affidavit of Expert with the court. Once you file these documents, with the help of a lawyer, the statute of limitations for your claim tolls while you participate in mandatory mediation to resolve the claim before filing suit. The specifics of these documents are as follows:
If you do not reach an agreement during mediation and need to file a lawsuit, or your case doesn’t warrant a medical malpractice suit, you might recover the following economic and non-economic damages in a settlement or a verdict in your favor:
South Carolina’s civil procedure laws cap non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, in medical malpractice claims to $350,000. If the case includes more than one defendant, total non-economic damages cannot exceed $1,050,000. South Carolina law, however, does not impose a cap on punitive damages, which courts award to punish defendants. However, courts don’t award punitive damages in many cases. A plaintiff must prove that the defendants willfully caused him or her harm, which typically isn’t the case in these types of injuries, but when facilities or their employees learn of action or inaction that leads to harm to a patient, and they take measures to cover up the mistake, their fraud and coverup often results in an award of punitive damages for a plaintiff.
If you lost a loved one because of injuries sustained while he or she received care at Trident Medical Center, you might also be eligible for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. South Carolina permits eligible family members to sue for damages in a wrongful death suit to recover compensation for some of the economic and non-economic losses listed above, as well as for funeral costs and burial expenses. Surviving spouses, like the previously mentioned widower, commonly seek remedy after a wrongful death.
In this recent case surrounding Trident Medical Center, Charleston resident Eleanor Bilton became ill at home and went to Trident’s emergency room in late July 2017. Her blood tests revealed that she had a drastic drop in her red blood cell count, but doctors failed to check or rule out internal bleeding. Subsequently, they gave her a blood thinner. Not having followed proper protocol for the medication, Bilton bled out at Trident Medical Center later that afternoon.
Choosing whether to file a medical malpractice claim or an ordinary negligence claim against a facility can be a challenging decision. Many lawyers choose ordinary negligence claims to avoid the previously mentioned procedural requirements. Furthermore, all injuries that occur in a medical setting aren’t automatically medical malpractice. Your trusted attorney will guide you on which legal action is best for your case, but broadly speaking, filing a medical malpractice suit means two things:
You might have been injured at Trident Medical Center, but if it wasn’t part of your diagnosis, treatment, or care then it doesn’t qualify as medical malpractice. Some additional examples include suffering an injury after slipping on a food spill, a defective medical device caused your injury, or you were neglected or abused by caregivers. Your attorney will give you a definitive answer on the best course of action, but these cases don’t typically qualify as medical malpractice.
Injured and ill individuals are supposed to go to hospitals to seek medical attention and get the help they need to recover or treat their injury and illness; a visit to the hospital should not cause harm, injury, or death. If you, your spouse, your child, or another loved one have suffered harm at Trident Medical Center, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden that comes with injury. You deserve full and fair compensation for damages. Hughey Law is here to help you hold Trident Medical Center, its doctors, and/or its other employees accountable for injuries that you suffered in while there. Contact us today at (843) 881-8644 or online to discuss the details of your injuries.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
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