Doctor in Nevada Suspended After Medical Malpractice Complaints
According to a report from 2 News, the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners has suspended the license of Samuel Chacon, a physician who most recently practiced in the Reno area. Mr. Chacon faced multiple medical malpractice complaints and was arrested in an unrelated incident last year. Within this article, our Las Vegas medical malpractice lawyer provides an overview of the allegations and explains the legal standard for medical malpractice claims in Nevada.
Allegations: Nevada Doctor Committed Malpractice in High-Risk Pregnancy
The Board of Medical Examiners for Nevada has suspended Reno Dr. Samuel Chacon’s license due to acts jeopardizing the well-being of his patients. Dr. Chacon, affiliated with the Women’s Health Center of Reno and a licensed gynecologist since 2003, was among 27 individuals arrested in a 2022 undercover sex sting near the University of Nevada, Reno. A month post-arrest, Chacon voluntarily gave up his hospital privileges at Renown Regional Medical Center.
However, an investigation highlighted an incident where he failed to refer a high-risk twin pregnancy patient to a specialist. Instead, Mr. Chacon recommended she go to the Renown emergency room—thereby leading her to enter labor. An initial report from the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners found that this decision by the doctor put the patient and her twins in grave danger as she was not induced as advised by a high-risk pregnancy specialist.
An Overview of Medical Malpractice Laws in Nevada
Medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex. Proving that you suffered an adverse health outcome after seeking medical care is not sufficient to bring a successful medical malpractice claim in Las Vegas. Here are some key things to understand about medical malpractice liability in Nevada:
- A Doctor-Patient Relationship Must Be Established: The foundational step in any medical malpractice case in Nevada is to establish a doctor-patient relationship. Simply put, a patient cannot allege malpractice against a doctor or healthcare provider if there is no pre-existing and formalized relationship between them. For instance, overhearing a doctor’s advice at a party does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. To bring a medical malpractice claim in Nevada, the plaintiff must prove that they engaged the doctor or healthcare professional’s services, and a relationship was thereby formally established.
- Victims Must Prove Harm Caused By the Breach of the Standard of Care: Once a doctor-patient relationship is affirmed, the onus is on the patient (now the plaintiff) to prove that the doctor breached the accepted standard of care. The standard of care refers to the generally accepted procedures and practices that other professionals in the same field would consider appropriate under similar circumstances. However, proving a breach is not enough; the plaintiff must also demonstrate that this breach directly caused them harm.
- An Affidavit of Merit is Required By Law: Nevada takes the validity of medical malpractice claims very seriously. To this end, before proceeding with a lawsuit, plaintiffs are required to submit an “Affidavit of Merit.” This is a document from a medical expert, asserting that the patient’s case has merit. Essentially, this expert will confirm that the doctor or healthcare professional in question did, in their professional opinion, deviate from the standard of care. Nevada law put these criteria in place to deter frivolous lawsuits and to ensure that malpractice cases brought to court have a foundational basis for consideration.
- Non-Economic Damages are Capped, Economic Damages are Not Capped: Nevada’s malpractice laws have provisions that specifically address the damages recoverable in a lawsuit. Economic damages, like medical bills or lost wages, do not have a cap. In effect, this means the plaintiff can recover any amount proven in court. On the other hand, non-economic damages, which encompass pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other more subjective injuries, have long been capped at $350,000. However, a new law based in 2023 will allow that cap to rise to $750,000 over the course of the next five years. A top Las Vegas medical malpractice lawyer can help you seek the maximum possible financial compensation for your claim.
Contact Our Las Vegas Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas medical malpractice attorneys have the specialized skills that you can trust. If you or your loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, we are here to help you hold the doctor, hospital, and/or other healthcare provider accountable. Contact us today for a free case review. From our Las Vegas office, we handle medical malpractice cases throughout Nevada.