What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice
When you are sick or injured, you trust doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers to care for you. The responsibility that medical professionals have to their patients is like no other profession. When a hospital or medical professional makes a mistake, the results can be catastrophic. Tragically, medical mistakes and negligence are increasingly prevalent problems that leave thousands injured or killed every year.
Medical Errors Now Account for a Staggering Number of Deaths
The Latin phrase “Primum non noceere” which means, “First, do no harm,” is often recited by physicians as a promise to uphold their responsibility to keep patients safe from injury. Unfortunately, this promise is not always kept. Most people are aware that there are instances when medical professionals fail to do the job they have a sworn duty to do but have no idea how prevalent the problem really is. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that medical negligence—instances when health professionals cause injury to a patients—is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans than medical malpractice. Many of the victims of medical negligence seek financial compensation for their injuries. The issue is so pervasive that over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts in 2012 alone. This works out to an astounding one payout every 43 minutes.
Medical malpractice is defined as instances when a medical professional such as a nurse, doctor, or hospital worker, strays from the accepted “standard of care” while treating a patient. The “standard of care” refers to what a realistically sensible medical provider would have done under the same circumstances. When it is determined that the healthcare professional did not meet the required standard of care and that his or her action caused injury to a patient, he or she, or the medical facility that employs them, can be held accountable.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Because the average person is not trained in medicine, he or she may not realize exactly what is considered negligent behavior by a medical professional and what is not. Although medical malpractice can take many forms, the most common examples of medical negligence that lead to lawsuits include:
- Failure to identify symptoms;
- Testing mistakes or failure to order necessary tests;
- Misinterpreting or overlooking laboratory results;
- Medication dosage errors;
- Redundant surgery or other procedures;
- Surgical errors such as operating on the wrong body area;
- Mistakes made taking patient history;
- Premature discharge; and
- Inadequate follow-up care
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a medical professional or hospital’s negligence, you need an attorney who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. To speak with an experienced Orland Park medical malpractice lawyer at Schwartz Injury Law, call 708-226-9000 today.