Are You or a Loved One Suffering Due to Medical Malpractice?
If you believe you or a family member are a victim of medical malpractice, call Abels & Annes, P.C. These cases are almost always difficult. If you want to prevail in your claim, it is vitally important to work with attorneys who have the necessary experience. The Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., have many years of experience handling personal injury lawsuits. They are here to help determine if you have a case.
Many people have heard of medical malpractice. You may usually associate it with very extreme errors in medical treatment. For example, performing an invasive surgical operation on the wrong patient. However, medical malpractice occurs in many less drastic forms. Further, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer knows the results can be just as damaging or even fatal.
How Common is Medical Malpractice?
HealthGrades, a healthcare quality company, has released a study based upon 37 million medical records for the years 2000 through 2002. The company determined that up to 195,000 deaths per year are attributable to errors in medical treatment at U.S. hospitals.
And these are just the fatalities. This number does not include the many other injuries that can severely impair an individual’s health, enjoyment of life, and longevity. Unfortunately, these numbers cannot be verified absolutely. However, a report from the Department of Health and Human Services reaches a similar conclusion. It found that for patients utilizing Medicare, up to 180,000 deaths per year were at least partially attributable to errors in medical treatment.
Not every medical error is entirely preventable. For example, a patient may experience an unanticipated and unknown allergic reaction to an anesthetic or other medication. Or, an infection may develop during a surgery.
That being said, many errors are very preventable. In fact, a study published in 2000 from the Institute for Medicine, a non-profit body that operates under a congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that at least 44,000 deaths, and perhaps as many as 98,000 deaths, are attributable every year to preventable medical errors.
If these various estimates are accurate, preventable medical errors would be within the top ten leading causes of death in the United States—and perhaps as high as the third leading cause of death.
What Are Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
Preventable medical care errors can constitute a solid case for medical malpractice. These cases may result not just from a surgical error. It could be errors committed by nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. Many of the most common medical malpractice claims stem from the following types of errors:
This can take the form of:
- Using the wrong medication (from a doctor’s prescription, from an error committed by a pharmacist, or by being administered to the wrong patient)
- Being prescribed a medication that causes serious adverse effects due to a known allergic reaction or by being combined with other medications
- Being prescribed the wrong dose
- Failing to prescribe a needed medication
These are instances where a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a problem, causing a delay in treatment. This can thereby cause an injury that could have been prevented or minimized. This can also be a doctor failing to perform necessary or adequate diagnostic tests or procedures, or misdiagnosing a problem.
This occurs where a patient under the care of a hospital is not monitored sufficiently. The lack of supervision can cause a failure to provide adequate and/or appropriate care.
A delay in treating a known condition leads to a more serious condition.
Failure to obtain informed consent
As it suggests, this involves injuries resulting from procedures in which the care provider fails to:
- Fully inform a patient of the likely or potential outcome of the procedure
- Let the patient know the risks associated with a procedure
- Fails to obtain any consent at all
Lack of sufficient training or skill or proper credentialing
This claim arises when a patient suffers an injury from a medical procedure and the medical provider should not have been rendering due to lack of training or experience.
Birth injuries and obstetric malpractice
This involves cases in which actions or lack of actions during delivery cause permanent injury to the child or mother.
These cases involve injuries due to a surgeon who took unnecessary or incorrect measures which caused injury. Or, if there is a failure to perform the procedure with the care or skill sufficient to meet acceptable standards.
Many medical procedures rely upon the proper functioning of medical equipment. Failures of equipment due to inadequate maintenance, calibration, or operation can lead to serious injuries. These are injuries that would not occur when equipment is functioning properly.
Inadequate monitoring or follow-up treatment
Many potential complications or adverse effects from a treatment or procedure—even if performed correctly—may not show up until later. A claim for inadequate monitoring arises when medical professionals fail to look for known potential adverse effects or consequences.
Lack of teamwork or communication
Frequently, patients are under the care of many providers. They could be treating with primary care physicians, specialists, nurse practitioners, and so on. Even in the operating room, teams of surgeons and nurses are all responsible for different parts of patient care. If there is a failure to communicate a key piece of information between the various individuals in the course of care, serious injuries can develop. For example, a doctor who fails to note a medication allergy to a nurse who does not report a patient in distress.
Contact a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago if you believe any of the above is the cause of a serious injury or death.
How To Make a Case for Medical Malpractice?
As detailed above, medical malpractice can take many forms. At the same time, medical malpractice constitutes a specific type of negligence claim. In medical malpractice suits, a claimant alleges that a healthcare provider—which can include not only doctors and surgeons, but dentists, therapists, nurses, or individuals working under the supervision of these professionals—either acted or failed to act in a way that fell below the accepted standard of practice or care in the applicable medical community. Further, this act or omission leads to the injury or death of the patient.
However, even when someone has suffers a serious injury as a result of a medical procedure, proving that you have a valid malpractice claim is not an easy task. Medicine is not a perfect science. Even when everything is done right, things can go wrong.
Most medical malpractice lawsuits, over 95%, resolve before they go to trial. In some of these cases, the parties settle. For example, when the doctor or hospital believes that the case for negligence is relatively clear.
But in over half of the cases on file, the defendants will be able to dismiss a case for one reason or another. One difficulty is that nearly all of the proof lies in the hands and minds of the doctors and hospitals who are defending the cases. Finally, for those medical malpractice cases that do go to trial, plaintiffs win only about one-third of the time.
Should You Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you sustain injuries due to inadequate or faulty care, or someone you love has serious injuries or dies due to the mistakes of a medical professional, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free consultation. Call (312) 924-7575, or simply use our online case evaluation form right here on this website. Remember, at Abels & Annes, P.C., you pay no attorney’s fee unless you win your case.