Is It Possible to Sue for Medical Malpractice That Occurred Many Years Ago? – Guest Post

Sue for Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is the area of law that deals with the negligence of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and hospitals. A medical malpractice lawsuit occurs when a healthcare professional acts in a negligent manner, jeopardizing the health and safety of a patient and causing life-altering injuries or, in some cases, death. These types of cases are very technica and complex, often requiring legal and medical expertise.

Some situations that may result in a medical malpractice case include:

  • Birth trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain injury
  • Genetic screening for birth defects
  • Delayed diagnosis/misdiagnosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Emergency room error
  • Surgical error
  • Diagnostic error
  • Lack of informed consent
  • Medication and prescription error
  • Hospital negligence
  • Wrongful death

Before pursuing a medical malpractice case, it’s important to understand that these claims are often costly, time-consuming, and challenging for legal teams to successfully litigate.

In order to present a successful medical malpractice claim, there are a number of factors the patient must establish first, including the following:

  1. A physician-patient relationship actually existed.
  1. There was a breach of the standard of care.
  1. Causation (the breach of the standard of care directly resulted in damages).
  1. Damages were incurred.

When determining whether or not a healthcare professional should be held liable, the court will need to consider if the care provided meets the same standards of other reasonable healthcare professionals in the same field.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit provides patients with the support they need to receive compensation for their injuries, while also holding healthcare professionals responsible for their actions.

Different Types of Medical Malpractice 

There are several different types of medical malpractices for which a patient can attempt to pursue a lawsuit. These include the following:

Incorrect Diagnosis 

An incorrect diagnosis refers to situations where a healthcare professional incorrectly diagnoses a patient or fails to properly diagnose an illness, such as cancer or a pulmonary embolism, that an otherwise reasonable medical professional would have noticed.

Obstetric Neglect 

Obstetric neglect occurs when a healthcare professional fails to follow the safety requirements or fails to provide a safe environment for labour and delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia/brachial plexus, spina bifida, or other medical complications.

Medical Misconduct

Medical misconduct involves a scenario where a healthcare professional deviates from the standard of care, resulting in pediatric injuries to toddlers or newborns.

Prenatal Testing Mistakes 

Prenatal testing mistakes occur in the event that a healthcare professional conducts an avoidable error during the prenatal testing process.

Failure to Treat a Problem 

Failure to treat a problem refers to when a healthcare professional fails to address a patient’s issue in an effective and prompt manner.

Prescription Mistakes 

Prescription mistakes include, but are not limited to, when a healthcare professional provides a patient with the wrong medication or administers it in the wrong amount.

Errors in Hospitals and Nursing Homes 

Errors in hospitals and nursing homes include mistakes that involve tests, dosages, surgery, and anesthesia within both hospital and nursing home environments.

Disorders Caused by Medical Malpractice 

Cerebral Palsy 

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders known to affect movement, posture, and muscle tone in children. It is recognized as the most common motor disability in children.


  1. Abnormal brain development
  1. Damage to the brain during pregnancy, birth, or toddlerhood

There are several reasons why infants may be deprived of oxygen or incur trauma to their brain during the process of childbirth. These include:

  • Issues relating to the position of the umbilical cord
  • Problems with the mother’s blood pressure
  • The placenta prematurely detaching from the uterus
  • The infant becomes stuck in the birth canal
  • C-section delayed or improperly carried out
  • Use of medical tools and devices during childbirth


  • Lack of balance and muscle coordination
  • Stiff muscles with exaggerated reflexes
  • Stiff muscles with normal reflexes
  • Muscles being too stiff or too floppy
  • Slow, writhing movements
  • Tremors or involuntary movements
  • Favouring one side of the body
  • Difficulty walking
  • Excessive drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Challenges with sucking and/or eating
  • Delays in speech or difficulty speaking
  • Challenges with fine motor skills
  • Seizures


  • Medications to lessen muscle tightness, treat pain, and manage complications
  • Injections to treat tightening of a specific muscle
  • Physical and occupational therapy to increase strength and balance
  • Braces to help children walk and to stretch stiff muscles

Erb Palsy 

Erb palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne paralysis, is a paralysis of the arm caused by an injury to the upper group of the main nerves supplying it, specifically the upper trunk C5-C6 of the brachial plexus. It is recognized as one of the most common neurological birth injuries.


  1. Traction on the neck during a difficult childbirth
  1. The use of the obstetrical technique during delivery


  • Loss of sensation in the arm
  • Paralysis in the arm
  • Atrophy of the deltoid, biceps, and brachialis muscles
  • “Waiter’s tip hand”


  • Hydrotherapy: The use of an anti-gravity physical therapy treatment.
  • Physiotherapy: Can either be completed alone or in combination with
  • Occupational therapy: Usually required after surgery or for those who experienced long-term damage.
  • Surgery: Used as a last resort, surgical intervention will only be implemented if physical therapy fails to correct the problem.
  • Botulinum toxin injections: Used to relieve contractures.

Quadriplegia or Paraplegia

Quadriplegia and paraplegia are two different kinds of paralysis that typically occur after a spinal cord injury. Quadriplegia refers to loss of movement and sensation in both legs and, sometimes, part of the lower abdomen. Quadriplegia affects all four limbs and, in some people, parts of the chest, abdomen, and back.


  1. Neuromuscular diseases
  1. Spinal cord injuries
  1. Stroke
  1. Cerebral palsy
  1. Multiple sclerosis
  1. Other causes



  • Limited or complete absence of arm and hand function
  • Problems speaking, swallowing, or breathing without assistance
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Difficulty moving from a bed or wheelchair without assistance or the use of a device
  • Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bedsores


  • Damage to sensory nerves
  • Chronic pain
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced bladder and bowel function
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight gain


  • Surgical procedures
  • Medications
  • Rehabilitation
  • Coping strategies and support

How do medical malpractice lawsuits work? 

It can often be very difficult to determine what is considered a proper medical treatment in accordance with industry standards. Working with medical malpractice or cerebral palsy lawyers allows plaintiffs to determine whether or not they have a viable case for medical malpractice. The process includes the following:

  1. Consultation: Consult your medical malpractice lawyers to determine your
  2. Investigation: Have the lawyers launch an investigation to determine whether or not negligence occurred.
  3. Filing a statement of claim: This is recognized as a legal document that sets out the facts of the case and will make a demand for damages.
  4. Discovery: Each side of the case will exchange information.
  1. Presenting evidence: Take the evidence to court where the level of negligence will be presented.
  2. Outcome: If a healthcare professional involved in the care is deemed to be negligent, you may become eligible for compensation.

Medical malpractice cases, especially those involving neurological damage, are complex and require both legal and medical expertise. In order for a medical malpractice claim to be successful, the plaintiff must prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the healthcare professional was negligent in his or her care and decision-making. The plaintiff must establish:

  1. A patient-physician relationship existed.
  1. The healthcare professional breached the standard of care.
  1. The breach of the standard of care caused the injury or damages.

In most cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit needs to be started within two years of when the initial incident occurred. This is typically referred to as the limitation period. It is understood that a reasonable person would have become aware of an injury suffered from a medical practitioner’s actions during this period. Patients injured at birth are given an exception to this rule, with the two-year period not starting until they turn 18.

Some examples of possible malpractice lawsuits involving cerebral palsy include:

  • Failure to detect maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Failure to identify risk factors during pregnancy
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section when necessary
  • Failure to detect signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to properly use delivery tools
  • Failure to treat severe jaundice in a newborn

Why should you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? 

There are a number of reasons to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, including the following:

  1. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can result in compensation that provides you with the money needed to cover unexpected expenses such as home renovations, attendant care, assistive devices, etc.
  1. The compensation from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can also provide money to compensate for any loss of income or lost earning capacity as a result of the injury or damages.
  1. An individual may also receive non-pecuniary damages that are meant to compensate for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of their
  1. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is important for holding healthcare professionals and institutions responsible for their actions, and potentially helping protect other individuals from experiencing the same situation.

Taking Action With Medical Malpractice Lawsuits 

Conditions such as cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities can result directly from medical malpractice. These conditions leave patients with severe, long-term damage, altering the quality of their lives.

Filing medical malpractice lawsuits ensure that healthcare practitioners remain accountable for their actions while allowing patients to receive the necessary compensation for their injuries.

Common malpractice lawsuits involve:

  • Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Failure to properly treat the condition
  • Birth injuries
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Prescription drug errors
  • Anesthetic errors
  • Failure to recommend and order proper testing
  • Not informing patients of risks involved with procedures
  • Premature discharge from the hospital
  • Misread lab test results

Finally, hiring a malpractice lawyer allows you to receive support in determining the validity of your claim, accessing the necessary technical expertise, and establishing the best course of action.

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