If you were injured on a cruise ship, you may have needed emergency treatment for your injuries and health problems. The cruise ship’s medical team might have been ill-equipped to treat you, or perhaps they made the injuries worse. If you were treated at a hospital in another country or received negligent care at a hospital once you got to shore, you could have faced substantial medical costs and suffered substantial pain and suffering because of the negligent care.
The attorneys for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. fight to seek compensation for victims of this kind of negligent medical care. If you or a loved one was injured on a cruise and suffered from negligent healthcare and medical attention after the injury, our lawyers may be able to help you seek justice. Call our attorneys today at (305) 204-5369 to discuss setting up a free legal consultation.
Getting Medical Care for Injuries and Medical Emergencies on a Cruise Ship
Cruise ships often have doctors and nurses on staff to help treat medical emergencies on board. Most cruise ship infirmaries are ill-equipped to handle serious emergencies and usually do not have the facilities to handle care beyond treating simple cuts, scrapes, and breaks or dealing with patients suffering from seasickness or food poisoning. In cases of serious injuries or potentially fatal medical emergencies, the cruise ship’s medical staff may need to send the patient back to shore to get care.
This often means spending hours on a helicopter or smaller ship to return to shore – and you may need to wait hours for that medivac helicopter or vessel to arrive. During that time, your condition could degrade and your injuries could get worse. The emergency treatment provided on the ship might be “the best they can do,” but sometimes this care does not even reach that level.
When you get to shore, you may be lucky enough to receive quality care, but if you are sent to a foreign hospital or receive sub-par medical care, you could be left facing additional injuries and complications. In many cases, you could need additional healthcare to correct the results of this negligent care, potentially including additional surgeries or treatments.
By the end of this process, you could be left in a foreign hospital, lingering in pain, and facing severe mental and emotional distress. Once you get home, you could require additional surgeries and recovery, plus rehabilitation and physical therapy, all because of the negligent care you received on and off the ship.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice on a Cruise Ship?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is hurt because a healthcare professional did not act in accordance with the standard of medical care applicable to their area of expertise. Simply put, when determining if medical malpractice occurred, you must investigate whether your doctor acted as they were supposed to.
Not all mistakes made by doctors constitute medical malpractice. Especially because of the limited facilities on a ship, your doctor might have done everything they could, but it might not have been enough.
If you suspect you were hurt because of negligent care you received on a cruise ship, our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can help assess the strength of your case.
Examples of Medical Malpractice that Occur on Cruise Ships
There are several forms of medical malpractice that can occur on a cruise ship. Our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can help investigate whether your injuries stem from one of the following causes:
Medication errors are a common type of medical malpractice that occurs on cruise ships. Harmful complications can arise when patients are administered medication incorrectly or are given the wrong prescriptions. For example, physicians should ask patients if they are currently taking any prescription medication before prescribing more. Doctors may commit medical malpractice by prescribing a patient medication that dangerously interacts with one they are already taking. Furthermore, your doctor should ask if you are allergic to any medications before offering a prescription. If your doctor prescribes you a medication to which you are allergic, they may have committed medical malpractice. Our attorneys can help build your case after suffering a medication error on a cruise ship.
Failure to Provide Informed Consent
Medical malpractice can also happen when doctors on cruise ships fail to provide informed consent to their patients. Physicians are required to warn their patients of any inherent risks associated with potential treatments and procedures. Your understanding of these risks if known as your informed consent. If you lack informed consent, you may agree to a potentially harmful treatment or procedure that you otherwise would not have accepted.
There are specific steps healthcare professionals must follow when providing informed consent. The main components of informed consent are the following:
- Your doctor let you know of all risks, benefits, and alternatives for care associated with your treatment or procedure
- You understood your doctor’s disclosure
- You executed a waiver or acknowledgement that you understood the disclosure
If you believe you suffered injuries because your cruise ship doctor failed to provide you with informed consent, you should contact our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes for help determining the proper course of action.
Another type of medical malpractice that occurs on cruise ships involves misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis refers to situations where a physician does not accurately identify a patient’s injury or illness. To be considered medical malpractice, a doctor’s misdiagnosis has to cause harm by leading to the administration of improper medical care, delayed treatment, or lack of treatment.
Doctors who ignore the signs and symptoms of patients’ illnesses are often guilty of misdiagnosis. For instance, a doctor who brushes off a patient’s complaints of headaches may be guilty of medical malpractice if it is discovered that the patient had a brain tumor. Our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can help obtain compensation for any injuries related to a doctor’s misdiagnosis.
Suing for Medical Negligence and Hospital Mistakes on a Cruise Ship
There are two general routes to suing a cruise ship to get compensation for the negligent medical care or sub-par treatment you received after an injury on a cruise ship. In cases where the initial injury was caused by the cruise ship’s negligence, you might be entitled to have all care costs covered by the cruise ship – including the costs of any negligent healthcare you receive. In other cases where the initial medical emergency was an accident or resulted from natural causes, you may still be able to sue the cruise ship for failing to respond appropriately.
Suing for Medical Malpractice After a Cruise Ship Injury
In cases where the injury occurred because the cruise ship’s staff was negligent or careless, you should be entitled to have all costs resulting from the injury covered in a lawsuit. When you are a passenger on a cruise ship, the ship and its crew have legal duties to keep you safe. A breach of those duties that allows you to be injured can be grounds for you to sue the cruise ship and the company that operates it for damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other foreseeable harms.
In these kinds of cases, the additional damages from negligent healthcare or medical malpractice are considered foreseeable, and the party who was initially responsible for your accident can usually be made to pay these damages. This means that if the cruise ship caused your injuries, they are likely on the hook to pay for any medical expenses that stem from the injury, including negligent care and the additional care necessary to treat the results of medical malpractice.
Suing for Negligent Care at a Cruise Ship Infirmary
If your injuries were caused by a freak accident, or you suffered injuries from “natural causes,” such as a stroke or heart attack, the ship might not be responsible for the initial injuries. However, their doctors are required to provide you with adequate care and their medivac services are required to get you to a hospital promptly. If there were mistakes or errors in this care, the cruise company might be responsible for those errors.
If the ship’s doctors fail to recognize signs of a heart attack and send you back to your cabin or misdiagnose another medical issue, you could quickly suffer additional complications and injuries. A ship’s doctor is still a licensed physician and must follow certain standards in your care and diagnosis, even if they have limited facilities to treat you. Failing to uphold those standards is unacceptable, and the cruise ship should be held responsible for the additional expenses, pain, and suffering this negligence causes you. The same is true if the medivac team causes you unnecessary delays in your care that make your symptoms or problems worse.
Common Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice and Hospital Mistakes on Cruise Ships
There are a wide range of injuries that may occur as the result of medical malpractice and hospital mistakes committed by healthcare professionals on cruise ships. These injuries may cause victims to endure great physical pain, emotional suffering, and financial hardship. Our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can help victims pursue monetary damages related to any of the following types of harm:
Infections are a common injury suffered by victims of medical malpractice and hospital mistakes. Sterilization and contamination issues in infirmaries can lead to severe infections. For instance, a patient receiving stitches for a laceration may suffer an infection because a doctor’s tools were not properly sterilized. In severe cases, these types of infections can be fatal.
Allergic reactions are also a common injury caused by medical malpractice on cruise ships. These types of injuries can cause serious, painful symptoms. Patients may sustain allergic reactions because physicians did not check for their known allergies before administering harmful prescription medications. Victims can contact our experienced lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes for help building their cases.
Also, many patients on cruise ships are injured because of overdoses caused by medical malpractice. Unfortunately, some patients incur severe injuries because their doctors administered an incorrect dose of medication. If you suffered an overdose because of negligent medical care received on a cruise ship, you should contact our lawyers for help evaluating the legal options available to you.
Types of Damages Awarded to Plaintiffs in Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
There are multiple categories of monetary damages plaintiffs may recover if their medical malpractice cases are successful. The type of damages awarded in your case will likely be dependent on the extent of harm caused by your injuries. Our lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can help determine which of the following types of damages you may recover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Damages awarded for medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and property damage are all referred to as “economic damages.” That is because these are easily verifiable financial losses.
Damages for pain and suffering, however, are more difficult to quantify. Pain and suffering damages are known as “non-economic” damages and are usually calculated by looking at the overall impact your injuries have had on your life. Complex evidence may be required in order to support a claim for non-economic damages. Accordingly, the assistance of our experienced lawyers for cruise ship medical malpractice and hospital mistakes can be highly valuable when pursuing compensation related to the physical pain and emotional suffering you endured.
Call Our Medical Malpractice and Hospital Mistake Injury Lawyers for Cruise Ship Passengers
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind represent injury victims on cruise ships and other vessels. Our lawyers work to hold cruise lines accountable for unnecessary injuries to passengers as well as negligent care they face after those injuries. If you or a loved one suffered sub-standard healthcare at a cruise ship infirmary or you were evacuated to shore and received negligent medical care at the hospital, our attorneys may be able to help. For a free legal consultation on your potential case and to learn more about seeking compensation for the medical malpractice you suffered after a cruise ship injury, contact us today at (305) 204-5369.