Are You or a Loved One a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that as many as 98,000 patients die each year in the United States as a result of medical malpractice. Diagnostic errors and medication errors are the most common types of medical malpractice and may be responsible for up to 1.5 million preventable injuries every year. Surgical errors and other medical mistakes account for the remainder of medical malpractice cases in the United States.
It is not unusual for accidents to occur when undergoing medical treatment. However, when an injury results from medical treatment that deviates from accepted standards of practice, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be the only way for the patient to recover damages. If you have suffered serious injury at the hands of negligent doctors, hospitals or other medical professionals, you may be entitled to considerable compensation for your pain and suffering as well as future and past lost wages and medical bills.
Medical malpractice cases typically require a significant amount of research and careful presentation to be successfully litigated. This is because a favorable outcome requires proof that there was a failure to provide a level of care that is commensurate with accepted standards and that such failure was the cause of the injury.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose: A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can prevent a patient from catching their disease early, when it is most responsive to treatment. Failure to order a necessary diagnostic test, misinterpretation of lab results and ignoring a patient’s complaints are costly mistakes that can be particularly devastating in cases of rapidly progressive illnesses. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include lung cancer, breast cancer and heart attacks.
Birth Injury: A birth injury typically results from prolonged labor, improper use of forceps, breech delivery or oxygen deprivation. Most birth injuries, such as swelling or bruising, are not serious and heal with little treatment. However, serious birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, can leave a child permanently disabled, placing a heavy financial burden on the infant’s parents.
Surgical Errors: Wrong site surgery, medication errors, organ puncture and use of unsanitary surgical tools are common forms of surgical errors. Many surgical mistakes occur when a doctor misreads a medical chart, neglects to review medical instructions or improperly clears a patient for surgery. In the most serious cases, surgical errors can result in a loss of function, disfigurement or death.
Medication Errors: Prescription errors can result from medication mix-ups and other types of medical negligence. Mistakes that may cause medication errors include prescribing an incorrect dosage, not considering a patient’s age or medical history when prescribing medicine, disregarding allergies or similar negligent actions that can affect a patient’s health while taking a drug. Medication errors can occur in hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies and are one of the most easily traceable types of medical malpractice.
Anesthesia Mistakes: Anesthesia errors can also occur when an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist fails to properly administer anesthesia to a patient, resulting in complications such as inadequate drug dosing, anesthesia awareness and wrongful death.
Failure to Treat: Medical malpractice claims for failure to treat include conditions such as prematurely discharging a patient, failing to follow-up or re-evaluate, or failing to recommend or refer a patient to a specialist for further treatment.
Defective Products: Sometimes it’s not the hospital, doctor or anesthesiologist that is to blame for wrongful death or medical sufferings. Sometimes the equipment or medical products used during the patient’s stay at hospital are to blame and the product manufacturers have been negligent. In some cases, the product may not have passed safety standards.
Emergency Room Errors: Emergency rooms can be pretty chaotic, and the position of an emergency room physician is one of the most challenging in medicine. Because of these realities, medical malpractice law may allow an emergency room physician more leeway than might be afforded to other doctors who have the luxury of time to contemplate a proper course of treatment. However, any such leeway is limited, and emergency room physicians can still be held liable for any harm that comes to a patient as the result of sub-standard care.
The most common types of emergency room errors include the following:
- Breaching the standard level of care which most other reasonable doctors would have provided under similar circumstances. The standard level of care in an emergency situation may not be as high as the level of care in a lower-stress environment.
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or the misreading of medical tests. Emergency rooms are fast-paced environments. A wrong initial assessment could not only lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, it could also result in the patient’s condition worsening.
- Medication or prescription errors. A majority of emergency room errors are a result of either a patient being given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a prescription. These types of errors can be caused by general negligence or through inadequate medication administration procedures.
- Patient dumping. Patient dumping is a very unethical practice that often results in fatality. If a patient comes into the emergency room and is unable to prove their ability to pay for treatment, some facilities may refuse to treat them. Others may only provide partial or inadequate treatment or delay in treating the patient until it is too late. If a patient is too incoherent to provide insurance or other financial information or are not accompanied by anyone who can provide information for them, an emergency room may dump them.
Don’t wait until it is too late: there is a legal deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim that must be met. If you happen to fall outside the deadline, your claim will be barred from coming to court. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury as the result of the negligence of a doctor, hospital, nurse or other medical professional or facility, please call 877-886-1441 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Home and hospital visits are available upon request.