You might think that going to the hospital when you’re sick is the best thing you can do for your health, and you’re right the majority of the time. The majority of the time, you will have a perfectly normal if not exceptional hospital experience. The issue is that slim little chance you have that things will go wrong. Each year in the United States, roughly 16,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed–with over 1,000 just in the Chicago area–and there are 250,000 medical malpractice-related deaths–that’s nearly ten percent of annual deaths in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know about medical malpractice and how to find a skilled medical malpractice lawyer should you need one.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s negligence or failure to provide the standard of care results in injury, harm, or death to a patient. The impact of medical malpractice can be devastating, and it is essential to understand the different causes so you know what to look at for. Here are some examples of common medical malpractice cases:
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
One of the most common causes of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. This is when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition promptly, or diagnoses it incorrectly. This mistake can lead to incorrect treatment, where a patient is prescribed medication or treatment that they don’t need, which both fails to treat their actual problems and has the potential to worsen their condition. This could also lead to a lack of treatment altogether, causing the patient’s condition to go untreated, continuing to worsen, potentially until it becomes fatal.
Medication errors are mistakes in prescribing or administering medication that can result in significant harm to patients. These mistakes could include administering the wrong dosage, which has the potential to either fail to treat a patient’s condition or cause them to overdose. They could be given the wrong medication altogether, which would cause them to experience unnecessary symptoms, might interact negatively with their current medications, and would fail to treat their condition. Another mistake could include incorrect administration methods. This could mean not giving patients their doses at the right times throughout the day.
One of the most terrifying causes of medical malpractice cases is surgical errors. Surgical errors encompass a wide range of mistakes that can occur during a surgical procedure. One such error includes wrong-site surgery, where doctors will operate on the wrong part of the body. There have been horror stories of patients having the wrong limb amputated or the wrong side of their head drilled into. There have also been instances where doctors have left surgical instruments inside the patient after completing the surgery. Another common mistake includes damaging nearby organs during surgery, which can result in severe complications and lasting harm. The most terrifying surgical error, however, is anesthesia error. This could include the administration of improper doses, which could accidentally kill patients if they’re given too much, or could cause patients to be awake during surgery if they’re given too little. There have been cases when patients have remained fully awake and aware of everything that was happening to them during surgery while being unable to do anything about it.
Inadequate Conformed Consent
Patients have the right to be informed about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a proposed treatment. Failure to obtain informed consent can result in a malpractice claim if the patient suffers harm as a result.
Given the fact that the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates, it should come as no surprise that birth injuries are so common. Negligence during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can lead to severe birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, brain damage, and nerve injuries. These injuries can have lifelong consequences for the child and their family.
How to Find a Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you’ve experienced medical malpractice, you must take a stand and file a lawsuit to hold irresponsible doctors accountable for their negligence and prevent them from doing any more harm. To do this, you must find the right lawyer to have your back. Look for a lawyer with lots of experience, especially in handling cases similar to yours. It’s also important to find a lawyer that you feel you can trust since you’ll be working so closely together and you might be forced to divulge personal information to them so that they can build a strong case. You need a lawyer that makes you believe you’re in good hands.