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When Can Medical Malpractice Lead to the Wrongful Death of a Patient?

 Posted on August 11, 2023 in Medical Malpractice

Rockford Medical Malpractice AttorneysMedical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. In some cases, medical malpractice can lead to the wrongful death of a patient, causing immense grief and emotional pain for their loved ones, as well as significant financial difficulties. If you believe that your loved one's death was caused by medical negligence, it is important to understand how you can seek justice for your loss.

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals have an obligation to follow certain standards when providing healthcare services to patients. When they fail to meet these standards due to negligence, carelessness, lack of training, or errors, their actions may be considered medical malpractice. To establish a claim for wrongful death due to medical malpractice, certain elements must be proven:

  • The existence of a doctor-patient relationship

    It must be established that there was a professional relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider who caused their injury or death.

  • Negligence

    It must be shown that the healthcare provider acted negligently in providing care by deviating from accepted standards.

  • Causation

    Evidence must be provided demonstrating that the negligent actions of a medical provider directly caused the patient's death or contributed significantly to it.

  • Damages

    Lastly, it is essential to prove that as a result of a medical provider’s negligence, significant damages were incurred, including financial losses affecting a family, the loss of a relationship with the person who died, and the pain and suffering the person experienced prior to their death.

Examples of Medical Malpractice That Can Lead to Wrongful Death

There are a variety of situations where medical malpractice may lead directly or indirectly to a person’s death, including:

  1. Surgical errors

    A surgeon may make mistakes during an operation, such as performing the wrong procedure or causing damage to vital organs, and these errors may lead to fatal complications.

  2. Medication errors

    Administering incorrect medications or administering drugs at the wrong dosages can have severe consequences that may affect a patient’s health. In some cases, patients may experience dangerous side effects or allergic reactions, and these issues could potentially lead to a person’s death.

  3. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis

    A failure to properly diagnose a serious medical condition can affect a patient’s ability to receive timely intervention and treatment, which could lead to the person’s death. Delayed diagnoses of conditions such as cancer are a common form of medical malpractice that can result in wrongful death.

  4. Anesthesia errors

    Anesthesia is necessary for many medical procedures. However, if administered incorrectly or in the wrong amounts, the drugs used by anesthesiologists can be fatal. Failure to monitor a patient's vital signs during a procedure can also result in wrongful death.

  5. Infections acquired at hospitals

    Medical facilities should maintain strict protocols regarding cleanliness, sterilization, and infection control. If a healthcare provider fails to follow these protocols, and a patient develops an infection that leads directly or indirectly to their death, this may be considered medical malpractice.

Contact Our Rockford Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you believe your loved one's death was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to pursue legal action against the responsible party or parties. Taking legal action will not only help you seek justice for the untimely death of your loved one, but it can help prevent similar forms of negligence from happening again and affecting other families.

At Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of Schwartz Injury Law, our dedicated Winnebago County wrongful death lawyers are experienced in handling medical malpractice claims in Rockford, Illinois and the surrounding communities. We understand the importance of fighting for justice on behalf of bereaved families, and we are dedicated to holding medical personnel and medical facilities responsible for negligence that affected patients. Contact our firm at 815-215-7561 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help your family take action to address the tragedy you have suffered.


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