Medical malpractice cases deserve Justice
Johns Hopkins study
A May 2016 Johns Hopkins study suggests that medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Analyzing the medical death rate data over an eight-year period, patient safety experts calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the United States. This alarming amount of medical errors now translates to almost 10 percent of all deaths each year in the United States.
Six common causes of medical malpractice
1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis account for a large number of medical malpractice complaints. When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition (or fails to diagnose a serious disease for some time), the patient might miss treatment opportunities that could have prevented serious harm or even death.
In adults, the most common errors of this type relate to the diagnosis of cancer and heart attacks. For children, the most common errors relate to the diagnosis of meningitis. In some cases, diagnosis of these conditions is difficult. They may share symptoms with other common ailments. Unfortunately, failure to diagnose cancer, a heart attack, meningitis, pneumonia, and other serious conditions can be life-threatening.
The key in proving a medical malpractice claim based on misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is to compare what the treating doctor did (or didn’t do) to how other competent doctors within the same specialty would have handled the case. If a reasonably skillful and competent doctor under the same circumstances would not have made the diagnostic error, then the treating doctor may be liable for malpractice.
2. Medication Errors
It has been reported that medication errors harm over 1.5 million people in the United States every year. Medication errors include prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dose, administering the wrong medication or wrong dose, and failure to warn patients of potentially dangerous side effects. In addition, doctors may prescribe the right medication for the diagnosis, but get the diagnosis wrong. In a hospital setting, the right drug might be given to the wrong patient.
However, it has been reported that the most common medication errors involve dosage. The patient gets too much or too little of a drug. This can happen several ways:
- The doctor writes an incorrect dosage on the prescription.
- The prescription is correct, but the nurse administers the incorrect amount.
- Equipment that administers the drug malfunctions, causing a large dose of medication to be administered over a short period of time.
3. Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia mistakes can be more dangerous than surgery mistakes. Even a small error by the anesthesiologist can result in permanent injury, brain damage, or even death. An anesthesiologist can commit medical malpractice even before anesthesia is administered by:
- failing to investigate the patient’s medical history for possible complications, or
- failing to inform the patient of the risks involved if preoperative instructions are not followed (like not eating or drinking for a certain period of time prior to surgery).
Anesthesia errors that can occur during surgery include:
- giving too much anesthesia to the patient
- failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs
- improperly intubating a patient or
- using defective equipment.
4. Surgery Errors
Some medical malpractice claims arise from mistakes made in the operating room. A surgeon might be negligent during the operation itself in many different ways including but not limited to:
- surgery performed on the wrong patient,
- operating on the wrong body part,
- amputation of the wrong limb,
- use of unsanitary surgical tools,
- puncturing internal organs,
- perforation of the bowel,
- procedure performed improperly,
- accidental laceration,
- errant cutting of an unintended muscle or membrane,
- nerve damage,
- leaving surgical instruments (scalpels, pads, gauze or clamps) in the body or
- the nursing staff might be negligent in administering post-op care or instructions which could result in complications like serious infection.
5. Childbirth Injuries
A number of fetal injuries can be caused by medical malpractice, including brain injuries (such as cerebral palsy and seizure disorders), fractured bones, and erb’s and klumpke’s palsy (damage to nerves that control the arms and hands).
typically happens during the delivery period and often towards the end of a long, difficult delivery. Since Erb’s palsy involves nerve damage in the shoulder area, it is widely viewed as a birth injury that is preventable as it’s usually caused by the physician pulling the infant too rough or pulling in an abnormal way.
is a disorder that affects the brain and causes motor deficiency. Cerebral refers to the part of the body affected, and palsy refers to paralysis, as there is an area of the brain that’s dormant or paralyzed, which leads to either partial or complete muscle paralysis. The brain damage usually happens before, during, or shortly after birth and can end up being a lifetime disability for the child. The cause of Cerebral Palsy is a brain injury or brain malformation that occurs while the brain is developing before, during, or after birth. Cerebral palsy can also occur if the child has been deprived of oxygen for too long, dropped, pulled out forcefully, had an instrument-related injury (such as a forceps injury or a vacuum extraction injury), or simply has endured a labor that lasted longer than 18 hours (especially if the child is one baby of multiple births). These birth-related malpractice injuries can be enough to cause a brain damage which then develops into cerebral palsy. However, these injuries may often times be caused by something other than medical malpractice so a thorough investigation is key.
A physician or obstetrician’s negligence can happen during childbirth or long before.
If negligent medical treatment is provided during the pregnancy, it could harm the fetus or the mother or both.
Some examples of negligent prenatal care include the physician or obstetrician’s:
- failure to diagnose a medical condition of the mother, such as preeclampsia, Rh incompatibility, hypoglycemia, anemia, or gestational diabetes
- failure to identify birth defects
- failure to identify ectopic pregnancies, or
- failure to diagnose a disease that could be contagious to the mother’s fetus (such as genital herpes or neonatal lupus).
Common medical errors during childbirth include the physician or obstetrician’s:
- failure to anticipate birth complications due to the baby’s large size or because the umbilical cord got tangled
- failure to respond to signs of fetal distress
- failure to order a cesarean section when one was appropriate, or
- incompetent use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
6. Communication errors
The most common cause of medical malpractice is actually communication error either between doctors or between doctors and the rest of the care team.
Hospitals and other care centers can also be responsible for medical malpractice. These issues usually arise due to failure to maintain equipment, failure to maintain a clean environment (leading to dangerous infections), or failing to adequately train doctors and other staff. Again, another major issue is communication. Hospitals may fail to put the necessary procedures and systems in place to make sure that every member of the team has the information they need about the patient.
Common injuries caused by medical malpractice
There are too many injuries from medical malpractice to list here but some of the most common medical malpractice injuries are:
- Nerve Damage
- Brain Damage
When you’re a patient, you trust you’re in good hands, but even the best doctor or nurse can make a mistake. Doctors and other health care providers should be held to a reasonably high standard. Medical malpractice cases arise when a by a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider fails to provide the standard level of care required of them and this failure causes the patient harm. Simple checklists and verification of procedures plus paying closer attention to the matter at hand can lead to a reduction in common malpractice errors.
Although Cliff Roberts cannot guarantee a recovery in every medical malpractice case, he will seek the maximum amount of compensation for your case if he accepts it. Money damages that are sought in a claim or settlement for malpractice victims may include money for a victim’s past and future: physical and mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical and mental impairment, medical expenses, loss of earnings, and prejudgment and post judgment interest. In addition, compensation in select cases may also be awarded for loss of consortium, loss of household services, loss of services of a minor child, loss of part of the body, loss of mental and intellectual functioning, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of inheritance, loss of chance, pecuniary loss, loss of love and affection, and funeral and burial expenses. Furthermore, punitive damages may be sought in cases where the responsible party acted with malice.
The statute of limitations (deadline for filing a claim) for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit varies by State and depends on the specific facts of each case. If you do not file your claim by the deadline, you will most likely lose your right to recover any money for your claim. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed due to the action or inaction of a health care provider please e-mail us the short case review form so that we may evaluate your case against all of the potentially careless or negligent parties. The evaluation process is free and confidential.
Why Cliff Roberts and what do you deserve as our client?
- You deserve to talk directly with attorney Cliff Roberts within 24 hours of submitting your Free Case Review Form.
- You deserve an attorney that has successfully maintained responsibility for over 1000 injury or death claims.
- You deserve an attorney that will never charge a fee unless a recovery or settlement is reached for you.
- You deserve a persistent and determined attorney with over 25 years experience who is willing to do what it takes for your justice.