Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or provider is negligent with the treatment or provides substandard treatment which causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. Medical errors normally comprise the majority of medical malpractice claims. The error might have occurred because nothing was done or there was a negligent act.
Medical malpractice law takes patients to recover from any harms flowing from the substandard treatment. Healthcare professionals or providers are always liable for all harms caused to the patient. They are only legally liable for the harm developing from the deviation from the quality of care.
Medical professionals and doctors have a standard of care which they are professionally required to follow. Occasionally, they fail to follow the standard of care and the result can be medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is most often the consequence of an improper diagnosis or negligence during medical treatment. Unfortunately, this could cause further damage to the patient’s medical condition and regrettably lead to the patient’s death. The most frequently occurring medical malpractice claims concern the following:
Emergency Room Errors
Failure to Diagnose
Spinal Cord Injuries
Have you suffered medical malpractice and decided to do something about it? Has a family member suffered medical malpractice and needs legal assistance?
ERRORS WITH KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY
Knee replacement surgery involves replacing the upper thigh bone with a metal cap, replacement the end of the lower leg bone with a plastic piece and a metal stem, and possibly removing or replacing a posterior excruciate ligament on both sides of the knee joint. Possible errors that can occur with knee replacement surgery include loss of range of motion, urinary tract infection, bleeding in the knee joint, pulmonary embolism, chronic stiffness, nerve damage, and infection. When the orthopedic surgeon breaches the medical standard of care, you have a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A jury has to determine if the orthopedic surgeon has violated the standard of care after hearing conflicting testimony from orthopedic surgeons from both sides. If you had any of the problems listed above, the surgeon has committed medical malpractice.
PATIENTS ARE AT A SUBSTANTIAL RISK BECAUSE OF EMERGENCY ROOM ERRORS
Overcrowded emergency rooms have been a problem for many years. Many patients are at risk because of overcrowded emergency rooms. The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine found that overcrowded emergency rooms greatly affect the quality of care provided to patients. Overcrowded emergency rooms result in delays in laboratory testing, missed or wrong diagnosis, and medication errors. Patients experience severe pain because there is delay in providing medication. Patients are placed in an obscure corner of the emergency room where their condition cannot be properly treated. Because of overcrowded ER’s, doctors and nurses sometimes do not observe a patient’s deteriorating condition. There is more chance of errors and incorrect diagnosis because the staff has experienced fatigue and burnout. Often, doctors and staff forget to wash their hands while moving among patient to patient. The failure to adhere to hygienic procedures can increase the risk of patient infections. Patients could have lengthier and more costly stays because of the initial poor care received.
The American College of Physicians suggests that the following are signs of overcrowded ER’s. 1) Patient care does not meet the quality standards of the community. 2) Patients boarded in ERs due to the lack of inpatient beds. 3) Patients being treated in hallways. 4) Hospitals diverting or sending away ambulances.
In order to prove an emergency room claim, it must be proven that 1) the patient was harmed by the negligence, 2) the emergency room treatment did not live up to the standard of care, and 3) there was not a good doctor patient relationship.
PREVENTABLE HOSPITAL ERRORS
400,000 American deaths are associated with preventable hospital mistakes. The Journal of Patient Safety estimates that 1/6 of all deaths that occur in the United States each year are attributable to preventable hospital mistakes.
Preventable Errors are as follows:
Diagnostic errors and incorrect or no treatment at all results in delay often leading to death of the patient.
Mistakes of communication among hospital staff
Miscommunication from physician to physician or patient and physician can eliminate poor treatment because of misdiagnosis
Error of Contents. A doctor may fail to take into account patient constraints that might impact treatment after the patient is discharged.
Mistakes of omission occurs when the correct medical treatment is not yet performed or the incorrect medical treatment is taken. This can also occur when the necessary medication was not prescribed.
Patient discharge errors consisted of the following:
Post operative respiratory distress
Hospital acquired infection
Adverse drug events
Nerve or vessel injury or wrong operation
Deep venous thrombosis
Post discharge preventable errors included the following:
Physicians did not report mistakes
Operative organ injury
Operative surgical wound breaking open, along with the sutures
Deep venous thrombosis-blood clot
Physicians often refuse to report hospital errors and mistakes. The Office of Inspector General reported that 86% of patient harmful events were not reported by the hospital staff. The U.S. Department of Health Services published a report indicating that an estimated 50,000 less patients died and 1.3 million fewer patients were harmed in hospitals from 2010 to 2013 as a result of better health care efforts.
What is a Surgical Error?
When medical surgeons deviate from the established standards of care, surgical mistakes occur. Just because there was a surgical error, it does not necessarily mean medical malpractice. For example, if somebody has an allergy, the surgeon would not have any means to learn of this. Therefore, the surgeon would not be liable for any allergic reactions. The surgeon would be liable if he violates the established standards of care.
Although all surgeries have an inherent risk, surgical errors are a preventable mistake which occurs during surgery. The following are surgical errors:
1) Leaving surgical instruments inside patients
2) Avoidable infections
3) Operating on the wrong patient
4) Operating on the wrong body part
5) Injuring a nerve
6) Poor Communication. Hospitals are very busy places and unfortunately sometimes there is poor communication.
7) Surgeons sometimes take shortcuts. If the surgeon takes a short cut during surgery, the consequences can be devastating because this is improper work process.
8) Poor Reviewing and Preparing Pre-operation. It is very important that the surgeon be well prepared.
9) Lack of Skills. Sometimes the surgeon is not competent to perform the procedure.
The most dangerous aspect of any surgery normally is the anesthesia. If the anesthesiologist violates the standard of care, this could lead to serious injuries and even death. 200,000 deaths occur annually because of anesthesia malpractice although there have been vast medical advances concerning anesthesia over the years. These medical errors include improperly intubating patients, failure to inform the patient of the risk involving the surgery, failure to maintain patient’s vital signs, use of unsanitary or effective equipment, and obtaining the patient’s complete medical history concerning any complications. Anesthesia medical malpractice claims are the most difficult to prove. As an anesthesiologist malpractice attorney, we determine each step of the surgical procedure.
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Las Cruces, NM 88005
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