Legal Guide

Dealing with Cases of Preventable Harm in Hospitals

Around 5% of patients experience preventable harm while they are receiving health care, and medical malpractice is a primary cause of injury and death around the world. While patients with very serious conditions or who are undergoing complicated surgery might expect to be exposed to considerable risks during their treatment, other patients can come to harm because of completely avoidable situations. In these cases, if they can prove that their injuries are due to the violation of standard care by a health professional, then they can bring a case of medical malpractice to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Investigating Incidents of Birth Injury

In the United States, up to 8 in 1000 babies experience an injury at birth. Birth injuries can be devastating and in some cases lead to lifelong conditions for both the mother and baby. Most of the harm incurred during delivery is preventable, and almost half of the injuries to mother and baby during birth could be avoided simply with greater awareness and planning for easily identifiable risk factors. A thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the delivery by a birth injury lawyer will determine whether the duty of care received was substandard. If this is the case, compensation from a malpractice suit could help to cover immediate medical costs, and long-term care where necessary. 

Detecting Errors in Medication

Every year in the US, at least 7,000 patients die due to medication mistakes. While not always reported, many thousands more experience an adverse reaction or other complications due to being given the wrong medication. Errors with medication are a common cause of negligence in hospitals and they can occur at several points during a patient’s treatment, from the prescription of drugs after a first diagnosis to the administration of medication during treatment. Although this can make identifying the origin of the error in order to prove medical malpractice more difficult, almost half of the mistakes have been found to occur at the dispensing stage which is easier to detect.

Suing for Wrong-Site Surgery

Wrong-site surgery or wrong procedure is a common type of never event in hospitals, and could occur in as many as 4.5 in 10000 procedures.  Never events are very serious incidents such as operating on the wrong part of the body, or leaving a foreign object in a patient after a procedure that should never have been allowed to occur. The consequences of wrong site surgery can be particularly devastating for patients as the procedure was completely avoidable. When making a claim for malpractice, wrong-site surgery can always be shown to have caused physical injury as it involves cutting into a patient unnecessarily.

Medical negligence is a common cause of morbidity and death in hospitals and can occur at any stage of a patient’s healthcare and in many different forms. Dealing with the consequences of preventable errors and injury can be difficult but, by holding those responsible to account, not only can an appropriate settlement be agreed but future patient safety is also improved.

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