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Questions about Medical Malpractice

What must be proven to determine medical malpractice?

In order to prove negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit, your lawyer will need to establish that your healthcare provider failed to provide treatment that meets the standards established by the medical community, and that you suffered an injury as a result. This may sound straightforward, but these cases are actually very complex and difficult to win. In fact, only around 25 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits result in a monetary recovery for the victim. In order to give yourself the greatest chances of a successful outcome, you will need to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who understands both the legal and medical principles involved in your case.

How can I increase my chances of winning a medical malpractice lawsuit?

It is important to have accurate documentation of every aspect of your care associated with the injury.  Documentation can be obtained by reviewing medical records and interviewing medical professionals involved in your care at the time of your injury.

Bradford & Albert work with a team of medical experts in a variety of fields including neurosurgery, anesthesia, maternal fetal medicine, obstetrics, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology and cardiology to thoroughly investigate your claim and assist in building a strong case on your behalf.

What damages can I seek in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Typically, you can seek the same damages in a medical malpractice claim as with any other personal injury lawsuit. This may include:

  1. All related immediate and long-term medical expenses
  2. Rehabilitation costs
  3. Current and future lost wages
  4. Loss of quality of life
  5. Pain and suffering

If your loved one died due to medical malpractice, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking damages for funeral expenses, loss of future financial contributions, loss of household services and loss of parental guidance as well.

Is my choice of attorney important in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Your choice of attorney is very important in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Knowing how to choose a medical malpractice attorney can make all the difference in the success of your claim.  See Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer.

Types of Surgical Errors

The most common types of surgical errors include:

  1. Anesthesia errors
  2. Wrong-site surgery
  3. Internal damage caused by incorrect incisions or carelessness
  4. Poor sanitation
  5. Surgical items left inside of a patient
  6. Failure to consider a patient’s medical history
  7. Unnecessary surgery

While the ethical response after a surgical error is to be honest with the patient and do everything possible to address the damage caused by the error, this is rarely the approach taken by hospitals. Instead, medical staff will often scramble to cover their mistakes and deny any wrongdoing.

With our team of medical experts we can help you hold all responsible parties liable for your damages and ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.

The Dangers of Surgical Errors

Surgical errors often result in catastrophic injuries such as:

  1. Brain injury
  2. Spinal cord injury
  3. Loss of limb or organ function
  4. Paralysis
  5. Infection
  6. Death

Common Emergency Room Errors

Under the intense pressure inherent in emergency room environments, nurses, doctors, and administrative staff must keep a clear head at all times. This is vital for the safety and effective treatment of everyone who enters the ER. When they fail to do so, emergency room errors increase dramatically.

Common emergency room errors include:

  1. Failure to diagnose
  2. Surgical errors
  3. Medication errors
  4. Anesthesia errors
  5. Laboratory errors
  6. Failure to treat a patient
  7. Failure to monitor a patient
  8. Unsanitary practices

When you are injured due to an emergency room error, you have a right to seek compensation for any additional damages you suffered. Due to the complex nature of these cases, proving negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be extremely difficult. It is important to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can ensure your rights are protected.

Frequently Misdiagnosed Cancers

There are over 150 types of known cancer. The most commonly misdiagnosed cancers include:

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Cervical cancer
  3. Ovarian cancer
  4. Prostate cancer
  5. Testicular cancer
  6. Colon cancer
  7. Lung cancer
  8. Renal cancer

These are the most common, but not the only types of cancer that can go undiagnosed. A lump or tumor can appear anywhere on or in your body. All too often, your doctor may choose to ignore a potential warning sign or to pass it off as “nothing to be worried about.” This results in thousands of misdiagnosed cancer cases every year, making treatment more difficult, if not impossible.

Who is to Blame?

A cancer misdiagnosis may be the responsibility of a doctor or physician. It may also be the fault of a radiologist, pathologist, hospital facility, or laboratory technician. Knowing whom to hold liable is part of what makes medical malpractice cases so incredibly complex. You will need an experienced attorney on your side to ensure the proper party is held responsible and you are compensated for all of your damages.

Meningitis

Approximately 25,000 people contract meningitis every year. Two thirds of these are children. Meningitis generally starts out with flu-like symptoms including fevers, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. That plays a large role in the misdiagnosis of meningitis although, other symptoms may include sensitivity to light or sound, neck stiffness, lethargy, or irritability. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of meningitis is essential. When a doctor fails to diagnose meningitis, the result can be permanent neurological damage, or even death.

How Can a Doctor Misdiagnose Meningitis?

As a parent, you may think your child’s symptoms are merely the flu. When flu-like symptoms do not go away within a few days, it is common to consult with your doctor to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

Your doctor should listen carefully to your concerns, fully assess your child’s symptoms, and order the appropriate tests. Meningitis is common, particularly in children between the ages of birth and two years old. If your child is suffering from symptoms associated with meningitis, your doctor should take the appropriate steps to confirm or rule it out as the cause of your child’s health problems.

Meningitis can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough. If the cause of your child’s meningitis is viral, anti-viral drugs can also be an effective treatment. In both instances, meningitis is simple to treat if caught early, but a misdiagnosis often leads to catastrophic results, including death.

You Need an Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered from misdiagnosis of meningitis, you face devastating consequences. Medical expenses, lost wages, an impacted quality of life, brain injury and even a loss of life are all possible from this common medical error.

Medication Errors

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Reporting has found that 1.9 million Americans suffer an injury due to medication errors every year. Sadly, many medication errors can easily be avoided if a prescribing doctor, pharmacist, or nurse takes the time necessary to properly instruct a patient on correct dosages. Other instances of common medication errors occur as a result of a medical professional prescribing a drug that is incorrect for a patient’s condition or due to a pharmacist filling the wrong prescription.

When a healthcare professional fails to take the proper steps to ensure that your prescribed medication is safe and appropriate for your condition, it constitutes negligence. If an injury results from this negligence, you may have a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Common Medication Errors

In a five-year study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was found that over 40 percent of fatal medication errors were the result of improper dosages. Over 30 percent of fatal medication errors were due to either giving the wrong prescription or administering the medication through the wrong route. Injuries from these medication errors can include:

  1. Internal bleeding
  2. Kidney damage
  3. Liver damage
  4. Brain damage
  5. Seizures
  6. Coma

These injuries often result in increased medical expenses, lost wages, and in some cases may even permanently impact your quality of life.

How a Doctor Fails to Diagnose

A doctor may fail to diagnose a medical condition for a number of reasons. Commonly, a failed diagnosis is the result of negligent actions including:

  1. A failure to listen to a patient’s concerns
  2. A failure to recognize a patient’s symptoms
  3. A failure to order appropriate tests
  4. A failure to read tests appropriately
  5. A failure to refer a patient to a specialist

In many instances, a doctor may simply think your symptoms are an indication of a less threatening condition. Perhaps through pride, he may hold to this diagnosis even in the face of evolving symptoms.

Your doctor has a duty to provide you with a standard of care consistent with the expectations of the medical community. When he fails to employ the appropriate diagnostic methods necessary to rule out serious conditions and you suffer as a result, you have a right to hold him accountable and seek compensation for all of your damages.

Nursing Errors

According to the American Nurses Association, nursing errors are often the result of nurses being forced to work long hours without breaks or proper compensation, causing a general lack of care towards their work. The group has also stated that in an attempt to cut costs, many hospitals are employing under trained nurses or having nurses perform procedures they are not qualified for. No matter what the reason, if a nurse is negligent and you suffer as a result, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.

Common Nursing Errors

Nurses can make any number of mistakes, either while working with a doctor or while providing services on their own. The most common nursing errors include:

  1. Medication errors
  2. Delayed care
  3. Emergency room errors
  4. Delivery errors resulting in birth injury

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is used in hundreds of routine surgical procedures, enabling them to be performed more safely and effectively. It provides a patient with many benefits, including:

  1. Complete comfort which reduces the risk of shock
  2. Limited mobility, reducing the risk of a surgical error due to patient movement

As a result, anesthesia is absolutely necessary for many of today’s surgical procedures.

Anesthesia should be administered by a skilled anesthesiologist. It is this person’s job to both administer the medication and monitor the patient while anesthesia is in use. Improper administration or monitoring can result in serious injuries and even death. When anesthesia errors result in harm, you have a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and seek compensation for all of your damages.

How Anesthesia Errors Happen

Proper administration of anesthesia begins before your surgery. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will need to carefully consider your medical history, all medications you are taking, and the proper amount of anesthesia you will require for your procedure. Common anesthesia errors can occur when these factors are not properly evaluated.

Other causes of anesthesia errors include:

  1. Failure to provide patient pre-surgery instructions
  2. Failure to properly monitor a patient
  3. Failure to administer oxygen
  4. Delayed anesthesia
  5. Medication errors such as too much or too little anesthesia
  6. Failure to recognize potential drug interactions
  7. Failure to check for patient allergies
  8. Mainstem intubations
  9. Improperly labeled medications
  10. Faulty anesthesia delivery equipment

These errors may be the fault of the anesthesiologist or the hospital they are working for.

Anesthesia Injuries

Some anesthesia errors may result in increased pain and discomfort. Many errors of this type can also result in serious injuries such as:

  1. Brain injury
  2. Nerve damage
  3. Heart attack
  4. Birth injuries
  5. Paralysis

When you suffer a catastrophic injury due to a medical error, you deserve compensation for additional medical expenses, lost wages, impacted quality of life, and pain and suffering.

When you or a loved one suffers an injury at the hands of a medical professional, responsibility may actually lie with the hospital in which you were being treated. Hospital negligence is a common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits.

In fact, any time you suffer an injury while in a hospital, it is important to review their policies, hiring practices, staff training, and safety and regulation compliance to determine whether the hospital is at least partially responsible for your damages.

Hospital Negligence Lawsuits

There are some who claim that medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous and fight to limit a patient’s right to seek compensation. This claim is refuted by several clinical and industry studies. In one study conducted by Harvard University, it was found that 97 percent of hospital negligence cases were the result of legitimate injuries, and 80 percent of those who filed these claims were living with life-long disabilities.

Birth Injury

There are few events in life as important and precious as the birth of your child. During labor and delivery, you trust the medical team of nurses, anesthesiologists, and doctors to do everything they can to ensure your child is born healthy and safe.

In some cases, birth injuries are due to unavoidable complications associated with the birthing process. However, there are many instances where these injuries are caused by negligent care administered during pregnancy or childbirth.

Sadly, errors during the delivery process result in birth injuries all too often. In fact, medical malpractice is a leading cause of birth injuries, and the rate of these injuries is on the rise. It is estimated that over 10,000 babies are born in the United States every day, and 1 out of every 142 babies is born with a birth injury. This means that over 70 children are born with a birth injury on a daily basis. Many of these tragic injuries could have easily been avoided if the medical professionals involved had taken proper care.

Causes of Birth Injuries

Many birth injuries such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are caused by mistakes made during labor and delivery. Women in labor require constant monitoring. At the first sign of distress, emergency measures need to be taken. When the hospital staff fails to take these actions, your baby can suffer a variety of injuries. These may be as simple as broken bones, bleeding, or bruising. But all too often they result in serious, life altering injuries that will require long-term care.

In addition to improper monitoring, birth injuries may be a result of:

  1. Failure to respond to fetal distress
  2. Failure to order a C-section when appropriate
  3. Excessive use of force during delivery
  4. Misdiagnosis of risk factors for conditions such as gestational diabetes
  5. Negligently inducing labor too early in the pregnancy
  6. Medication errors before or during labor
  7. Misuse of forceps and vacuum extraction devices during delivery
  8. Use of improper delivery techniques when the baby’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone
  9. Failure to diagnose fetal growth problems

In all of these instances, you have a right to seek compensation for your child’s damages.

Cerebral palsy is a birth injury that occurs when too little oxygen reaches your baby’s brain during delivery. The end result from this can be a lifelong struggle with muscle control and coordination, and it may even result in paralysis.

During labor and delivery, hospital staff and attending doctors have an obligation to constantly monitor your baby’s health. With accurate information about your medical history and modern advances in fetal monitoring, there is no excuse for an error resulting in this often avoidable condition. Contact Marc Albert today if you have reason to believe that medical malpractice played a part in your child’s birth defect.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Newborns are infamously “floppy,” and you may not know your child has been injured until later in his or her development. Indications of cerebral palsy in early childhood development include:

  1. Respiratory problems
  2. Irritability
  3. Seizures

As your child gets older, symptoms including delayed development, muscle rigidity, and a loss of muscle control can be indications of cerebral palsy as well.

Because cerebral palsy may not show immediate warning signs, it is typical for a parent to wonder at its origins. Working closely with an experienced New York City birth injury attorney like Marc Albert, you can determine if medical malpractice during childbirth led to your child’s disorder.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a birth injury affecting nearly one out of every one thousand children born in the United States. It is caused by excessive stretching of your child’s Brachial Plexus, the bundle of nerves in the neck responsible for shoulder, arm, and hand movement. When the brachial plexus is stretched, the end result can range from limited mobility to complete paralysis, potentially becoming a lifelong struggle for your child and your family.

Shoulder Dystocia

In many cases, Erb’s palsy is the result of a delivery emergency called shoulder dystocia. This occurs when a baby’s shoulders become stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. There are several things your doctor should look for prior to delivery to determine whether your child is at risk of shoulder dystocia:

  1. Pre-birth weight over 8 pounds, 14 ounces
  2. Maternal weight gain of over 35 pounds
  3. Maternal diabetes
  4. Gestation over 40 weeks

Even without these prior indications, doctors and hospital staff are trained to deal with birthing emergencies, and have the tools to prevent brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy. When they fail to detect potential complications or to take correct action when complications present themselves, you have a right to seek compensation for your child’s damages.

Getting the Justice You and Your Child Deserve

All healthcare providers involved in your baby’s delivery have an obligation to provide you with a level of care that meets the standards established by the medical profession. When they fail to do so, it constitutes medical malpractice and you may be entitled to receive compensation from the negligent medical professional.

Erb’s palsy can have life-altering consequences. You will have to provide for a special needs child, including the costly medical expenses associated with Erb’s palsy. This can place a tremendous financial and emotional strain on your family. Mr. Albert is committed to fighting for the rights of medical malpractice victims. He will stand by your side every step of the way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you have more medical malpractice questions or to schedule your free initial consultation please contact us today.