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When Is Delayed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?Doctors are required to complete rigorous degree programs and training before becoming licensed physicians. They learn about the signs and symptoms of countless medical conditions so they can diagnose these conditions and provide the necessary treatment. However, doctors are not always able to pinpoint the exact cause of a person’s health concerns. It may take dozens of diagnostic tests and procedures before the person has an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, doctors and specialists are not able to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms. While not every diagnostic mistake is the result of negligence, there are some situations in which a doctor’s failure to make a timely and accurate diagnosis is considered medical malpractice.  

Doctors Have a Duty to Provide Reasonably Skilled Medical Care

Doctors and other medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide reasonably proficient medical treatment. They are not expected to be perfect, but they are expected to be competent. The question of whether or not a diagnostic mistake is flagrant enough to be considered malpractice is often very difficult to answer. Medical malpractice attorneys have a variety of tools and resources at their disposal that are used to investigate doctors’ actions and inaction and determine if malpractice occurred. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical malpractice attorney must prove that:

  • A doctor-patient relationship was established.
  • The doctor provided treatment that did not meet the medical standard of care
  • The doctor’s failure to provide quality care caused the patient harm
  • The patient suffered damages as a result of this harm

The standard of medical care is a hypothetical measuring stick used to determine if a doctor’s actions deviated from what a typical doctor of similar status would have done under similar circumstances. Expert testimony from respected medical professionals is often used during a medical malpractice lawsuit to shed light on the reasonableness of a doctor’s actions.

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Can I Sue a Pharmacy for a Prescription Medication Error?When you get a medication prescription from the doctor and have it filled at your local pharmacy, you probably trust the pharmacy staff to do their jobs accurately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is estimated that 1.3 million people are injured by medication mistakes in the United States every year. While some of these errors are minor and do not cause harm to the patient, others result in hospitalization and death. If you or a loved one were the victim of a pharmacy error, a medical malpractice claim may help you recover compensation.

Common Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the medications that their doctors have prescribed them. In addition to dispensing medications, they also review prescriptions for accuracy, check for drug interactions, and explain medication directions to patients. When a pharmacy worker makes a mistake during any of these steps, the patient can suffer serious harm. Some of the most common pharmacy errors include:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the medication
  • Mislabeling medications
  • Dispensing medication with an incorrect delivery method
  • Failing to provide adequate information about the use of medication
  • Failing to warn the patient about side effects or risks of using the medication
  • Failing to account for potential drug interactions with other medications or allergies
  • Failing to ask about other medications or allergies before dispensing the medication
  • Failing to confirm prescription information with the physician if the prescription is difficult to read or contains inaccurate information

Consequences of Prescription Medication Errors

If a person receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication, he or she may not realize it until he or she starts experiencing symptoms. Depending on the type of medication and the person’s medical conditions, a medication error can cause the person’s existing medical condition to worsen and may also result in new medical problems. A serious medication error may even be fatal. Pharmacy prescription errors can result in problems that require hospitalization and extensive medical care. Through a pharmacy malpractice claim, a medication error victim may be entitled to compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and more.

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Can I Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim Against My Chiropractor?Chiropractic medicine primarily concerns the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including manual manipulation of the spine and soft tissues to relieve pain, restore mobility, and promote wellness. This particular field of medicine is often the subject of controversy and debate. Some people swear by the relief chiropractic treatment gives them while others believe the practice to be little more than pseudoscience. If you or a loved one were injured by a chiropractor, you may wonder whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Injuries That May Be Caused by Negligent Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic treatment often involves the chiropractor using his or her hands or instruments to apply force to joints and muscle tissue. These treatments, called “adjustments,” are typically intended to relieve back pain and stiffness, neck pain, headaches, and other physical ailments. However, some patients find that chiropractic care actually worsens their conditions or creates new health problems. In fact, one study suggested 30 to 61 percent of all chiropractic patients experience some type of adverse effects from the treatment. Chiropractic adjustment may cause problems including but not limited to:

  • Vertebral artery dissection that can lead to a stroke
  • Herniated disc or worsening of an existing herniated disc
  • Compression of the nerves in the lower spine (cauda equina syndrome)

When is a Chiropractor Liable for a Patient’s Injury?

Although they are not medical doctors, chiropractors still have a legal obligation to provide competent medical treatment to patients. Most medical malpractice claims are based upon professional negligence. A chiropractor may be considered negligent if he or she:

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Common Birth Injuries That Can Be Caused by Medical NegligenceGiving birth to a child is one of the most miraculous experiences that a person can have. Sadly, some births do not go as planned. Research shows that about seven out of every 1000 births results in a birth injury. Some of these birth injuries are unavoidable. Others, however, are the result of negligence or wrongdoing by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. When medical malpractice causes an infant to be seriously injured, the results can be devastating.

Babies With Certain Risk Factors Are Most Likely to Be Injured During Birth

Infants are more likely to be injured during birth when medical devices such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used. Some of these injuries are only superficial cuts and bruises but others, such as intracranial hemorrhages, can cause serious, long-term damage. Babies are also more likely to suffer injury if they:

  • Are born prematurely
  • Are very large
  • Have a breech presentation
  • Experience excessive traction or rotation during delivery

However, birth injuries can still occur even when no risk factors are present.

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Can Cerebral Palsy Be Linked to Medical Malpractice?Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a congenital disorder that affects an individual’s muscle movement, tone, and posture. Because it hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner, people that are diagnosed with CP may need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing, eating, and motor skills. Since CP is often caused by brain damage that occurred either before or during a child’s birth, early detection can help parents establish a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suspect that a doctor, nurse, physician, or medical staff member acted negligently during your pregnancy or at the time of birth, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CP is the most common motor disability found in children. Although the explanation of CP is not always known, there are several causes that can be linked to the disorder, such as:

  • Genetic illness
  • Low birth weight
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Premature birth
  • A stroke in the womb or after birth
  • Lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Medical problems faced by the mother during pregnancy

The failure of medical professionals to act accordingly throughout pregnancy or the birthing process can also lead to CP. For instance, if infections or changes in heart rate go undetected, the doctor or nurse may be held liable. Furthermore, the careless actions of a medical staff member may lead to CP. Improper tool use, medication errors, or administrative mistakes can be linked to medical malpractice.

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