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Waukegan personal injury attorneysAbout 55 percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication on a regular basis. Many more take prescription medication occasionally for temporary illnesses and injuries. We trust that the medications we are prescribed are safe, effective, and dosed accurately. Unfortunately, prescription medication errors occur every day. Some of these errors are minor and do not result in any significant harm to the patient while other medication mistakes result in serious injury or death. If you have been the victim of a major medication error, you may be entitled to compensation.

Medication Errors Can Result in Painful, Lingering Consequences

Last October, an Illinois man rushed to the emergency room after realizing he was the victim of a major medication mistake. The man had been prescribed Tobramycin-Dexamethasone eye drops by his doctor after developing a minor eye infection. However, when the man went to Walgreens to have the prescription filled, the pharmacy worker gave him ear drops. The man trusted that the medication he received was correct and used the drops in his eyes for five days before realizing that he had received the wrong medication. He experienced painful burning and swelling of his eyes that lasted for months.

Medication errors that lead to medical malpractice claims often involve mislabeled medication, inaccurate dosing, prescription or administration of a medication the patient is allergic to, drug interactions, and medication mix ups. Depending on the circumstances, the fault for medication errors may lie with the doctor who prescribed the medication, the nurse or other healthcare worker who administered the medication, or the pharmacist who filled the prescription. Liability may also be shared by the hospital, pharmacy, nursing home, or other medical facility at which the error occurred.

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Waukegan medical malpractice attorneysAccording to a recent study, over 4000 avoidable surgical errors occur every year in the United States. These mistakes can range in severity from relatively minor to catastrophic or even fatal. Some surgical errors are so unacceptable that researchers have nicknamed them “never events” because they should literally never happen. Unfortunately, these “never events” do happen and when they do, patients can suffer devastating consequences. Medical malpractice lawsuits involving surgical errors result in over a billion dollars in payouts to patients and families each year. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a surgical error, a medical malpractice claim may help you receive compensation.

Frequency of Major Errors During Surgery

Individuals who wish to become surgeons must typically undergo upwards of 13 years of education and training in order to meet the qualifications to perform surgical procedures. General surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other surgeons are trained to know how to avoid major surgical mistakes. Unfortunately, this does not prevent thousands of patients from suffering every year due to careless errors.

It is estimated that incidences of surgeons leaving foreign objects inside of patients’ bodies occur approximately 39 times each week. When surgeons leave objects like medical tools, sponges, and towels inside of patient bodies, the patients can suffer extreme pain, infection, and other complications. Surgery errors such as performing surgery on the wrong body part or performing the wrong surgical procedure are also startlingly common.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThe death of a loved one is difficult no matter what the circumstances are. However, losing a loved one because of a medical professional’s negligence can be absolutely devastating. We trust doctors, dentists, nurses, nurses’ aides, surgeons, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to be competent in performing their duties. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that medical mistakes are the third-most leading cause of death in the United States. If you have lost a loved one because of a medical professional’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional wrongdoing, a wrongful death lawsuit may help you hold the negligent party accountable.

When Is a Medical Professional Considered Negligent?  

As hard as doctors and other healthcare professionals try, sometimes, a loved one simply cannot be saved, and not every patient’s death is the result of a medical mistake. Knowing when a medical professional is liable for death is not always easy. A medical professional is considered negligent when the following conditions are present:

  • The professional owed a “duty of care” to the patient, meaning he or she had an obligation to provide competent treatment that meets the prevailing standard of care. The prevailing standard of care is typically defined as the care that a reasonable medical professional with a similar background and training would have provided under the same circumstances.
  • The professional breached his or her duty of care meaning the professional did not provide reasonably competent medical care.
  • The patient’s injury or death was directly caused by the medical professional’s failure to uphold his or her duty of care.
  • Quantifiable damages resulted from the patient’s injury or death. 

Damages can include medical expenses like hospital bills, nursing home bills, prescription medication costs, laboratory fees, and costs related to surgery. Through a wrongful death claim, you may also be able to get compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the loss of your loved one’s current income and future earnings, and your loved one’s pain and suffering before his or her death. If you have lost your spouse or child’s parent, you may also be eligible for compensation for the loss of consortium and the loss of parental guidance for your children.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneyInfluenza is a highly contagious viral infection that is often called “the flu.” An influenza infection can range in severity from mild to moderate. Some people get the flu and are able to recover on their own in a relatively short amount of time. Other people get the flu and die from the illness. In order to help prevent the spread of influenza, many people take a flu vaccine. Ten people from a facility for the intellectually disabled had to be rushed to the hospital after a medical mistake resulted in them receiving insulin instead of the flu. It is not known at this time whether or not the victims of this mistake will file medical malpractice claims or not.

Disabled Patients Given Insulin Instead of a Vaccine

Staff at the Oklahoma care facility in which the outrageous mix-up occurred decided that they wanted to provide flu shots for patients and employees. They contacted an experienced pharmacist who was not affiliated with the facility to administer flu vaccines. Unfortunately, the pharmacist accidentally administered insulin to the patients and staff instead of the influenza vaccine. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and is usually only given to individuals with diabetes. Receiving too much insulin can cause a person’s blood sugar to plummet – sometimes to fatal levels. While the victims of this medical mistake are expected to recover, the situation could have been much worse. Police chief Tracy Roles explained that “it could certainly have been very, very tragic.”

Medical Malpractice Is Shockingly Common

Unfortunately, this mix-up is not an isolated incident. In fact, an almost identical mistake was made at a school in Indianapolis. In September, 16 students received insulin instead of a tuberculosis skin test. Adverse drug events cause approximately 1 million emergency department visits every year. One study estimates that preventable medication errors cost almost $21 billion annually. Medical mistakes like these should not happen.

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Waukegan medical malpracticeWhen you go to your family doctor or visit the emergency room, you probably trust that any medication you are given will be safe and effective. While the majority of the time this is true, dangerous medication errors happen every day in medical facilities across the country. When medical negligence causes a person harm, he or she has the right to seek compensation for their damages through a medical malpractice claim. Read on to learn about some of the most common medication mistakes made by healthcare professionals and what you should do if you or someone you love was a victim of medical malpractice.

Types of Prescription Medication Mistakes

Medication mistakes can occur during physician prescribing, hospitalization, and pharmacy dispensation. Unfortunately, data shows that medication errors are extremely common. It is estimated that over 7 million people are affected by preventable medication mistakes every year.

Medication errors can occur when a doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, or pharmacist:

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