Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Three people in scrubs and masks in an operating room performing surgeryWhen you discuss medical malpractice, most people assume that you’re talking about suing a doctor. But what if you’re injured while in the hospital as a result of malpractice, but it’s not the doctor’s fault? Who is responsible?  In many cases, the only remaining option is the hospital.

Physician vs. Hospital Negligence

Hospitals are corporate entities, and like any other corporation, they look for ways to limit their liability exposure. One way that they do this is by making it clear that most of the doctors at the hospital are not employees of the hospital – they have privileges to practice there but are not providing care on behalf of the hospital.  As a result, the hospital cannot be held liable for the negligence of the doctor. Similarly, your doctor cannot be held responsible for the hospital’s negligence, either.

For parents, grandparents, friends and extended family, there are few things in life as joyful as the birth of a child. Maybe that is why birth injuries or defects can be so upsetting – what should be a joyful time becomes fraught with fear and anxiety.  It can all be terribly overwhelming, but at a certain point, you need to ask the difficult question – who is responsible for my child’s suffering?

To be clear, not every birth injury is the result of medical malpractice. We are blessed with an excellent health care system in this country, staffed by some of the most highly-trained medical professionals in the world.  However, accidents can and do happen, and these accidents can severely affect the health of your child. In this post, we’ll be covering some common birth injuries that may be the result of medical malpractice. If your child is suffering from one of these injuries, you may want to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney.  

Birth Asphyxia

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported on an Atlanta area dermatologist who reportedly wanted to be known as the “dancing doctor.”  The doctor, Windell Davis Boutté, has been recently suspended by the Georgia Composite Medical Board after a video surfaced of her dancing to a hip-hop song while performing a procedure on a patient.  The Board stated that that allowing her to continue to practice would pose “a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare.”

A Pattern of Misconduct

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Medical Board had been investigating malpractice complaints against Dr. Davis-Boutté for two years. There have been multiple lawsuits, and the New York Times reported that over 100 people have come forward to complain. The suspension appears to have been finally sparked by a case that was reported at the end of May when one of Davis-Boutté’s patients was allegedly taken from her office to the emergency room. It was reported that the patient was having difficulty breathing and was bleeding from liposuction incisions. Upon examination, hospital staff reported that the patient had a collapsed lung and was suffering from serious blood loss.

When discussing injuries that arise from medical treatment, people typically think in terms of a standard medical malpractice case: the doctor or hospital was negligent in providing care in some way which leads to the patient’s injury. However, even when there are no issues with the treatment received, injuries can just as often arise from the medical devices that were used during treatment, or as part of the post-treatment recovery process.

People rarely want to blame their doctor, someone who has earned their deepest trust. The reality is that he or she may have given you the best care available, but the device they used was defective. Don’t ignore symptoms if you’ve received medical treatment but the recovery has not gone as planned. If you’re suffering, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you identify the potential source of your problems.  

Because medical device liability is complicated, it may be helpful to review the ways that these devices can be defective and who may be responsible.  

Medical malpractice claims may not be as common as you think but are still very serious. In addition to the potential harm to the patient’s health, these errors can lead to emotional and psychological trauma. To make matters worse, negligent medical treatment may require additional medical treatment to correct any errors.

That said, medical malpractice cases aren’t always obvious or gruesome. We’ve laid out some of the most common kinds of malpractices cases below.  

Childbirth Injuries

A Louisiana mother has filed suit against Walgreen’s after two different stores allegedly incorrectly filled her daughter’s medication. According to the claim, the plaintiff and her minor child were at the Walgreens at 4600 Westbank Expressway in Marrero Louisiana, on Sept. 26, 2016, when the first incident took place. The suit states that the plaintiff was picking up medication prescribed for her daughter’s seizures but she was given the wrong medication. The child began to show symptoms and was admitted to a hospital, where she was treated for an overdose of the incorrect medication. On May 30, the plaintiff went to a Walgreens at 2001 Carol Sue Ave. in Gretna and after returning home saw that there were two types of pills in the bottle. Her claim accuses Walgreen’s of negligence by failing to take the proper care, failing to warn of danger, and overall negligence of the employees who filled the prescription incorrectly.

How Common is this Problem?

This case raises an interesting question—how often do pharmacists incorrectly fill prescriptions, and what can you do about it if they do? While estimates vary, it’s believed that one percent to five percent of prescriptions filled in U.S. pharmacies involve some kind of error. According to Gerald Gianutsos, an associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, a prescription label with incorrect directions is the most frequent type of prescription error, but, occasionally, a patient will also receive either the wrong dosage of the correct medication or the wrong medication altogether. Many drugs have names that sound similar and that use similar spellings, and when they’re arranged alphabetically on the pharmacy shelf, “it’s very easy to grab the wrong one by mistake and look at it real quick … and think that you’re dispensing the right drug,” Gianutsos says.

Methadone and other Opioids

Methadone is an opioid medication that is commonly prescribed to heroin users to reduce withdrawal symptoms while they are detoxing from the drug. It can be very beneficial to those who are trying to fight addiction because it acts as a pain reliever but it does not cause the “high” that is associated with the user’s drug addiction. However, methadone is still an opioid and its use can cause overdose or death. Additionally, methadone is highly addictive, and patients who kick the heroin habit by taking it often merely replace one addiction with another.

Ambien

A surgical error is any preventable mistake that a surgeon makes during surgery and, as such, they are a major cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. Experts estimate that that surgeons commit over 4,000 preventable mistakes every year, which cost the medical industry more than $1.3 billion in malpractice payouts. But what exactly is a “surgical error”? Some of the most common situations that fall into that category of medical malpractice include:

  • Injuring nerves during surgery
  • Administering too much or too little anesthesia

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