When Patients Suffer Harm Due to Negligent Medical Care
Whenever anyone suffers an injury, contracts an illness, or has any condition that must be treated medically, we rely on medical professionals to provide the care and service we need. After all, they have years of training and experience to best treat patients following any health-related concerns.
Despite this trust we should have in medical professionals, and despite the medical professional's duty to provide patients with care, there are times when problems can arise. As a result, patients suffer even further and must deal with the pain and suffering from an untreated condition or worsened injury.
In the legal world, these acts of negligence are medical malpractice. It is a situation that involves t medical professionals acting in a way that causes patients harm or results in missed treatment possibilities. Here are some things you need to know about the types of medical malpractice that exist and your rights.
Surgical Errors: One of the Biggest Problems
One of the most significant issues in a medical facility is surgical error. It is one of the situations that can result in patients suffering the most harm because of its impact on the patient. A few mistakes can occur during surgery, and individuals must understand how negligence plays a role and how legal matters arise.
- When a doctor performs surgery on the wrong body part: In the event of miscommunication, surgery can be performed on the wrong part of a patient's body. This means unnecessary surgery and creating new potential problems for the patient.
- An anesthesiologist administers medication incorrectly: This can be done through too much or too little medication. This can mean significant problems with the medication or the patient feeling the surgery because of too little anesthesia.
- When a doctor performs surgery on the wrong patient: Miscommunication can lead to a situation in which a patient undergoes surgery they don't need. This may be an instance of switched medical records.
- When a doctor leaves a foreign object inside a patient after surgery: This can occur post-surgery when nurses and doctors leave an item in the patient—such as a scalpel, gauze, or other instruments.
Surgical errors can result in catastrophic injuries, and those affected may require further medical treatment to heal and have a satisfactory recovery.
Misdiagnosis and the Failure to Properly Treat
When you go to a doctor, you expect them to properly diagnose your condition or injury, and to provide the most effective treatment possible. If this diagnosis is incorrect or the doctor doesn't diagnose the condition from which the patient is suffering, the patient receives the wrong treatment or doesn't receive treatment at all.
Here are the main problems associated with misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis:
- Misdiagnosis: The doctor diagnoses the patient with some condition or injury; however, the diagnosis is incorrect. For instance, when someone is displaying cancer symptoms but the doctor diagnoses the patient with a different condition, the wrong treatment option is prescribed. The patient may receive medication or a medical procedure they don't need.
- Missed diagnosis: The doctor did not diagnose the condition at all. As a result, they don't provide any treatment. For an illness such as cancer, this missed decision could be deadly.
Medication Errors: During and After Treatment
Anesthesia and other medications used during treatment are supposed to help patients. However, it's imperative for medical professionals to recognize any adverse reactions the patient may have to certain medications or whether they have allergies—and if the medication they're providing has any adverse reactions to medication already being taken.
Similarly, when a doctor prescribes the patient a specific medication, they must do their due diligence to ensure the following:
- The patient can safely take the medication.
- The patient is not taking any medication that will react negatively.
- The patient is not receiving a dangerous dosage.
- The patient is not receiving the wrong medication.
Emergency Room Errors
Trips to the emergency room are extremely common, with countless individuals frequenting these facilities following serious injuries, illnesses, and more. There is often a long list of people for emergency room doctors to see, but they still must act to protect the patients and their well-being.
Unfortunately, various errors can occur in emergency rooms, leading to the patient experiencing even further harm. Some of the most common errors in emergency rooms revolve around failure to appropriately triage a patient, miscommunication errors and waiting too long to see a patient.
While many feel they should be seen in the order they arrive at an emergency room; doctors must prioritize patients based on their conditions. For instance, someone who suffered a catastrophic injury or wound would be seen before those suffering from a cold.
Another problem that can occur in an emergency room is a communication error. If you've ever been to an emergency room, you may notice that many doctors and nurses ask for your date of birth. This is to verify patient information. When this information isn't verified, the wrong patient can receive the incorrect treatment.
Thankfully, birth injuries are uncommon, but they do occur and can pose life-long, severe consequences when a baby is harmed. A baby can suffer a birth injury before, during, or after the birthing process. Birth injuries may also be referred to as "birth trauma." There are many ways that a birth injury can occur, such as:
- Use of forceps and vacuum extraction
- Prolonged labor
- Abnormal birthing positions such as breech
- Doctors failing to screen for maternal health conditions
- Not monitoring fetal vital signs
Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Shoulder dystocia: occurs when a baby's shoulders get stuck inside the mother's pelvis during labor and birth.
- Brachial plexus injuries: cur when a baby suffers trauma to the neck, causing pain, weakness, and numbness in the arm and hands. Some forms of brachial plexus injuries are known as Erb's palsy and Klumpke's palsy.
- Cerebral palsy: caused by lack of oxygen, bleeding of the brain, abnormal brain development, or damage to the brain's white matter.
- Cephalohematoma: caused by broken blood vessels on the head of the fetus causing accumulation of blood under the baby's scalp.
- Caput succedaneum: caused by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first delivery resulting in the swelling of the scalp.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage: occurs when small blood vessels break open and bleed within the conjunctiva. It can be identified by a bright red patch in the white of the eye.
Babies can also suffer facial paralysis, broken bones/fractures, or spinal cord injuries at birth.
Related Article: How Does Medical Malpractice Play a Role in Birth Injuries?
Holding Negligent Medical Professionals Accountable
There are far too many instances in which the medical professionals we trust with our care are the ones responsible for causing harm. Unfortunately, not many people who suffer these injuries or conditions are fully aware of what they can do to hold the negligent parties accountable.
However, it's imperative to recognize the factors involved in proving liability to pursue the compensation and justice you deserve when medical malpractice occurs. Liability in medical malpractice means a few different factors must be shown:
- Duty of care: The doctor and patient relationship assume that the medical professional has a duty to provide care to the patient.
- Breach of duty of care: The moment the doctor acts negligently, this can be shown.
- The breach results in an injury: Showing that you suffered harm because of the action is imperative to proving liability.
Getting Help With a Medical Malpractice Claim
At Grewal Law, we're aware that medical professionals must act in a way that ensures patient safety and care. This is not always the case, and numerous individuals suffer each year due to these actions. The medical professionals responsible for causing severe injury can and should be held fully accountable for their actions.
Our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers are prepared to help you understand your rights and work towards the most favorable outcome on your behalf. We know what is needed to prove negligence in medical malpractice matters, and we're not afraid to challenge large corporations if it means safeguarding your best interests.
You need compensation for the injuries you have sustained, and our team will go above and beyond for you during this difficult time.
To speak with an attorney in a free consultation and to recognize what rights you have to take legal action, we encourage you to call our firm at (888) 211-5798 today and discuss your potential options. We’re ready to help you through challenging matters.