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Coma/Vegetative State Caused by Medical Negligence

Ocala Attorneys Helping Patients Sue for Malpractice

Sometimes a medical error causes a patient to fall into either a coma or a persistent vegetative state. There are numerous types of negligence that can result in a coma. Although technology has made it easier to continue to keep patients physically alive, there is a spectrum of brain injuries, and at one end is brain death. This time can be stressful and urgent for a patient's family and friends because, aside from the grief that they are experiencing about the loss of a loved one, there is also the question of financing the patient's stay in the hospital. If you need to sue for damages due to a family member who is in a coma or persistent vegetative state caused by medical negligence, the Ocala medical malpractice lawyers at the Dean Law Firm may be able to help you recover compensation.

Understanding Coma or Vegetative State Caused by Medical Negligence

Coma or persistent vegetative state can happen as a result of an injury suffered during surgery. Some things that can happen during surgery to cause coma or vegetative state are dangerously low blood pressure, vascular pressure as a result of intracranial hemorrhaging, hypoxic brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, lack of oxygen supply to the brain for a long period, infections, and epileptic seizures. In some cases, an anesthesia error produces these conditions.

A coma may last for weeks and end in the patient waking up and recovering, going into a persistent vegetative state, or dying. Often, patients who awaken from long-term comas need long-term care to restore muscle function after weeks or months of immobility and may also need cognitive and speech therapy.

A persistent vegetative state exists if a patient is not considered in a coma but is still not responding. The person may seem to be awake and react to stimuli by smiling or coughing, but they do not have any thinking, reasoning, or communication skills because the higher level of the brain is not functional. The patient generally cannot move, communicate, or care for him or herself. If this state continues for many months, the state may be classified as a permanent vegetative state.

A patient hurt because of medical negligence can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If somebody dies due to medical negligence, certain people in their family can sue for wrongful death on behalf of the decedent.

The plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit based on coma or vegetative state needs to establish that the defendant was a medical provider who breached the standard of professional care and caused coma or vegetative state. It will be necessary to retain an expert who is familiar with the standard of professional care for the medical specialty of the defendant and can testify about whether it was breached as well. In some cases, more than one doctor's error results in coma, and in that case, it may be necessary to retain multiple experts in different specialties to provide expert opinion testimony.

There is only a limited window of time within which to bring a personal injury lawsuit after a loved one falls into a coma or permanent vegetative state as a result of medical malpractice. A plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury (the coma or vegetative state) or the discovery of the harm. If a patient dies as a result of a coma or vegetative state, certain family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit, but it must be brought within two years of the death.

Damages that may be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit include the medical costs of hospitalization and treatment, past and future lost wages, loss of consortium, and sometimes mental anguish or pain and suffering. It can be extremely difficult to prove a patient’s conscious pain and suffering if they were in a coma or vegetative state. In some cases, medical testimony can support this claim, such as when a neurologist testifies about testing and any observations made. Additionally, family members or nurses may have layperson testimony about cries of pain. Additional damages may be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit, including burial and funeral expenses and damages for loss of companionship for family members.

Consult a Skilled Medical Negligence Lawyer in Ocala

It can be extremely upsetting to see a loved one in a coma or persistent vegetative state as a result of actions taken by doctors whom they trusted. You may be able to bring a lawsuit on their behalf or recover wrongful death damages if they pass away. At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced Ocala attorneys can represent you in a lawsuit for damages arising out of coma or persistent vegetative state. Contact us online or at 352-387-8700 for an appointment if you need a hospital negligence lawyer or representation in another type of malpractice claim. We serve people who have been subjected to medical malpractice in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.