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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysThe birth of a baby is one of the most joyous occasions a person can experience. Sadly, not every birth is without complication. Some birth injuries are mild, such as a small bruise or cut, while other birth injuries can have life-altering consequences for both the child and his or her parents. Some birth injuries happen due to no one’s fault or intention. Others are caused by medical negligence. When a doctor or other medical staff makes a careless mistake, they can cause permanent disability or death to a vulnerable infant. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help hold negligent medical staff accountable as well as provide compensation for damages.

Doctors Have a Duty of Care to Patients

Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to uphold his or her “duty of care” to his or her patient. Duty of care refers to the responsibility a doctor has to provide reasonably competent medical care to his or her patients. When a medical professional makes a poor decision which most medical professionals in his or her line of work and experience level would not have made, this may be a breach of duty of care. If a tragic event occurred during a birth, but the doctors and nurses made competent decisions while handling the crisis, this is likely not an example of medical negligence.

Common Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence

The most common birth injuries which can be caused by medical negligence include:

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhen most of us visit a doctor or other medical professional to address a health concern, we trust that he or she knows what they are doing and will be able to help. Understandably, doctors do not always immediately know what aliment is causing their patient to suffer. However, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. When a negligent medical professional misdiagnoses a patient and the resultant medical treatment (or lack of treatment) causes the patient harm, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate.

Diagnostic Errors Are One of the Most Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. Many times, a patient suffers from a complex array of conditions which may be challenging to identify and treat. Doctors and other medical professionals are not held legally responsible for every diagnostic error they make. However, when carelessness or negligence causes a patient harm, doctors should be held accountable. A successful medical malpractice suit includes the following elements:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor or other health care worker was negligent; and
  • The negligent party’s actions caused actual injury to the patient.

Understanding When a Doctor is Negligent

Negligence can be tricky to understand in the context of a medical malpractice suit. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself may be a mistake on the part of the health worker, but not necessarily evidence of negligence. Generally, a medical professional is negligent when he or she not provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent way. When deciding if a medical professional was negligent or not, courts may invite other similarly trained or experienced professionals to weigh in on the matters. If most medical professionals of similar expertise would have made a different decision than the medical professional accused of malpractice made, it is likely he or she will be considered negligent.

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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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