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Medical Malpractice 101 - A Look At The Types of Med Mal and Why Medical Errors Occur

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We put our faith in the ability of our doctors to provide us with a certain level of skilled healthcare. One of the most fundamental lessons medical professionals learn in school is represented by the Latin phrase “primum non nocere” - first, do no harm. Even with the trust we put in doctors, and the priority of doctors not to cause their patients further injury and illness, mistakes are often made in the medical field which cost patients dearly. A Johns Hopkins study estimated that over 250,000 people died every single year due to medical error.

If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their lives due to the mistakes of a medical professional or the mistreatment in a medical facility, the attorneys at Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP can help. We will investigate your case to determine who was at fault and fight for you to make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Contact our medical malpractice attorneys today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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Medical Malpractice 101 - A Look At The Types of Med Mal and Why Medical Errors Occur

  1. 1. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE 101 A LOOK AT THE TYPES OF MED MAL, AND WHY MEDICAL ERRORS OCCUR WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM
  2. 2. HOW COMMON IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? We put our faith in the ability of our doctors to provide us with a certain level of skilled healthcare. One of the most fundamental lessons medical professionals learn in school is represented by the Latin phrase “primum non nocere” - first, do no harm. Even with the trust we put in doctors, and the priority of doctors not to cause their patients further injury and illness, mistakes are often made in the medical field which cost patients dearly. A Johns Hopkins study estimated that over 250,000 people died every single year due to medical error. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM
  3. 3. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? Medical practice occurs when a medical professional - doctors, nurses, etc. - provide care that diverges from what is accepted as standard or reasonable care. Medical malpractice might mean that a doctor makes mistakes or acts in an unreasonable manner and causes a patient harm. There are many types of malpractice that we’ll look at in the following but, first, let’s look why it can happen.
  4. 4. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM WHAT GOES WRONG? There are a number of causes of medical error, ranging from systematic errors to individual mistakes made by doctors. A few common reasons for medical error include:  Overworked Doctors/Understaffed Facilities - When a medical staff or facility is stretched thin in terms of capacity or time constraints, mistakes are more likely to happen.  Distracted or Inattentive Doctors - Whether too busy or simply not paying attention, a doctor is more likely to provide unreasonable and potentially harmful care to patients if they aren’t focused on the task in front of them.  Communication Breakdowns - Lack of communication between departments, doctors, nurses or pharmacists can lead to serious breaches of care that can have disastrous results for patients.  Misinterpreted Results/Directions - Misreading results or orders, or even illegible handwriting can lead to confusion and inappropriate medical care in a facility, or in the wrong treatment or medication being ordered for a patient.  Wrong Patient/Wrong Procedure - Sometimes medical professionals will mistake a patient’s identity or order the wrong procedure, which can result in serious and potentially fatal medical mistakes.
  5. 5. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM DIAGNOSIS ERRORS Misdiagnosis and wrongful diagnosis can be a critical mistake that precipitates a series of harmful treatments and tests for patients. If the following conditions are misdiagnosed by a doctor, patients can suffer greatly as a result: Cancer Brain Tumors Diabetes Heart
  6. 6. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM SURGICAL ERRORS Surgical errors are a common type of medical malpractice, one that can be deadly for some patients. Some examples of surgical error include:  Failure to recognize and treat surgical complications  Failure to operate when necessary  Unnecessary surgery  Misidentified patients and body parts  Objects left in body after surgery
  7. 7. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM ANESTHESIA ERRORS Anesthesia is administered according to the needs of the patient and the type of procedure that will be performed. Anesthesia errors can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal for patients. Here are some of the most common types of complications that can arise from administering anesthesia:  Failure to seek informed consent for anesthesia  When using general anesthesia, the doctor or nurse must breathe for the patient. It is considered negligence when a doctor fails to ensure that the patient is breathing and getting sufficient oxygen during anesthesia.  When using spinal anesthesia, using the wrong drug, the wrong concentration of a drug, or using the wrong amount of a drug is negligent. It can also be negligent if a doctor doesn’t prevent a patient from bleeding into their spinal canal, which can cause paralysis.  When using regional anesthesia, injuries can occur if the doctor negligently puts the needle directly into the nerve.  Complications are rarer when using local anesthesia, but may include allergic reactions to the anesthetic and/or skin damage.
  8. 8. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM BIRTH INJURIES Mistakes made during the birthing process can have effects that last for the rest of a child’s life and impact the lives of those around them in significant ways. Some common forms of birth injury include:  Brain damage  Cerebral palsy  Fractured bones  Erb’s palsy  Skin problems  Breathing problems
  9. 9. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM MEDICATION ERRORS Taking the wrong type of medication can lead to serious complications in a patient, in addition to leaving that patient without the medicine they need to treat their condition. Medication errors can occur in many forms, including:  Negligent dosing: Overdose/under dose  Wrong drug  Drug interactions  Allergic reactions  Side effects  Pharmacy errors  Failing to cross-reference medication  Institutional failures
  10. 10. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM NURSING HOME MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Nursing home abuse can also be a form of medical malpractice. A nursing home staff is responsible for the well-being of their patients and residents. There are many ways in which a person can suffer from nursing home abuse, including:  Neglect  Failure to supervise residents or staff  Bed sores or decubitus ulcers  Broken bones  Malnutrition and dehydration  Bruises  Sexual abuse  Physical assault by staff  Verbal abuse  Intimidation or bullying
  11. 11. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM WHAT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MEANS FOR PATIENTS? When a patient is subjected to medical error, the results can be catastrophic. That can mean:  The worsening of a condition  New injuries or illnesses due to malpractice  Costly treatment to address injury illness caused by malpractice  Pain and suffering due to the malpractice  Wrongful death
  12. 12. WWW.CIRIGNANI.COM HAVE YOU BEEN THE VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their lives due to the mistakes of a medical professional or the mistreatment in a medical facility, the attorneys at Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP can help. We will investigate your case to determine who was at fault and fight for you to make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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