Unfortunately, hospital and other medical errors are pretty common in the state of Illinois and all over the United States. A quarter of a million people in the U.S. die every day due to medical errors, and this is known as medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is usually a result of negligence on the part of the doctor and possibly even the entire medical facility. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of medical errors in the state of Illinois.
Most surgeries require anesthesia (especially if they’re invasive), but anesthesia isn’t an exact science. This means that the anesthesiologist isn’t always 100% sure how much anesthesia is needed for a patient. Too much can cause brain damage in older patients and death in children, while too little may cause the patient to wake up during the surgery. Both of these situations can result in negligence.
Falls are often associated with standing and then falling, but falls related to surgery typically mean that a patient wasn’t properly secured in their bed after surgery. Many surgeries leave a patient incapacitated due to anesthesia and other medications, and a fall from a bed is considered negligence.
Negligent care in general after surgery is also pretty common in the state of Illinois. Patients who aren’t monitored properly after their surgery can be subject to falls, develop infections, and may be suffering from another illness that the physician may have missed.
Physicians may accidentally prescribe patients the wrong medications (or the wrong dosage of the correct medication) after surgery. This can lead to pain and discomfort, more complications, and even death.
While it sounds like a nightmare that only happens on TV, the procedure a patient needs could be wrongly communicated to the surgeon, or the surgeon may perform the correct procedure on the wrong side of the body.
Failure to Check for Allergies and Interactions
Prescription mistakes can also occur outside of the hospital. The primary care physician (PCP) or nurse practitioner (NP) can forget to ask their patient if they’re allergic to any ingredients, or if they’re taking other medications. Certain medications (both prescription and nonprescription) can’t be taken together or there will be serious side effects.
Some medications have to be taken a certain way, whether it’s at a certain time of day, with food, etc. If a doctor or pharmacist fails to give the patient the correct instructions, it is considered negligence.
Doctors can also be negligent in prescribing the correct dosage of medicine. A dosage that is too high can cause more problems and even death, while a dosage that is too low will not correct the problem it was supposed to correct— which can also lead to more serious problems or death.
Prescribing the Wrong Medication
Again, this can happen to patients who aren’t undergoing surgery. Medications are prescribed for a variety of reasons other than pain, and the wrong medication can accidentally be prescribed at any time.
Birth injuries are injuries that a fetus or newborn sustains before, during, or right after delivery. Obstetricians who are negligent during delivery can cause short-term or even lifelong harm to a newborn baby. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
Failure to Diagnose (and Treat)
Sometimes doctors will misinterpret a patient’s symptoms or lab results, and this can result in a failure to diagnose. When a patient doesn’t get treatment, their condition can worsen.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Misinterpretation of symptoms or lab results can also result in a misdiagnosis. Failure to thoroughly check a patient’s medical history can also lead to a misdiagnosis. An incorrect diagnosis not only means that something is being treated that doesn’t need to be, but it also means that what needs to be treated is not being treated. Both a misdiagnosis and a failure to diagnose can lead to a delayed diagnosis, and a medical malpractice lawyer should be contacted in any of these cases.
The majority of medical errors can be prevented, which is why it may be necessary to contact a lawyer if you or a family member were a victim of medical malpractice. Medical errors of any type can lead to lifelong illnesses, conditions, and even death. Correcting a medical error can also be more expensive than if the error didn’t occur at all, so compensation is necessary.