A wrongful death is the death of one person through the fault of another. Wrongful deaths can emerge in many types of accidents including a car crash, workplace injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, or even a construction accident. However, when many people hear the term wrongful death, they think of a medical mistake that ended up costing a patient’s life.
Medical malpractice is responsible for hundreds of thousands of complications every year, many of which result in permanent damage to a patient or even death. These numbers can be difficult to estimate but the results are clear – medical mistakes are claiming lives and leaving families destroyed in their wake.
HealthGrades, one of the nation’s largest ranking sites for doctors and hospitals, has reported that between 2000 and 2002, up to 195,000 deaths were caused by medical errors made in hospitals. Some of these errors were surgical while others involved medication mistakes or even improper care following a routine procedure. The only common threat tying all of these deaths together is that they were preventable but they occurred due to negligence.
Types of Medical Errors in Chicago
Any time an error or a mistake leads to the death of a patient, there may be a wrongful death claim available for the victim’s surviving family members. Though no amount of money can properly compensate a family for their losses in these cases, the laws of Chicago may entitle the victim’s family to seek relief for their damages, including the lost time they will no longer be able to spend with the victim. Common causes of fatalities in medical malpractice include:
- Surgical errors – A surgical error may involve an accidental cut to an artery or nerve or it can be something as extreme as operating on the wrong part of the body or even the wrong patient. Surgeries can be likely to result in mistakes for many reasons, including the complicated nature of the procedure, the lack of skill or expertise possessed by the physician, and even the fact that the patient usually is asleep and therefore cannot advocate on his or her own behalf.
- Medication mistakes – Modern pharmaceuticals have been developed to eradicate disease, slow the advancement of degenerative conditions, and even eliminate pain and suffering in a hospital patient. When properly prescribed and administered, pharmaceuticals can save lives. But when a mistake, a distracted employee, or even an intentional disregard for a patient’s well being leads to a situation where a patient is given incorrect medication, serious complications can result. An allergic reaction to an unintended medication may claim the life of a patient as can an overdose of a prescribed medicine. In some cases, failing to receive medicine at precisely the right time may lead to a stroke, seizure, or heart attack that can leave a patient dead.
- Failure to diagnose – Doctors and physicians are often consulted when a patient feels ill or is in need of medical assistance. Patients want to be able to put their faith and trust in these doctors to make the right decisions and to initiate a proper course of treatment. But when a physician fails to make a diagnosis and a patient dies as a result, the physician may be liable for his or her actions, including facing civil liability to the victim’s family for the damages they incurred.
- Anesthesia errors – Some patients may be allergic to anesthesia or may have adverse reactions that are beyond the ability of the medical staff to prevent or control. Yet if the supervising physician knows of potential adverse complications and yet does not take appropriate steps to guard against them, the doctor may be deviating from the standard of care and may not be putting the patient’s well being first. An anesthesia mistake that leads to death may give rise to a wrongful death claim.
- Failure to treat – In some extreme cases, a critically ill individual may present to a hospital but “fall through the cracks” of the system, being ignored, overlooked, or otherwise denied medical care even though it is desperately needed. If a patient is never seen by a doctor or is denied diagnostic tests or medication, the doctor, hospital, and staff may be liable for failing to treat the individual and may be held responsible for the individual’s death.
Relief for Medical Malpractice Victims
If a medical mistake claims the life of your family member or loved one, those involved may face professional charges for their mistakes. But in additional to any penalties assessed against them, you may be able to seek relief for your damages against those responsible. This may include a doctor, physician, medical staff, employees, hospital, and nurses, among others. Speaking with an injury lawyer is the best way to know whether your family has a claim and who may be held responsible for your losses.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have experience representing those who have been affected by medical malpractice in Chicago and in Illinois. We fight hard so that each of our clients can obtain the maximum award possible in their case. If a medical mistake has left your family broken, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us provide you with a free, no obligation telephone consultation. We are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we never charge our clients a fee unless we make a recovery on their behalf. If your loved one has been killed due to a medical error, call us today and let us help you obtain a recovery you deserve.
If your loved one has been killed due to a medical mistake, call us at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free, no-obligation case consultation.