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Medical Malpractice

12 Causes of Medical Malpractice

December 31, 2015

Considering the thousands of medical events that occur daily in Illinois doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics, medical malpractice is a relatively rare event. But when malpractice occurs, it can be a very traumatic and stressful event for patients and their families. Due to negligence, misinterpretation of circumstances or simple mistakes, many malpractice suits are justified and compensation for resulting pain from injury or even death may be forthcoming.

Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals or facilities provide substandard treatment that results in unnecessary injury or death. These events could be a result of a misdiagnosis, inappropriate health management, incorrect treatment or improper follow-up procedures.

Diagnostic errors alone cause approximately 160,000 deaths annually.

The causes of medical malpractice can be categorized into four situations: outpatient, inpatient, child birth issues and medication administration. Some causes are not exclusive to a single category.

Outpatient Cases

On occasion, patients have gone to a physician or clinic for an ailment or illness and malpractice events have occurred. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago can discuss these events.

Misdiagnosis- as many as 160,000 deaths resulted directly from misdiagnosis. For adults, the most common errors related to heart attack and cancer-related situations. Misdiagnosis may occur when a physician assigns a lesser condition to a patient who has a more severe condition such as cancer.  For children, the diagnostic errors typically relate to cancer and meningitis.

Late or Delayed Diagnosis – in some cases, physicians have forestalled diagnosis while waiting for the problem to go away as the condition worsened.

Failure to Treat – premature dismissal from care or delaying treatment may allow a condition to worsen until conventional treatment becomes ineffective. This is often a result of high patient loads and overwork causing the physician to “move along” quickly.

Failure to Consult or Refer in a Timely Manner – if the physician delays referral to a specialist, proper treatment and healing are delayed.

Inpatient Cases

After patients were admitted into a hospital for surgery, a number of malpractice events have occurred. A staggering 195,000 U.S, patients die per year due to preventable hospital errors. Common surgical and hospital staff-related issues have included:

Improper medications/dosages – though there are checks in place, the wrong medication or dosages have been administered. This can result in continuation of the pain plus some unexpected side effects. Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago can help.

Failure to Obtain Informed Consent – in the process of securing agreement for a proposed surgery, the patient must be fully apprised of the procedures, anesthesia and potential outcomes of any surgery. The patient must acknowledge that the information was provided in advance. Omission of information may constitute malpractice.

Anesthesia Problems – patients have been substantially harmed and even died as a result of improper anesthetic administration. Some typical causes are too much anesthesia, failure to properly monitor the patient’s vital signs during surgery and using defective equipment.  It is estimated that 1 in 10 adults over 65 years old will die while under anesthesia.

Unnecessary Surgical Procedures – there have been numerous cases of surgery being performed that could not be justified.

Operating on the Wrong Body Part – whether due to high volume or a mix-up by hospital staff, operating on the wrong body part is considered a severe medical error.

Leaving Objects Inside the Patient Following Surgery –instances of surgical instruments, sponges and other material left inside patients after surgery have resulted in malpractice awards that had to be removed later.

Infections – a staph infection may occur because of unclean instruments or non-sterilized material in the operating area. If this happens to you, contact medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago.

Nerve, Organ or Tissue Damage – these conditions may result from inadvertent surgical contact. An example of inadvertent gall bladder injury. According to a Johns Hopkins study, surgical errors of varying degrees occurred at least 4,000 times in 2012.

Maternity Cases

Negligent Birth Care: improper care or negligence of newborns have resulted in injury or death to infants. Contact experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago if this has happened to your family.

Delivery Malpractice: procedures have occurred before, during or after childbirth that have caused serious and unnecessary injury to mothers. Maternity malpractice cases have included not performing Caesarean sections when appropriate, failing to respond to signs of fetal distress and improper use of extraction implements.

Medication Administration

Incorrect Prescriptions – along with a potential misdiagnosis can come an incorrect medication that is not appropriate for the existing condition.

Improper Dosages – if a prescription calls for an improper dosage, the patient may suffer unnecessarily.

Legal Recourse

Injured parties or \relatives should only consult with proven medical malpractice lawyersin Chicago who are familiar with medical procedures, patients’ legal rights and have extensive experience in the field of medical law.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.