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Rockford medical malpractice lawyersWhen a person goes to the hospital to get surgery for an illness or injury, they assume the doctors, nurses, and surgeons taking care of them will do their job with caution and attentiveness. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A recent study from Johns Hopkins shows that over 250,000 individuals die every year in the U.S from medical errors. Other studies suggest that the number of individuals killed by medical mistakes is closer to 440,000. One medical error which occurs startlingly often is the unintended retention of foreign objects (URFOs) during surgical procedures.

Surgical Items Left Inside Patients Bodies

Alarmingly, it is not unheard of for patients to discover that a surgeon or other medical professional left a piece of medical equipment inside their body. Leaving surgical instruments in a person’s body after invasive procedures can cause serious illness and even death. The type of object left in the person’s body and the length of time it was retained are the main factors that determine the severity of this error.

In some cases, retained objects are discovered immediately after a surgical procedure through an X-ray or during a follow-up. Other times, the foreign objects left in a patient’s body are only identified after the patient seeks medical attention for unexplained pain. The most common objects which are left inside patients include:

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Rockford personal injury attorneysStudies show that more and more Americans are taking psychiatric medications in order to cope with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Experts estimate that about one out of every six adults in the United States has used at least one psychiatric drug. For some, psychiatric medication like fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), alprazolam (Xanax), Lithium, clozapine (Clozaril) diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan) help alleviate symptoms and cause few, if any, side effects. However, some people taking psychiatric medication experience intense mental and physical side effects including increased thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Now, the family of the late musician Chris Cornell believe that negligent over-prescription of psychiatric medication may have played a role in the singer’s death.

Singer Was Taking Anxiety Medicine and Opioids at Time of Suicide

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell passed away in May of 2017 of an apparent suicide. However, Cornell’s wife believes that the 52-year-old was not in his right mind when he chose to take his own life. She claims that a dangerous mix of anti-anxiety medication and prescription opioids caused him to have increased suicidal and psychotic thoughts, a known side effect of some psychiatric medications. She claims that the negligent actions of her late husband’s doctor are to blame for his death.

According to the lawsuit, Cornell’s doctor negligently prescribed Oxycodone, Lorazepam (Ativan), and other mind-altering drugs to Cornell even though the doctor knew of Cornell’s history with drug addiction. The doctor also allegedly permitted non-physician staff to write Cornell’s prescriptions and neglected to follow up with Cornell regarding negative side effects. Cornell’s widow says that the singer had not displayed suicidal behavior prior to taking his life and had not struggled with addiction for many years. The question of blame will come down to whether or not the doctor and his staff were negligent in prescribing the singer the combination of mind-altering medication.

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Rockford medical malpractice attorneysDoctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are some of the most trusted members of our society. Of course, medical professionals are human just like everyone else, and they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, errors made by doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other medical professionals can often have devastating consequences.

Negligence Must Be Proven in Medical Malpractice Claims

Before delving into the most common mistakes made by medical professionals, it is important to be clear about one point: medical malpractice only occurs when negligence occurs. A patient simply being unhappy with the results of a medical procedure or test cannot be reason enough to claim malpractice. Furthermore, a medical procedure or surgery which results in a negative outcome is not always the result of medical malpractice or doctor error. For example, when an individual receives an organ transplant, the organ is sometimes “rejected” by the patient’s body. This can happen for a myriad of reasons and is usually not related to any negligent acts by the surgeon or other hospital staff. In order for a successful medical malpractice claim to be made, negligence must be proven. A medical professional is negligent when he or she acts in a way which is not reasonably competent or skilled, and this carelessness leads to patient harm.

Errors Which Often Lead to Malpractice Suits

There are many different situations which might necessitate a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients who have been misdiagnosed or did not receive a diagnosis in a timely matter often have the justification to sue. Understandably, it can sometimes take doctors and other medical experts a long time to reach an accurate diagnosis. However, when a diagnosis is delayed or a patient is misdiagnosed due to negligence, the doctor and staff may be held liable. Childbirth injuries including seizure disorders and cerebral palsy can sometimes be caused by doctor error. Negligent prenatal care can result in damage to both the fetus as well as the mother.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice attorneysAnyone who has spent time in a hospital can tell you the relief they felt when they were discharged and allowed to go home. Even those staying in a hospital for a short time can start to feel homesickness and grow intolerable of the bustle and noise of a busy hospital. Although they can be uncomfortable, hospital stays are often a requirement for patients requiring round-the-clock care for more serious illnesses and injuries.

To most patients, the news that they get to leave the confines of a hospital bed and return home is met with happiness. After all, if they are allowed to go home, their condition must have improved dramatically. Patients assume that the doctors and nurses on staff at the hospital would never discharge someone who was not well enough to go home. The tragic reality is that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals do make mistakes and sometimes patients who are not ready to leave the hospital are discharged anyway.

Questionable Early Hospital Discharges Put Lives in Danger

Even hospitals which are not-for-profit must rely on income generated through medical services. Hospitals must constantly find ways to save on costs. Many experts believe that cost-cutting efforts and other factors have caused an increase in patients being discharged from the hospital too soon. Sometimes, patients who are simply staying in the hospital to be observed are discharged quickly in order to create space for patients who need more intensive care or many diagnostic tests. Early hospital discharge can lead to worsened medical conditions and unnecessary pain and suffering. Early discharges that result in injuries to the patient can often open the door to medical malpractice claims.

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Rockford medical malpractice attorneysWhen something goes wrong at a doctor, physical therapist, dentist, or other medical office, patients can be left lost and confused. After all, most of us grew up putting total trust in doctors and nurses. Their ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions still seem like a superpower to many children. Sadly, as we age, we realize that nobody is perfect and that medical professionals can and sometimes do make catastrophic mistakes. If you have been mistreated or hurt because of inadequate medical care or a negligent health-care provider, read on to learn about your options for financial compensation.

What Constitutes Medical Negligence?

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that, shockingly, medical negligence is the third most leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans. In fact, in the year 2012 alone, more than $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice disbursements. Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional strays from the accepted “standard of care” while treating a patient. The “standard of care” in this context simply refers to what a reasonably thoughtful medical professional of similar experience and training would have done under similar circumstances. Someone who has a poor outcome from a medical procedure has not necessarily experienced medical negligence. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals simply experience bad luck. However, when a patient is treated in a way that deviates from the acceptable treatment of a condition or injury and suffers damages as a result, he or she may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Examples of Medical Negligence That Could Lead to a Successful Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical negligence can take many different forms. Examples of medical negligence that could possibly lead to a lawsuit include:

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