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IL injury lawyerIf you are like most people who get a prescription medication, you probably do not think to confirm the type and dosage of the drug. You simply trust that the prescribing doctor and pharmacy have done their jobs accurately. However, prescription medication errors can and do occur. Sometimes, the consequences are mild or even unnoticeable. Other times, the medication mistake results in significant patient harm or even death.

Why Do Prescription Drug Mistakes Occur?

The medical advances our society has experienced in the last hundred years are nothing short of miraculous. Diseases that used to kill a person are now curable with a simple injection or pill. Unfortunately, mistakes made in the prescription and administration of medications often lead to avoidable patient suffering and worsened medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors every year in the U.S.

A study published in BMC Clinical Pharmacology analyzed prescription medication errors at 41 different inpatient units. Of the over 400 prescription medications evaluated, approximately 24 percent of the prescriptions contained illegible information about drug names, doses, or instructions. Just under 30 percent of the prescriptions were incomplete. Issues with legibility and communication are two of the main causes of medication errors. Another study evaluated the causes of medication administration mistakes in hospitals. The study found that inaccurate administration was caused by:

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OL malpractice lawyerAlmost every life has been touched by cancer in some way. Breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma, and other types of cancer kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Fortunately, advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer have reduced the number of people who die from the disease. The American Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 22.2 million cancer survivors by the year 2030. However, a cancer sufferer cannot start potentially life-saving treatment until he or she receives a diagnosis. When a medical professional fails to diagnose cancer, the victim or the victim’s surviving loved ones may bring a medical malpractice claim against the negligent medical professional.

When is a Medical Professional Considered Negligent?

Failure to diagnose cancer can lead to unnecessary suffering, massive medical debt, and even an avoidable patient death. If a doctor or other medical professional fails to diagnose cancer, this may be an example of medical negligence. The cancer sufferer or the surviving loved ones may bring a medical malpractice claim against the medical professional.

Medical malpractice occurs when:

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In an ideal world, no parent would ever have to learn that their child suffered a birth injury. Unfortunately, birth injuries ranging in severity are suffered by millions of infants each year. These injuries often lead to considerable medical costs and other financial losses. When a preventable birth injury is caused by medical negligence on the part of a hospital, emergency room, or medical professional, the negligent party may be liable for damages. This means that the birth injury victim’s parents may be entitled to compensation for their financial losses. They may also be compensated for non-financial losses including their emotional distress.

Defining Medical Negligence in the Context of Birth Injuries

If your child was injured or killed during labor and delivery, you are probably desperate for answers. You may question if there is anything that could have been done to prevent the birth injury from occurring. While many birth injuries are unavoidable, some are the direct result of medical negligence. Medical negligence is often defined as the unskilled or improper medical treatment of a patient by a medical professional. More specifically, medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to exercise the same quality of treatment that a professional with similar education and experience would have provided in similar circumstances. This hypothetical standard is often referred to as the “medical standard of care.”

When Is a Medical Malpractice Claim Appropriate?

Although the terms medical negligence and medical malpractice are often used interchangeably, the two are not synonymous. Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide treatment that meets the medical standard of care. Medical malpractice occurs when medical negligence causes a patient to be injured or killed and damages result from the injury or death. So, if your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence and you sustained damages such as medical bills or lost wages from missed work, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. You may be entitled to compensation for your financial and non-financial damages. This may include compensation for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) costs, physical therapy, lost wages, emotional anguish, and more.

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Il malpractice lawyerIf you or a loved one recently required surgery to treat a medical condition and something went wrong, you are probably looking for answers. You may question if the problem you or your loved one encountered during surgery was the fault of a medical professional’s negligence or the result of a surgical mistake. You may also wonder what your legal options are if you were the victim of medical malpractice. Surgical errors are rare, but when they occur, the results can be life-changing.

Surgical Mistakes Can Lead to Preventable Patient Suffering

Surgeons and other medical professionals are human and they sometimes make mistakes. However, when a mistake is egregious or the result of the medical professional’s negligent behavior, the professional may be guilty of medical malpractice. Examples of surgical errors that may justify a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Improper sanitation of equipment or devices that leads to patient infection
  • Surgical mistakes resulting in nerve damage or internal organ damage
  • Use of contaminated or defective equipment
  • Administering the wrong type of medication or the wrong dose of medication during surgery
  • Using a surgical technique that is unnecessarily risky
  • Performing unneeded surgery

Some surgical errors are so unacceptable that they are called “never events” because they should never happen. Never events include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_er-malpractice.jpgEmergency rooms are often chaotic, high-stress environments. ER doctors, nurses, and other staff deal with time-sensitive medical crises all day. They handle everything from broken bones caused by car accidents to heart attacks and strokes. If you or a loved one received substandard treatment in an emergency room or were the victim of an ER mistake, you may wonder whether the emergency room staff’s conduct constituted medical malpractice. There are many factors involved in emergency room medical malpractice claims, so it is best to discuss your concerns with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

ER Doctors and Medical Staff Have a Legal Duty to Provide Competent Care

When a person visits the emergency room, a positive outcome is not guaranteed. Sometimes, saving a patient from injury or death is not possible. However, there are some cases in which an ER patient is harmed because a doctor or other staff makes an unacceptable mistake. ER medical malpractice occurs when the following elements are present:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed. To have a valid medical malpractice claim, you must be an actual patient in the ER. For example, you cannot sue an ER nurse for inadequate treatment that he or she provided during a social gathering.
  • You received negligent care. A doctor or other medical professional acts negligently when he or she provides care that fails to meet the accepted “standard of care.” This standard of care refers to the degree of skill and competency that an average medical professional in the same position would have provided in similar circumstances. Testimony from expert witnesses is often used to establish whether or not a medical professional’s care violated the standard of care during a medical malpractice claim.
  • You suffered harm because of the negligent care. Proving that an ER doctor or nurse provided substandard care is not enough to satisfy the criteria for medical malpractice. You must also show that you suffered harm or “damages” because of the negligent care. Damages in an ER medical malpractice claim may include additional medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages from missed work, reduced income-earning capacity, and other losses.

Contact a Waukegan ER Negligence Lawyer

If you suspect that you or a loved one were the victims of emergency room malpractice, contact a Lake County medical malpractice attorney from Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. Our team will investigate your case and help you determine if medical malpractice has occurred. If you were the victim of ER malpractice, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call our office today at 847-662-3303 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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