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The medical malpractice review panel

Medical procedures gone wrong can have devastating effects on the lives of patients. They can result in permanent disability, pain and, sometimes, even death. Many times, such incidents are merely a consequence of chance. Sometimes, preventable accidents result from the negligence of an attending physician. In such cases, the only recourse a patient may have is filing a medical malpractice suit.

Ordinarily, in Louisiana, you cannot go to court directly with a medical malpractice suit. You have to follow an administrative process first. This process involves the medical review panel. Three doctors make up the panel. They must work in the same field as the doctor who is under scrutiny. The panels also includes an attorney who cannot vote.

You have to state certain things in your application for a medical review. First your name and that of the defendant doctor must be in the application. It must also specify the name of the claimants, the date of alleged medical malpractice and a short description of the incident in question.  

Once the panel is up and running, it has six months to decide if the health care provider committed an act of medical malpractice. You and your lawyers can take advantage of discovery during this period. During meetings of the panel, the lawyers for each side submit evidence for the panel to consider. Only the three doctor panelists get to vote on whether medical negligence happened or not.

The panel can side with either the patient or the doctor. Alternatively, it may be unable to give an expert opinion. Whatever the case, you have to go to court within 90 days or risk being unable to take legal action due to the statute of limitations. Because the information provided here is only general in nature, it is always advisable to consult a medical malpractice lawyer.

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