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Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

When a medical mistake occurs don't expect an apology

Medical Mistake.JPGNo one likes admitting they made a mistake.  It is no fun owning up to where you fell short.  In the world of medicine this is amplified.  A recent study published in The Journal of Patient Safety found that it is the exception, not the rule that Patients who are victims of a medical mistake or injury rarely get an acknowledgment or apology.

The study was led by Dr. Martin Makary a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  They looked at responses to a patient harm questionnaire from a one year period ending in May 2013.  While the findings are not enough to make definitive conclusions when it comes to patient harm and disclosure they serve as a great place to start a conversation about accountability in medical care.

How do I know if I should sue my doctor?

justice.jpgOur Law firm looks at two primary factors when we help a potential client determine if they have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. The first thing we try to determine is if the doctor failed to meet the standard of care the victim should have recieved.  

Then we look at the injury to determine if there is enough of an injury to the victim to warrant a lawsuit.

We understand that the decision to sue can be a difficult decision to make.  So we want to me sure that they have had a chance to consider all the factors.  

My baby was born with a birth injury now what?

birth.jpgA birth injury or defect is last thing on any any parent's mind on the day their child is born. They have had a plan they followed for 9 months and this is the day it all comes together, but complications can arise. During both the pregnancy and delivery there are situations and events that may result in injury to the baby. If they were avoidable, it is critical that the legal rights of the child and parents are protected. 

Not all birth injuries are grounds for a legal claim.  Many times complications occur during delivery that despite a doctor's best efforts and skills result in unavoidable birth injuries.  However if it can be determined that a dangerous or defective product, negligent doctors or reckless care practices contributed to a baby's condition, there may be grounds to pursue compensation. It can be very difficult to establish the cause of an injury or defect and generally requires a team of legal and medical experts to determine.

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