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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersThe medical advances our society has achieved in the last few decades have allowed people to overcome injuries and illnesses that would have certainly been fatal in the past. Many of these advancements involve invasive surgical procedures. Getting surgery almost always involves certain risks, but some of these risks are avoidable and completely unacceptable. When an avoidable surgical error is made during an operation, the results can be catastrophic. Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can be held legally responsible when these types of medical mistakes result in the death or injury of a patient. 

Understanding When a Medical Professional Has Committed Medical Negligence

Sometimes problems and complications occur during surgery due to no fault of the medical staff conducting the operation. Just because a surgical procedure fails to produce the desired result does not mean medical negligence has occurred. Generally, medical negligence is defined as when substandard medical care leads to some type of harm to the patient.

Some surgical errors are so preventable that they are called “never events” meaning that these particular mistakes should never happen. Never events include mistakes like leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient's body, performing surgery on the wrong body part, and performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. These types of mistakes often lead to medical malpractice claims. 

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emergency-room-mistakes-malpractice.jpgShockingly, studies show that medical errors are now considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 440,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives every year because of medical mistakes. One place where medical errors often occur is the emergency room. If you have ever had to visit an emergency room, you probably already know that they can be chaotic environments. People go to an emergency room for a variety of ailments, some life-threatening and some not. If you or a loved one suffered because of a mistake an ER doctor or technician made, you may have grounds for a successful personal injury claim.

Mistakes Made in the Emergency Room Can Be Deadly

Emergency room errors are appallingly common. In fact, some sources report that about 5-10% of all ER visits involve mistakes. Because there are approximately 100 million ER visits in the United States each year, this means 5-10 million emergency room errors are committed every year. Of course, not every mistake is life-threatening or even harmful, but many of these mistakes have the ability to kill a patient. Emergency room doctors and nurses cannot always immediately know what is wrong with a patient or how to treat him or her. However, when emergency room mistakes are egregious or caused by medical negligence, the mistake may become an issue of medical malpractice.

Most Common Errors Made in the ER

When it comes to emergency medicine, even the smallest mistake can cause significant damage. The most common types of medical mistakes that occur in American emergency rooms include:

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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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