Medical Malpractice and Employment: What You Need to Know

Steven Schwartzapfel Jan 2, 2016
Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can leave a person facing more medical bills, treatment, and pain and suffering than they should ever have had to endure. But, what some people may not consider is how medical malpractice, especially with a delay or failure to diagnose, can impact a person’s career and even their ability to earn an income in the future.

For example, a woman is complaining of pain in her back. She sees her regular physician and her physician decides that it’s nothing more than spasms. He prescribes medications and recommends physical therapy. The patient, however, notices the pain does not go away and after a few more weeks of that pain intensifying, she seeks a second opinion. The new physician runs additional tests only to realize that the pain was caused by a tumor. Because it was not diagnosed in time, the tumor has now spread and the patient will need surgery as well as extensive chemotherapy.

The patient discusses the treatment with her employer and fills out the necessary forms to take FMLA leave (Family and Medical Leave Act). She has 12 weeks with FMLA, and she leaves not worrying about her job. But, after her 12 weeks are up, her employer terminates her position since they assume under FMLA that they are no longer legally obligated to hold her position.

The Problem

While employers may have the right to terminate after the 12 weeks of leave have been consumed, that does not mean they can terminate an employee the day FMLA expires. In fact, with regards to the above example, the employer may have violated this employee’s rights and possibly even discriminated against her disability.

When an employee leaves for medical purposes, an employer must have a discussion with that employee about her returning to work. They must discuss her plans – if she can return and when she will return – before terminating.

The Solution

The employee in this example only required extensive time away from work because she was left undiagnosed at first. Had she been diagnosed properly the first time by her physician, it is unlikely she would have needed as long of a treatment or extensive time away from her job. This is where a medical malpractice attorney comes in.

An attorney will first deal with the physician that failed to diagnose the patient’s cancer, causing more pain, financial losses, and possibly even diminishing her quality of life. Then, the attorney will deal with the employer that possibly violated federal laws as well as the employee’s rights by terminating her because of her condition.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. Today

If you have been misdiagnosed or if a physician failed to diagnose a serious condition that led to more in-depth and unnecessary treatments, speak with a medical malpractice attorney at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. over a free consultation. Schedule your appointment at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

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