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Recognizing the Signs of Medical Malpractice: What You Should Look Out For

When you go to a doctor to be treated for an injury or illness, you expect your condition to improve. However, occasionally the negligence or wrongful actions of a medical professional can cause additional harm, and your overall physical and mental health deteriorates. In some cases, this medical malpractice can even lead to the death of a patient.

While we would like to think that cases of medical malpractice-related fatalities are rare, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety found that an estimated 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to preventable harm caused to patients by medical professionals, and that 10-20 times as many people suffer from non-lethal harm each year. This means that it is more critical than ever that patients are aware of the signs of medical malpractice so that they can consult an attorney if they believe that they or a loved one was harmed, or died, as the result of a doctor or hospital’s actions. Here are a few of the signs you can look out for indicating that you or a loved one may be a victim of medical malpractice.

Failure to Diagnose

One of the most common occurrences of medical malpractice is when a disease goes undiagnosed. If a patient goes to a doctor who misses the early signs of a disease and dismisses a patient’s symptoms, this can lead to complications, or fatalities, in the future. This is particularly true of aggressive diseases such as cancer where treatment may have been effective if an early diagnosis had been made, but where a delayed diagnosis can make it much more difficult to effectively treat the patient.


Just as common, and potentially as fatal, as a late diagnosis is a misdiagnosis. When a doctor attributes a patient’s symptoms to the wrong disease, this can lead to treatments and medications being administered that not only do not help the patient, but that can actually cause the patient’s condition to deteriorate quicker. If you were misdiagnosed initially and this led to health complications, you may be a victim of medical malpractice.

Similarly, you may be a victim of medical malpractice if your symptoms do not seem to match the diagnosis you received. Even if you are not a medical professional, it is important that you stay informed about your condition and do research regarding any diagnosis you receive. If your symptoms are not common for your diagnosis, or they do not match the diagnosis you received whatsoever, then you may have been misdiagnosed and might want to consider getting a second opinion. As we previously mentioned, if it turns out you were misdiagnosed this may be considered medical malpractice, particularly if the wrong treatments were administered, which caused your condition to deteriorate further.

You Received the Wrong Medication or Dosage

Medical complications can also arise if a doctor prescribes you or a loved one with the wrong medication or an improper dosage. If a doctor prescribes the wrong medication for a condition or prescribes a medication that could interact with a patient’s current medications or health conditions, this can lead to an overdose, medical complications, or even death. It is the responsibility of every medical professional to double check to make sure that the drug they are prescribing will treat a patient’s condition, and that it will not be harmful to the patient in the dosage prescribed based on the patient’s list of medications and their medical history. When a doctor prescribes the wrong medication and this leads to complications, this is often a clear instance of medical malpractice

A Lack of Informed Consent

Many medical procedures and treatments come with a certain amount of risk of possible complications. For this reason, before administering any treatment, doctors must explain to their patient the benefits of the procedure and the potential risks involved so that the patient can make an informed decision regarding whether or not they want to undergo the treatment. When a patient suffers from complications during a procedure for which were not sufficiently informed of the risks, this can mean there was a lack of informed consent. For a lack of informed consent to be considered malpractice, a patient often must be able to prove that they were not properly informed of the risks involved in the procedure, and that had the doctor explained the risks fully the patient would have declined the treatment.

Your Doctor Admits to Making a Mistake

One of the clearest signs of medical malpractice can be if a medical professional admits fault. If a doctor admits to making a mistake that caused you harm, such as if they administered the wrong treatment after misdiagnosing you, then it is likely that you have a medical malpractice case on your hands and you should consider consulting an attorney. However, it is important to remember that many medical professionals will not admit fault, which is why it is important that patients know the signs of medical malpractice, and that they know what their rights are if they believe they are a victim of malpractice. Also, some states have laws permitting medical providers to express remorse when a procedure or treatment doesn’t turn out well without fearing that the apology will be turned against them as evidence of malpractice.

A Family Member Dies During or After a Medical Procedure

While death is often a risk during many surgeries, if a loved-one died during a routine procedure or was in stable condition at the hospital but died after being moved to a different facility, then he may have been a victim of negligence or mistreatment. The fact is that medical negligence can take many forms. If your loved-one suffered harm after being neglected by hospital staff, subjected to the wrong surgery, or administered too many medications, then you should consider consulting a malpractice attorney.

Know When to Contact an Attorney

If any of the above signs apply to your situation, then you may have been the victim of medical malpractice and should consider consulting an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You may be entitled to compensation. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for a free consultation to find out more about the signs of medical malpractice, or if you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of malpractice.

Four Surprisingly Common Surgical Errors

All medical procedures, including surgeries, have associated risks. Although surgeons and other health care providers are expected to take all of the necessary measures and precautions to avoid surgical mishaps, serious mistakes still sometimes happen. When those errors and omissions cause injuries and damages, the parties responsible can be held accountable under the law.

Some of the most likely causes of surgical errors include neglect, poor communication between doctors and nurses, misdiagnosis, surgeon incompetence, and botched procedures. When a doctor, operating room nurse, or other health care provider makes a surgical error, it usually falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice.

When a surgeon makes a preventable error during a surgical procedure, the injured patient may be able to file a malpractice claim against the negligent surgeon, as well as the hospital or medical facility where the malpractice occurred. In some cases, the hospital or medical facility may be vicariously liable for the surgical error that occurred. This is especially true if the surgeon committed errors in the past or had numerous prior patient complaints that the facility failed to address.

If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries and damages as a result of a surgical mistake, the law may entitle you to monetary recovery of your costs. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages in your case, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of use of a body part, or loss of enjoyment of life.

The medical malpractice lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and evaluate whether we may be able to pursue money damages on your behalf.

Failing to Properly Maintain Surgical Instruments

Viruses and germs—including antibiotic-resistant bacteria—are commonplace in hospitals and other medical facilities. Consequently, when it comes to surgeries and other medical procedures, the importance of cleanliness and sterilization cannot be overlooked. It is extremely important that surgeons and their staff ensure that all surgical equipment, including scalpels, forceps, and other instruments are properly maintained and sterilized. Failure to do so can result in patient infection and serious complications. If you suffer a secondary infection after surgery, review of your case by an independent medical provider may reveal that the surgeon or hospital staff failed to properly sterilize surgical equipment and establish a viable medical malpractice claim.

Misdiagnosing a Patient’s Medical Condition

In order to properly perform a surgical procedure, the health care provider must first correctly diagnose the patient’s medical condition. Failure to accurately diagnose symptoms may result in an unnecessary or incorrect surgical procedure. The injured patient may be forced to endure additional corrective surgeries, or other costly procedures with long recovery times. When this occurs, the injured patient may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Botched Surgical Procedures

Medical doctors, including surgeons, are held to a high standard of care. In most cases, doctors are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable doctor” in the geographical area where the medical care and treatment took place. Specialists, such as orthopedists and neurosurgeons, are typically held to a national standard of care.

In order to prove medical or surgical malpractice, the injured patient must establish that the surgeon breached – or violated – the reasonableness standard of care. The patient must also be able to show that the surgical error directly resulted in the claimed injuries and damages.

Following the applicable standard of care requires that surgeons perform their duties carefully and that they perform a surgical procedure correctly. This includes ensuring that no sponges, towels, surgical instruments, or other foreign objects are left inside a patient’s body prior to closing it up after the surgery, as well as properly cleaning and treating the surgical wound.

In addition, surgical errors can result from surgeon inexperience – and in some cases, surgeon fatigue. This is especially true when surgeons are expected to work for hours on end with little or no rest. If you suffer a botched surgical procedure, your lawyer may investigate whether your surgeon had sufficient experience to perform your surgery and how many hours your surgeon had worked before your procedure.

Performing Unnecessary Surgeries

Prior to performing a surgery or other serious medical procedure, a patient must ordinarily provide written consent. After providing the proper consent, the surgeon is responsible for ensuring that the correct body part is properly marked—and that the correct surgical procedure is performed. In some cases, the surgeon performs a medical procedure on the wrong body part or performs a different procedure altogether, resulting in a valid medical malpractice claim.

Call a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

When a surgeon commits an error, injured patients may be entitled to recover compensation under Illinois law. However, an injured patient must ordinarily file a surgical malpractice claim or lawsuit within two years of the date on which he or she discovered – or reasonably should have discovered – the surgical injury. Some exceptions apply to this deadline, and time may be of the essence in your case. If you suspect that a surgeon committed a serious error and you have sustained injuries and damages as a result, you should call a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies vigorously defend surgical malpractice claims, and surgeons and hospitals have powerful lawyers on their side. You should too.

The medical malpractice lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can meet with you to determine whether or not you have a viable claim for surgical malpractice. If you have a viable claim, our team of attorneys can pursue monetary compensation on your behalf and take your case to trial if necessary.

When Doctors Fail to Diagnose a Serious Condition, the Results Can be Devastating

Failed or Misdiagnosis Can Have Devastating Consequences

When Doctors Fail to Diagnose a Serious Condition, the Results Can be DevastatingPeople visit their primary care doctors and medical specialists to help them feel better and to help them find out what is wrong with them. However, when doctors fail to diagnose a serious medical condition, the results can be devastating, and in some cases, deadly.

Unfortunately, certain illnesses have a better chance of going undetected than others. Usually, this is because the symptoms of these illnesses can be easily confused with symptoms of much less serious conditions. Commonly misdiagnosed – or undiagnosed – illnesses include cancer, lupus, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Lyme disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Failing or Missing a Diagnosis Can Have Serious Consequences

Illnesses like cancer and heart disease have the potential to go undetected or undiagnosed—sometimes until it is too late. Misdiagnosis and failed diagnosis are especially common with breast, lung, ovarian, prostate, testicular, colon, and skin cancers. A delayed onset of cancer diagnosis or treatment, for example, allows cancer cells to multiply rapidly. This can potentially wreak havoc on a person’s body and ultimately result in an untimely death.

Generally speaking, the earlier a serious illness is detected, the greater the chance of being able to treat it successfully. In the case of cancer, for example, early detection will allow a patient to timely undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. As a result, the ultimate effects of the disease can be significantly eliminated or lessened.

When doctors and other healthcare providers fail to diagnose or give a wrong diagnosis for a serious medical condition, they can be held accountable under the law.

The Chicago lawyers at Abels & Annes help patients and their families who suffered from a missed or wrong diagnosis can review the facts and circumstances of your case and may be able to help you pursue monetary recovery. Healthcare providers have powerful insurance companies and experienced lawyers on their side representing them, so you should do everything you can to level the playing field –which starts by retaining an experienced attorney.

What is a “standard of care” in a medical malpractice case?

In an Illinois medical malpractice case, a medical expert must be able to testify that your treating doctor violated the established medical standard of care. Very generally speaking, the standard of a care is that of a “reasonable doctor,” in the same geographical area, acting under the same or similar circumstances. Specialists, such as orthopedists, cardiologists, and obstetricians, are normally held to a national standard of care. In failure to diagnose cases – or medical misdiagnosis cases – the doctor’s failure must fall outside the standard of care for a similarly situated health care provider.

Filing a Wrongful Death after a Misdiagnosis

If a family member dies as a result of a medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, that person’s survivors may be able to open an estate. The personal representative of the estate may then be able to file a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate. A successful wrongful death action will allow a decedent’s surviving family members to recover monetary compensation for the loss of the decedent and the damages stemming from that loss. Damages that might stem from a misdiagnosis wrongful death include lost income from the deceased loved one, or loss of companionship when a loved one can no longer provide the same affection, parenting, or sexual relationship.

Illinois Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

Cases which involve medical misdiagnoses or failures to diagnose typically fall within the ambit of the Illinois Medical Malpractice Statute. Illinois, along with every other state in the country, provides deadlines – or statutes of limitation – by which a claim or lawsuit must be filed. Medical malpractice cases like these require a significant amount of investigation and research prior to filing a claim or lawsuit. Consequently, you should not wait until the last minute to obtain legal representation in your case. As soon as you suspect that a doctor misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose you or a loved one’s medical condition, you should contact an Illinois medical malpractice attorney.

In the State of Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases – including those involving a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose – is usually two years. This means that in most cases, absent some fairly rare exceptions, a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date on which the accident victim discovered or should have discovered his or her injury, the misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose. As with any case, your circumstances may be different, and our lawyers will review the facts of your case and let you know whether we believe you can file a claim.

Generally speaking, if a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit is not filed within the applicable statute of limitations time period, the accident victim will be forever barred from seeking monetary compensation for the injuries and damages sustained. The same holds true in wrongful death cases where the personal representative of the decedent’s estate files the claim. A Chicago failure to diagnose lawyer will be aware of these notice deadlines and can take the necessary legal action to safeguard your rights, as well as your potential recovery.

Common Causes of Medical Misdiagnoses and Failures to Diagnose

Medical misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose usually result from health care providers failing to notice o>r take action on patient complaints, warning signs, and symptoms. They also occur when health care providers fail to follow proper medical protocols and testing procedures. Some of the most common causes of medical misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose include:

  • Misreading lab or biopsy results
  • Failing to follow up on questionable test results or mammograms
  • Failing to perform the correct screenings and tests which fit the patient’s medical condition or illness
  • Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign
  • Failing to observe or appreciate a patient’s physical symptoms upon examination
  • Failing to order proper tests or bloodwork
  • Failing to provide proper follow-up care or testing
  • Failing to properly monitor a patient’s medical condition or lab test results
  • Doctor inexperience or fatigue

In medical misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose cases, injured patients may be able to recover damages for future corrective surgeries or other medical procedures which are necessary to correct the first doctor’s mistake. Injured patients may also be able to recover compensation for other medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and noneconomic damages. In wrongful death cases, the decedent’s estate may be able to recover damages for loss of companionship or support from the decedent.

Call the Chicago Failure to Diagnose Lawyers at Abels & Annes Today

Medical misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose cases are sometimes difficult to prove. This is because many times, healthcare providers are given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to medical diagnoses and treatment issues. The Chicago failure to diagnose lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can help you retain the necessary experts to prove medical malpractice in your case.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois medical misdiagnosis> lawyer, please call us today at (312) 924-7575 or >contact us online.
Medical Malpractice

Can Medical Negligence Cause Birth Injuries?

In the United States, giving birth is typically an uncomplicated event. Mother and child will soon head home without any need to visit the doctor again until the child is scheduled for immunization shots. But sometimes medical negligence can lead to injury—for either the baby or mother, or both. In these situations, the law might entitle you to financial compensation. At Abels & Annes, we help families get the compensation they deserve when medical negligence causes harm.

What Is Medical Negligence?

A doctor or other medical professional who treats you owes you a duty to use reasonable care. In particular, the law requires that medical professionals possess and use the skill, knowledge, and care that other careful medical professionals would use. When they fail to do so, they might face legal responsibility if their negligence causes injuries.

To make a case for medical negligence, you’ll need to prove four things:

  • The doctor owed you a duty of care. If you are a patient, this is usually easy to prove.
  • The doctor’s conduct fell below that standard of care (which is called a “breach”).
  • You or your baby suffered an injury.
  • The doctor’s breach of duty of care caused the injury.
  • You must prove all of these elements. If even one is missing, then you won’t win your case for medical negligence.

At Abels & Annes, our attorneys know how to present evidence to a jury using simple, clear language that lay people can understand.

Mistakes a Doctor Can Make

Not every injury is a result of medical negligence. If your child has a birth defect, then nothing your doctor could have done during delivery would have made a difference. Also, you may have experienced one of a very small percentage of pregnancies that were difficult for one reason or another. For example, your baby’s position in the womb might make delivery extremely difficult, resulting in injury.

Nevertheless, doctors can make some common mistakes during delivery:

  • Misusing forceps
  • Improperly using vacuum devices
  • Prolonging a necessary cesarean
  • Wrongfully administering labor-inducing drugs
  • Failing to respond to signs the baby is in distress
  • Failing to respond to an umbilical cord problem (for example, when the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck)
  • Failing to treat an infection after delivery

The key is to point to some decision the doctor made that another competent doctor in the same situation would find unreasonable. Sometimes doctors face a range of options, several of which are acceptable, so an injury to your baby does not prove, by itself, the doctor’s negligence.

Common Injuries to Babies

If your child was injured during delivery, you might hold a negligent doctor financially responsible. Some of the more common birth injuries babies sustain include:

  • Disrupted brain functioning. For example, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) results when the baby’s blood receives insufficient oxygen, resulting in brain damage and seizures.
  • Bleeding in the brain. Trauma and a lack of oxygen can cause your baby’s brain to bleed, which is called intraventricular hemorrhage. As a result, the brain might not develop properly.
  • Cerebral palsy. Your child might experience muscle dysfunction that impedes standing, talking, feeding, or controlling the bladder.
  • Erb’s palsy (also called shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury). Your baby might suffer arm weakness or paralysis because of damage to shoulder nerves.
  • Paralysis. When doctors use too much force during delivery, your child might suffer an injury to the spinal cord that can result in lifeless limbs.
  • Death. In extreme cases, a baby may die during delivery because of mistakes a doctor made.

A baby who experiences delayed motor or language development might have suffered a birth injury. At Abels & Annes, our lawyers will carefully review medical records and gather witness testimony to identify whether medical negligence contributed to your baby’s injury.

Injuries to Mothers

Medical negligence can also harm mothers. Although maternal death rates in the United States are low compared to most of the world, about 700 women die each year in delivery and thousands more suffer injuries. Common injuries to birth mothers include:

  • Vaginal tears
  • Improper suturing after a C-section
  • Infection
  • Seizures as a result of preeclampsia
  • Ruptured uterus
  • Nerve damage
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Many women hesitate to discuss any pain they experience after childbirth, wrongly believing that the pain was a necessary part of delivery. But if you have difficulty going to the bathroom, or if your pain doesn’t subside, speak to a doctor promptly. You might have suffered an injury caused by a doctor’s medical negligence.

Compensation Is Available

If you can prove that a doctor or other medical professional is responsible for the injury, then you might receive financial compensation. For example, you can receive a sum of money (called “damages”) for:

  • Past and future medical care
  • Past and future at-home or nursing home care
  • Therapy (speech, therapy, or counseling)
  • Disability
  • Lost wages, if one parent must stay home with the child
  • Pain and suffering

Every situation is different, and not every family will qualify for all of these damages. However, only a personal injury lawyer can identify the amount of compensation you can receive and develop a plan to maximize it.

Don’t Delay in Calling a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today

You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. In Illinois, injured victims only have two years to bring a lawsuit, and the clocks starts from the date you knew or should have known about the medical negligence. If you wait too long, you might lose your right to sue. Fortunately, the rules are laxer if your baby suffered the injury, but you still shouldn’t delay since evidence will grow harder to collect as time passes.

At Abels & Annes, our team will carefully review medical records and interview witnesses to identify whether you have a possible legal case for medical negligence. Contact us or call us today at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation.

Were You Injured by a Misdiagnosis?

Diagnostic testing is a primary part of the job for many medical professionals. Knowing which tests to conduct and which questions to ask to make a correct diagnosis is critical to ensuring patients receive the treatment they need. When a patient is misdiagnosed or has a delayed diagnosis, injuries can occur from the lack of timely treatment.

For example, if a patient who has had a heart attack is misdiagnosed with acid reflux and sent home, they are at higher risk for another, more serious heart attack and will not receive the treatment they need to address any cardiovascular issues. In addition, cancer is often misdiagnosed, and the delay in treatment can ultimately necessitate more invasive treatment or allow the cancer to develop to the point where it is no longer treatable.

The above are only two of many examples of common misdiagnoses in the United States. If you were misdiagnosed and suffered unnecessary complications or injuries as a result, it is important to consider whether you have legal rights to financial recovery from your doctor.

When is Misdiagnosis Considered to be Malpractice?

While doctors cannot be held liable for every mistake they make, they can be liable if their actions rise to the level of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when doctors fail to provide care that lives up to the expected standards of the medical community. The standard is to provide care and treatment that another medical professional with similar training would have provided given the same circumstances.

Therefore, if another doctor in that field would have conducted certain tests for a correct diagnosis but your doctor did not, it may constitute malpractice and you may be entitled to compensation for all of the losses you suffered.

Discuss a Possible Case with a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have protected the rights of medical malpractice victims in and around the Chicago area. If you believe you have been injured by a misdiagnosis, please call to discuss – for free – what happened at 312-924-7575.