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Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Brain Injuries during surgery are almost always preventable

Brain Injury.jpgSurgeries are never risk-free. They can result in unintended injuries, even under the best care; however, there are some types of injuries that raise an immediate red flag to lawyers who focus on medical negligence cases. Brain injuries during surgery are one of those types of "red-flag" injuries. In other words, they are the type of injury that should almost never occur, especially in young, healthy patients. 

Here is a brief overview how and why brain injuries occur during surgeries.

It is important to understand that the immediate cause of nearly all surgical brain injuries is insufficient oxygen supply. In other words, something (the initiating cause) leads to the brain getting deprived of oxygen and, unless reversed, will cause death of the brain tissue.

Health information technology is not immune to human error

Electronic-Health-Records.JPGDoctors can make mistakes when calculating the proper dosage of a medication. They can fail to read a patient's chart before prescribing a certain type of medication. In other cases, a patient's chart may be missing information vital for a doctor to designate the appropriate course of treatment.

The examples listed above only scratch the surface of the types of doctor errors that can lead to serious, and preventable, injuries to patients. Over the past few years the health care industry has begun introducing health information technology (health IT) and electronic health records (EHRs) to help reduce the potential for human errors. While the aim of health IT is to reduce doctor errors it still relies on humans to use and maintain it and as we all know humans make errors.

3 Things to Consider when Choosing a Medical Malpractice Attorney

IMG_0965.JPGMedical malpractice is one of the most intricate areas of law. The processes and details involved are extensive and expensive.  It is important that a law firm have the right experience, the right expertise and the resources to to support their clients and their case throughout the process. 

It is not uncommon for a medical malpractice case to take between three to five years to be resolved.  Whether that settlement is a verdict in a trial or a settlement having an experienced attorney to help you is important.  

Doctors. hospitals and insurance companies have a strong network of legal support behind them, that means picking an attorney and a law firm to represent you is an important first step.  Here are 3 things to consider as you choose an attorney to represent you or your loved ones:

7 Steps to Give Proper Informed Consent

IMG_0932.JPGOne thing you can always count on during a trip to the doctor's office is signing some paperwork.  There will probably be an intake document that provides or confirms your information as well as discloses the reason for your visit. You will also likely have a form explaining your HIPPA rights. Also among the forms you receive, you may find an informed consent form.

An informed consent form gives a doctor your permission to proceed with a procedure or treatment.  To be a truly informed patient you should wait and sign that form until you have had a chance to sit with your doctor and discuss what it allows the doctor to do, what the risks are, and what the alternatives are. While these forms are not a guarantee that things will go smoothly they allow you, the patient, to be confident in your decision to proceed with or decline treatment based on the best information you can gather. 

Reducing Preventable Readmissions Could Help Reduce Hospital Negligence

IMG_0885.JPGLeaving the hospital can be a sign that a person is on the road to recovery or has reached a point where his or her care can be managed at home. Many people look forward to this and often consider it the beginning of a new chapter.

Unfortunately, there are some people who cannot move forward as quickly as they would have hoped. For some patients, the 30 days after being released from the hospital can be a vulnerable and fragile period of time and many people develop or continue to experience adverse health conditions that jeopardize their recovery. This is referred to as post-hospital syndrome.

Some Hospitals are Collecting Data to Reduce Surgical Errors

IMG_0787.JPGThe very nature of surgery is risky without taking into account the possibility of surgical errors and/or medical negligence. The consequences of which can be very difficult for victims to cope with. Whether the consequences are physical, financial, emotional, or a combination, they can permanently affect a person's well-being.

Sadly, many of these errors are ultimately shown to have been preventable which can make matters even more upsetting for patients. Learning that a surgeon, nurse or anesthesiologist was careless or negligent in a patient's care can send the message that they simply don't value that person's health as much as they should. Now hospitals are starting to recognize the extent to which these errors affect patients -- and a facility's bottom line -- and are taking steps to prevent them.

Victims of Medical Malpractice, like Joan Rivers, deserve better.

Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers by David Shankbone 

Victims of a medical mistake are often dealing with difficult emotions and are understandably mad, sad, frustrated, confused and in pain. They are looking for justice. Victims find themselves in a difficult position at a time when they are emotionally and financially drained.  The complexity of a medical negligence lawsuit can seem very overwhelming.  

Just recently they family of Joan Rivers filed a medical malpractice suit against the doctors and clinic that were involved in the procedure that led to her death last August.  They dealing with much of what most victims do like the feelings of loss, sadness, anger and frustration. Melissa Rivers said that filing this lawsuit was one of the most difficult decisions she had ever made, a sentiment that is not uncommon among medical malpractice victims. Ultimately, the desire to see justice prevail was the determining factor as she said, "not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better".

What do I need to know about informed consent?

Informed-Consent.JPGThe relationship between a patient and the doctors and nurses treating that patient is a delicate one. Patients have to trust and rely on medical professionals to use their extensive training and experience, but that doesn't mean patients are okay being left in the dark when it comes to certain medical decisions.

This is why informed consent is crucial when it comes to the care people receive. Informed consent ensures that doctors explain to patients what their health condition is and what treatments are available. Patients then have the right to approve treatment and refuse treatments that they do not understand or agree with. Without the right information patients can't make informed and educated decisions about a proposed medical procedure or plan.  If they don't have the right information and they are injured while they are treated then they may want to see if they have a medical malpractice case.

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015 from the ECRI Institute (Infographic)

HealthTechHazards.JPGTechnology plays a critical role in the medical field. Ongoing research, innovations and inventions in health industry technology can lead to improved care, better communication and new treatments that may be more effective.

However, these advancements are not perfect. In fact, there are a number of ways that technology can prove to be a hazard in hospitals and care facilities and contribute to hospital negligence. According to a recent report by ECRI Institute, there are 10 specific hazards related to technology that everyone should be aware of in the next year.

Is a bad medical outcome Medical Malpractice?

medical_records.JPGMedical malpractice cases almost always involve a negative medical outcome, such as serious injury or death. But a negative outcome in and of itself is not always caused by medical negligence. One of the most important considerations is whether the physician met the expected standard of care.

It is a somewhat common misconception that a negative medical outcome (or adverse event) is the same thing as medical malpractice. There is some overlap, but they are not synonymous.  A negative outcome from a procedure, especially when it is unexpected, merits further investigation. Your best chance to uncover the truth in such a situation is to have help from medical and legal experts who know what to look for.

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