When Bad Medicine is what the Doctor Ordered

Improperly conducted internal medical treatments pose an immediate and potentially lethal threat to a patient’s health. Claims filed by Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are often a combination of bad medicine, poor training, and failure to adhere to protocols.

Misdiagnosis

In 2015, the Institute of Medicine estimated that nearly 12 million diagnostic errors take place every year. Based on the number of people who seek outpatient care, that means that 1 in 20 adults who seek treatment will walk away with the wrong diagnosis. It is estimated that nearly 10% of patient fatalities, and 17% of adverse events within hospitals are caused by diagnostic errors. These occur because of poor communication, lackadaisical testing procedures, and delays in properly diagnosing and treating underlying medical conditions.

Nearly 39% of all internal medical malpractice claims stem from misdiagnosing medical conditions. Over 56% of these claims show inadequate patient assessment that can delay further testing and the administration of appropriate treatment plans.

Medication Errors

The FDA estimates that nearly 7,000 people die each year due to medication errors. It is estimated that medication errors affect more than 1.5 million patients every year. These errors include prescribing the wrong medication, prescribing an excessive dosage, and failing to take into account interactions with other drugs a patient is prescribed. Mistakes with medication are among the most deadliest types of internal medicine errors. They are especially lethal in regard to insulin, anticoagulants, and sedatives. Errors with these medications can lead to heart attacks, internal hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, and loss of brain function.

Improper dosage and application of anesthesia is a significant contributor to the rates of medication errors. Errors in the administration of anesthesia can cause severe brain damage or death. These errors can include providing too much anesthetic or improperly monitoring a patient’s vital signs before, during, and following surgery. In some cases, the error may be caused by the use of defective medical equipment.

Surgical Errors

No surgery is minor and improperly conducted surgical procedures can have a devastating impact on patient health and safety. Each year, nearly 27 million surgeries are conducted in the United States. Of these, it is estimated that 1 in 100,000 will result in a “wrong-site” surgery where the surgeon will operate on the wrong arm, leg, organ, or even patient. It is further estimated that surgeons or perioperative nurses will leave sponges or other surgical tools inside a patient in 1 of every 10,000 surgeries.

These errors can have a significantly detrimental impact on patient health. At the very least, in the event of a wrong site surgery, patients will have to undergo a second surgery to correct the original health problem. This will delay their recovery time considerably, and the wrong surgery may create considerable complications for care. Should a surgical team leave tools or debris within the patient’s body, it can quickly cause sepsis and other infections that can threaten the patient’s life.

X-Ray Overdose

Americans are exposed to ionizing radiation on a regular basis. Dental x-rays, mammograms, etc. are not without risk. When an x-ray machine malfunction or patients are exposed to too many tests, the results can be lethal. Each exposure to ionizing radiation increases the possibility that the patient will develop cancer. If a patient experiences significant exposure during a single test, this cancer may develop and spread rapidly throughout the body.

Medical Device Malfunctions

In 2013, the FDA ordered recalls on 63 high-risk medical devices. This was an increase of 350% over the previous five years. Most of these devices were recalled due to defects in manufacturing that could endanger patient health and safety. Of the devices that were recalled, 29% malfunctioned during use.

Alarmingly, the high recall rate can be attributed to the FDA’s 510(k) program which allows manufacturers to market devices to physicians without adequately testing them. In fact, 71% of high-risk devices brought to market via this program and used by physicians have been recalled. These devices include knee and hip replacements, transvaginal mesh, IUD’s, and bone grafts,

When devices used in internal medicine malfunction they can cause internal bleeding, infection, and excessive wear on bone structures. These injuries can severely impact a patient’s health and quality of life. If uncorrected, they can cause permanent damage, loss of fertility, and even death.

Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago can help patients recover damages caused from these types of bad internal medicine. Each year, millions of patients in American hospitals and outpatient care facilities receive inadequate, improper, and ineffective treatment. Patients who have suffered at the hands of their internal medicine provider should thoroughly document their treatment and any adverse events they have experienced. This information can be used to build a complete picture showing the causes and effects the treatment has had on their lives.

Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
25 Aug 2017
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks

Illinois residents who look forward to taking road trips need to be aware that there […]

You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
21 Aug 2017
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents while boating in […]

Seven Surgeries Account for 80 Percent of Deaths

Recent research published by JAMA Surgery reveals that an astonishing 80 percent of all hospital deaths and complications are a result of just seven emergency medical procedures. The study, which was led by the director of Emergency Surgery Services at Brigham & Women’s Hospital Dr. Joaquim M. Havens, included an analysis of more than 420,000 adults who underwent an emergency medical procedure within two days of being admitted to the hospital between 2008 and 2011. Heart-related procedures and emergency surgeries that were a result of motor vehicle crashes and other traumatic events were not included in the study.

Each year, more than three million individuals undergo emergency surgery in the United States. According to Havens, emergency general surgical procedures are often more risky than surgeries that are planned in advance. In fact, those who undergo elective surgeries are eight times more likely to survive without serious complications that those who experience the exact same type of procedure in an emergency. It is believed that this is partially due to the fact that individuals who undergo emergency surgery are typically in an urgent health crisis like gastrointestinal bleeding, severe infections, or obstruction of the bowel.

Disturbingly, the overall mortality rate for individuals who undergo emergency surgery is 1.23 percent, while the complication rate is an astonishing 15 percent. The average cost for each admission to the hospital was more than $13,000.

Which Emergency Procedures Are Most Risky?

While some of the surgical procedures that top the list are simply risky surgeries to begin with, the fact that they are performed in an emergency setting without the benefit of proper preparation makes them even more dangerous. According to the research, the seven emergency medical procedures that cause 80 percent of hospital deaths and complications include:

  • Partial Colectomy: The emergency medical procedure that was determined to account for the highest burden is partial colectomy. While this procedure is not the most commonly performed on the list, when performed in an emergency situation the complication rate and mortality rate is very high. In fact, the complication rate for individuals who undergo a partial colectomy is a disturbing 42.8 percent, and the mortality rate is 5.33 percent.
  • Small Bowel Resection: 46.94 percent of small bowel resections result in at least one complication, and 6.47 percent result in death. According to Dr. Havens, part of the reason for such a high ranking is that individuals who undergo this type of procedure are typically very ill and the lack of time to prepare makes the potential for infection high.
  • Cholecystectomy: While the complication rate for cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal surgery) is only 8.06 percent, and the mortality rate is just 0.22 percent, this emergency procedure made the list due to the high number of surgeries that are performed.
  • Surgical Management of Peptic Ulcer Disease: Ulcers that occur in the lining of the stomach often result in pain and bleeding that requires emergency surgical intervention. Although proton pump inhibitors have made this type of surgery much less common, the operation is usually performed on patients who are resistant to other procedures which makes it more complicated. The mortality rate is a disturbing 6.83 percent, and the rate of complications is 42 percent.
  • Removal of Peritoneal Adhesions: Abdominal adhesions that are not treated can cause patients to become extremely ill. The complications that peritoneal adhesions cause make emergency surgery very risky. The complication rate for this type of procedure is 28.09 percent, and the mortality rate is 1.59 percent.
  • Appendectomy: With a complication rate of just 7.27 percent and a death rate of only 0.08 percent, appendectomy is a fairly safe procedure. The frequency of the procedure, however, places this type of surgery on the list. During the four year period studied, more than 680,000 appendectomies were performed in the United States.
  • Laparotomy: A death rate of 23.76 percent and a complication rate of 40.15 percent make a laparotomy sound extremely risky. The procedure is not frequently performed, but its high complication and mortality rates put it on the list. While the operation itself is not particularly risky, patients who undergo this type of procedure are often suffering from cancer or another condition that cannot be repaired.

The study reveals that an estimated 50 percent of individuals who undergo an emergency surgery will develop some type of complication, and 15 percent are re-admitted into the hospital within just 30 days. Since the research did not focus on individuals who had these and other procedures more than two days after hospital admission, possible differences in care and the full impact of these types of surgeries are not accounted for. Researchers suggest that a deeper analysis of these types of surgeries should be conducted to help identify the reasons they are so burdensome and to improve patient outcomes.

Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
25 Aug 2017
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks

Illinois residents who look forward to taking road trips need to be aware that there […]

You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
21 Aug 2017
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents while boating in […]

700 U.S. Deaths per Day Caused by Medical Errors

A new analysis shows that more than 250,000 deaths each year in the United States are caused by medical mistakes – an eight-year study that totals nearly 700 deaths per day because of medical error. The deaths caused by medical error involve a wide range of medical mistakes, from the administration of the wrong prescription drug to operating on the wrong patient or body part. Thousands of medical malpractice cases each year have put the healthcare industry in the spotlight. Any victim of medical malpractice in Illinois’ largest city may contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to learn how to seek justice for these life-changing and sometimes fatal mistakes.

(Article continues below infographic.)

Medical Error Third Leading Cause of Death
The results of a study were recently released reporting the main causes of death in the United States. The study was conducted between 2000 and 2008 by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics at Johns Hopkins University. The top cause of death during that eight-year period was reported as heart disease, followed by cancer and thirdly medical error. Medical error totaled an annual amount of around 9.5% of all deaths in the United States, or more than 250,000 deaths per year. That number is larger than deaths caused by major diseases like Alzheimer’s and Diabetes or even common causes like strokes and accidents. Although researchers were able to report the number of deaths caused by medical error using a wide variety of sources, the exact cause of those deaths was not commonly reported in detail by medical professionals.

Medical Malpractice – A Topic That is Not Discussed
Medical malpractice is a topic frequently swept under the rug by the healthcare industry and medical professionals. The fact is that medical errors are not required to be described in detail by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention leaves a vast collection of vague “medical error” data reports. As the Johns Hopkins study revealed, deaths due to medical error were rarely reported in detail. Compared with earlier studies of medical mistakes, research has also shown that the numbers have not changed much. In a world of developing technologies and life-changing medical advances, one might think that cases of medical error would have fallen in the past decade. But, research has shown the opposite.

These Mistakes Can Cost the Lives of Patients
These “not talked about” medical mistakes can cause not only major health issues for patients, but even severe injury or death. Medical malpractice is defined by Illinois law as an injury or death that results from the breach by a medical professional or institution from their normal standards of care. That “breach of normal standards” could be anything from a misdiagnosis to a misguided surgery. If a healthcare provider or hospital is responsible for an injury, a medical malpractice case may be viable. If death results from the medical error, the family of the victim may bring a wrongful death case against the medical provider. Without the right amount of data available, it is hard to determine the leading causes of medical error. But, many cases have been brought in to the public eye, reporting medical mistakes such as birth injuries, surgical mistakes and misdiagnosis.

Some common types of reported medical mistakes can include:

  • Birth injuries, some resulting in cerebral palsy
  • Eye surgery or Lasik surgery errors
  • Senior Abuse or Nursing Home Abuse
  • Emergency Room Accidents & Hospital Malpractice
  • Improper Administration of Anesthesia
  • Surgical or Operation Errors
  • Diagnostic Mistakes
  • Prescription of Wrong Medication
  • Unauthorized Medical Procedures
  • Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Breaches

These are just a few examples of common cases of medical malpractice. There are likely many other instances where medical error has not been reported correctly or where victims have not sought out financial compensation for their injuries. From misdiagnosis to surgical injuries or the administration of the wrong medication, medical mistakes in Illinois are a serious problem that should be addressed by the healthcare community. For the victims of medical malpractice and their families in Illinois, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can advise the right course of action.

The world of medical malpractice is wide. Although researchers have now compiled data showing the number of medical error cases in the United States per year, there is little data showing the exact causes of these errors. By researching past lawsuits, reviewing common medical mistakes and consulting with a professional attorney, victims of medical malpractice can determine if their specific case is grounds for legal action against a medical professional or healthcare institution. Any victims of possible medical malpractice in Illinois’ largest city may seek advice from a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to learn how to proceed. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help an injured patient seek financial aid for their disability, compensation for their medical bills, or help a grieving family seek damages for their tragic loss.

Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
25 Aug 2017
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks

Illinois residents who look forward to taking road trips need to be aware that there […]

You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
21 Aug 2017
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents while boating in […]

Experimental Surgeries Lead to Medical Malpractice Cases

Technology is advancing quickly in almost every sector. This is especially true in the medical field, where new medications, procedures and surgeries are leading to more effective treatments. In order for physicians to determine if these new treatments are effective, some level of experimentation is required.

(Article continues below Infographic)

Many experimental treatments have positive results, and eventually expand to widespread use. Unfortunately, not all medical experiments are successful. Experimental surgeries have led to a variety of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, brain damage, paralysis, neurological damage or seizures.

Experimental Surgery Leads to Tragic Results

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. A faculty member at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria recently settled a malpractice casefor $30 million, after performing a series of experimental surgeries on a patient. After conducting 24 experimental surgeries on a child who was born with a leak in his esophagus, which a Chicago medical malpractice attorney deemed to be a non-life-threatening condition, an improperly used surgical needle led to a severed pulmonary artery, which resulted in brain damage and cerebral palsy, according to the claim.

Informed Consent

Because of the risks involved, Illinois medical practitioners are legally obligated to make their patients aware of any hazards involved with experimental therapy or treatment, before it is conducted. This is referred to as informed consent. Patients have the legal right to refuse to participate in experimental surgeries or any type of experimental therapy or treatment. If a medical practitioner does not comply with the laws surrounding informed consent, a medical malpractice lawsuit might be warranted.

Even though patients typically sign consent forms designed to protect doctors and medical facilities from liability, they can still be considered negligent. If a patient signs a consent form but the medical practitioner did not properly warn the patient of the risks, or committed some other form of medical malpractice, a lawsuit can result. In most cases, a signature on a hospital or surgery center’s standard consent form is not sufficient proof that a patient was legally informed of any surgical risks. Typically, a special consent for treatment form, outlining each risk in detail, is required.

If a patient is unable to consent, due to mental incapacity or a medical condition which prevents the individual from doing so, the family must consent on the person’s behalf. Ethical medical practitioners will discuss the proposed surgery with the patient and/or the family and allow them to fully participate in the decision making process.

Patients should also be told if any alternative treatments are available to them, outside of experimental medical protocols. Basically, a patient should be well aware of all available options and never be inappropriately persuaded to try an experimental surgery. Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago can provide guidance when establishing the viability of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Unauthorized Treatments

One would generally not assume that medication or devices brought in from another country from a friend, that have not been approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, would be safe. Just because a treatment is offered by a doctor, does not guarantee that it is safe. If a doctor provides unauthorized surgery, or any medical treatment, and something goes wrong, that doctor might be liable for any harm that was caused.

It is important that medical practitioners always conduct experimental surgeries in an ethical way, taking into consideration the standards and guidelines governing human subjects as research. Patients must be made fully aware of the following considerations:

  • Potential conflict of interest
  • Risks vs. possible gains
  • Results of prior experimental surgeries of the same nature
  • Any safer alternatives, regardless of their potential effectiveness

Medical Malpractice Cases

In Illinois, legal medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, healthcare professional or medical facility breaches a “standard of care” while treating a patient which results in their injury or death. The injured patient must be able to prove that the negligence of a medical professional directly caused their injuries. A patient or family has two years from the date that they became aware that the injury was caused by a medical practitioner to file a lawsuit. These time limits vary slightly for patients under the age of 18, who have up to eight years to file a lawsuit, as long as it is filed before they turn 22.

Damages, or monetary awards, compensate injured parties for any suffering or expenses they incurred because of medical malpractice. This could include medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Illinois has no monetary caps on damages for medical bills, but this law is subject to change. Chicago medical malpractice lawyers analyze the facts of a case and help victims determine its viability.

Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks
25 Aug 2017
Road Trips May Bring Increased Car Accident Risks

Illinois residents who look forward to taking road trips need to be aware that there […]

You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America
21 Aug 2017
You May Be Surprised By One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents while boating in […]