America is responsible for 99% of the global opiod sales of hydrocodone and for 81% of oxycodone sales. In 2013 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as many as 249 million painkiller prescriptions were written in the U.S. Patients want a magic cure for their pain, and their doctors want to give it to them.
But at what cost? Especially when the results may be permanent disabling injury or death.
Chronic pain claims are rising
Chronic pain malpractice claims are on the rise. According to Kelly Pollak, MD from the University of Washington and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, malpractice claims associated with chronic pain cases have increased in number and severity for over 30 years. The number of pain specialists has also grown. And it’s these healthcare professionals who are using more potent analgesics and interventions.
Dr Pollak reported that besides the rapid growth of chronic pain malpractice claims, the numbers have also increased for pain anesthesiologists. Anesthesiologists are prescribing opioid medications, and those giving cervical spine (neck) injections must be aware of the increase in severe adverse outcomes that can lead to malpractice claims. For those who have suffered from chronic pain at the hands of their doctors and have nowhere to turn,medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago are on hand for patients to talk with.
Opiod treatments: The smoking gun
In analyzing chronic pain management malpractice claims, Dr Pollak found that death was the most common side effect of opiods and sedatives. Due to the serious nature of prescription drug injuries and deaths, patients and/or their families should consult medical malpractice lawyers in the Chicago area to assist them.
Health care providers are struggling with finding treatments for chronic pain. In doing so, strong medications are prescribed, drugs that can cause addictions. Patients may become addicted over an extended period of time due to drug tolerance. Their bodies have grown accustomed to the drug. As a result, dosages can increase.
When drugs like the opiod oxycodone or the benzodiazepine Xanax are prescribed, even patients with no prior addiction issues may become hooked. Patients with chronic pain are very often desperate for pain relief, so additional doses can happen in order for them to feel pain-free for a short time.
Chronic pain is a real pain to its sufferers. While chronic pain patients may have difficulty knowing where to turn regarding medical malpractice lawyers, Chicago has law professionals who can help.
When Urmila Patel arrived to the emergency room at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington heights, she expected to be treated properly, as any patient would. Instead, she received the wrong diagnosis and the wrong treatment under the care of three separate doctors. After six days in the hospital, she was transferred to the University of Illinois hospital, where she received a new diagnosis. The damage was already done.
Patel spent more than the next three years in a nursing home before she was strong enough to return home. She continues to report limited use of her hands and legs. Clearly, doctors need to get the right diagnosis. When they do not, it can cause days of suffering, or in Patel’s case, years of suffering and a lifetime of decreased ability to function.
Doctors Need to be Accountable
What makes Patel’s treatment even worse is the fact that three separate doctors treated her over two days before the wrong treatment was stopped. While the first doctor made the wrong diagnosis, the next two doctors did not take the steps necessary to fix the mistake. The damage to the patient continued for days. According to her lawyers, the wrong treatment probably caused much of the brain damage to Patel.
Patel and her husband took the right steps to hold the doctors at Northwest Community Hospital responsible for their actions. They filed a lawsuit with the help of Chicago medical malpractice lawyers, leading to a $5 million settlement by the doctors responsible and the hospital.
Medical Malpractice can Happen Anywhere
Northwest Community Hospital is not even a dangerous hospital for its patients. In 2013, it received an “A” grade for safety in a number of different areas, including:
If a big mistake can happen at a hospital known and cited for its great safety record, it can happen anywhere. With medical errors still firmly in third place as a cause of death in the U.S., there is a lot of work to be done in preventing medical malpractice. When it happens, doctors need to be kept accountable for their actions, and victims need to defend their right to proper diagnosis and treatment.
Misfilled Prescriptions Lead to Serious Consequences
Despite pharmacy chains having spent billions on improving safety, implementing the latest technology, and other necessary improvements, errors still occur when prescriptions are being filled. While these errors constitute less than 1% of all prescriptions filled in the US, they still represent millions of instances when the medication prescribed was not the medication received. An aging American population means even more prescriptions being filled in the future, potentially increasing the overall number of errors.
Corporate Policies Affect Pharmacists
According to an investigation conducted by USA Today, corporate policies play a part in incorrectly filled prescriptions. Some of these policies encourage very fast turnover in the pharmacy, resulting in pharmacists being responsible for filling many dozens, or even hundreds, of prescriptions every shift. This allowed trends to develop that set the stage perfectly for pharmacists to become overwhelmed and make mistakes. These trends included:
Even in cases where safety systems are put in place to avoid these types of problems, human error still makes it possible for incorrectly filled prescriptions to reach patients.
Medical Malpractice and Misfilled Prescriptions
When health care providers are negligent, grave injury, or even death, may be the result. In the case of incorrectly filled prescriptions, the pharmacist or pharmacy may be held liable for damages that result from improper dosages and incorrect medications. Often, when medical malpractice has occurred, damages can be assessed for lost wages, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, lost wages, and household services. However, it can be difficult to hold the responsible parties liable without the help of an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer.
Chicago medical malpractice lawyers can help protect the rights of those injured through the negligence of Illinois medical professionals. The issues surrounding medical malpractice suits can be very complex. Without proper legal representation, it may prove impossible to collect damages in a medical malpractice case involving misfilled prescriptions.
When Illinois parents receive a cerebral palsy diagnosis for their newborn babies, determining what caused the disorder is often one of these couples’ top priorities. This is especially true when medical error is suspected to have played a role in an infant’s condition, as any Illinois medical malpractice lawyer would know. Not only may a malpractice lawsuit help parents address the expense of raising a special needs child, but knowing that the fault lies with health care providers may relieve parents’ burdens of guilt and help families deal with the diagnoses as cohesive units.
What is cerebral palsy?
According to cerebral palsy organization MyChild, the condition is an incurable, permanent neurological disorder affecting muscle coordination and bodily movements. The disorder results from brain damage that occurs during a pregnancy, during labor or right after birth.
Causes of the condition
The causes of cerebral palsy fall into four general categories:
The manifestation of cerebral palsy symptoms may vary greatly, depending in large part on the location, nature and severity of the underlying brain injury or malformation.
The role of medical error in cerebral palsy cases
According to MyChild, a birth injury may play a large role in the development of cerebral palsy, as the condition is often tied to premature deliveries, the mechanical ventilation of newborns and bacterial infections. An Illinois medical malpractice lawyer would explain that these issues may be effectively addressed by health care providers who adhere to the standards of their professions.
Those who suspect their children’s cerebral palsy may have stemmed from a birth injury may wish to consult an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer. This may provide these parents with a better understanding of any legal claims they have against their health care providers or the facility in which their babies were delivered.