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Lake County medical malpractice attorneysLosing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances. However, if the loved one’s death was preventable, the loss is especially heartbreaking and infuriating. Sadly, it is estimated that medical errors result in the deaths of over 250,000 people per year in the United States. This makes medical mistakes the third-leading cause of death. 

If you have lost a loved one and you suspect medical negligence played a role in his or her death, you may wonder when a doctor or medical facility is liable for a patient’s death. If your loved one’s death was the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.

Proving That a Wrongful Death Was Caused by Medical Malpractice

Sometimes, a patient passes away and there is nothing that doctors and other medical workers could have done to prevent the death. However, this is not always the case. Failure to diagnose a medical condition or misdiagnosis, medication and anesthesia mistakes, surgical errors, or other forms of substandard medical treatment may result in the injury or death of a patient. 

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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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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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Lake County medical malpractice attorneysYou may be shocked to learn that medical mistakes are the third-most leading cause of death in the United States. One Johns Hopkins study estimates that as many as 400,000 people pass away every year due to medical mistakes in the U.S. alone. When you or a loved one has an unexpected medical emergency, you may drive to the emergency room to get the medical care you need. Although the majority of hospital emergency rooms safely provide the life-saving care that patients need without error, emergency room mistakes do happen.

ER Mistakes Can Be Devastating to the Victim

When someone experiences a drastic change in their health, they usually go to the emergency room. Because emergency room doctors and other medical staff are often dealing with high-stakes, time-sensitive medical emergencies, they must use extreme caution and focus when attending to patients. Unfortunately, studies show that as much as 5-10 percent of all emergency room visits involve mistakes. Some of these mistakes will not make a notable difference in the patient’s condition, but others can be the difference between whether the patient lives or dies. Some of the most common emergency room mistakes include:

  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis including inappropriate response to signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes
  • Medication errors including overmedicating, under-medicating, or giving patients the wrong medication or dosage
  • Failure to obtain proper patient medical history
  • Misuse of a medical device
  • Misinterpretation of laboratory test results
  • Unhygienic conditions which lead to an infection
  • Failure to provide appropriate medical treatment
  • Administrative mistakes including confused patient files and mislabeled test results

Pursuing Compensation for Medical Mistakes

Victims of medical malpractice may be left with significant economic and noneconomic damage, including enormous medical bills, a worsened medical condition, and significant pain and suffering. A mistake made in the emergency room could be the difference between recovering from a major health issue and not improving at all. 

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