How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Following a Surgical Error in New York

When you are under the care of a medical professional, you put your health and your life in their hands. While the majority of medical procedures and surgeries proceed without major complications, there are times when a surgeon or health worker fails to practice the highest standard of care. Even small errors or negligent actions […]

Doctors must meet the standard of care for patients

Patients who seek medical care expect that their doctor will help them with whatever condition they are dealing with. The standard of care is the expectation that’s set for these professionals, but that standard changes according to specific factors that are present in a case. Patients who haven’t received the care they feel they should have and have suffered damages because of it might have a claim for compensation.

The factors that go into the standard of care are based on the doctor’s training and what information is present when the diagnosis and care plans are developed. For this reason, specialists are expected to know more about conditions that fall in their field than general doctors or practitioners who specialize in other areas.

The more information a doctor has, the more targeted the diagnosis and treatment should be. You can’t reasonably expect that a doctor in a smaller rural clinic would have the same diagnostic tools and treatment options available as one who works for a large, state-of-the-art medical facility.

It is often difficult to determine what the standard of care is in these cases. When you opt to seek compensation for the breach of standard of care, you need to establish what it should have been. One way to do this is to have a medical expert testify as to what the standard of care would be in a specific case.

The issue with having a medical expert testify is that you have to find one who’s willing. The medical community is tightknit, so this can prove difficult to those who don’t already know some. Working with a medical malpractice lawyer might help you get the testimony you need to prove your case.

Loneliness can lead to challenges for nursing home residents

Many nursing homes have programs that help keep the residents active and engaged with others. Unfortunately, there are times when residents might be unable to utilize those programs, which can lead to loneliness for them. While it might not seem like that’s a huge deal, there are some serious consequences that can come from this situation.

Residents who spend time with others are more likely to have a healthier mental state than those who spend most of their time alone. Being by themselves can lead to depression. There’s also the matter of them being unable to ask others for help if they need it.

Adults who live in long term care facilities are more likely to feel safer when they can interact with others. They feel more confident to speak up if there is a problem with the care they’re receiving. They have a chance to speak to others about what’s going on.

In some cases, social interaction helps the residents keep their mental faculties about them. Some of the activities in nursing homes, such as craft times, help the residents with their motor skills. Losing the ability to do these things can cause their abilities to decline, which is often traumatic for them.

While most people who have loved ones in nursing homes know the residents count on those activities, they also count on their family members and friends to check on them. If you discover that activities and interactions have been reduced or cancelled, try to find ways to check in with them. Unfortunately, isolation can sometimes cause an increase in nursing home abuse and neglect, so stopping those when they occur is imperative.

The 3 most common surgical errors that should never happen

Some medical mistakes are the result of a strange confluence of events that an individual physician or surgeon may have no control over. For example, a doctor performing a delicate surgery might nick an artery during surgery if there’s any kind of seismic activity or sudden inclement weather, such as a powerful lightning strike that shakes the building.

In most cases, however, the mistakes that occur during surgery are preventable with proper oversight, verification and attention to detail. In fact, the most common kinds of surgical mistakes are so egregious that professionals refer to them as “never events,” because they should never happen in a properly managed medical practice. Knowing these three common errors can help you to better advocate for yourself and the people you love before and after surgery.

Surgeons frequently leave items in people’s bodies

Most people have heard some kind of joke about a surgeon leaving something in a patient’s body. From sitcom jokes about candy falling into an incision to a comic strip punch line where a surgeon realizes he can’t find his watch, such events seem so ridiculous that they serve as a joke for entertainment purposes.

Unfortunately, for an estimated 39 people every week, a surgeon leaving a foreign object such as gauze or clamps behind in their body is not a joke but rather their reality. This mistake often means corrective surgery and the increased risk of infection or internal injuries.

Surgeons can perform the wrong procedure

When a surgeon has multiple procedures scheduled in a day, they may go from performing corrective surgery on a tendon to a minor amputation on the next patient. Clerical mistakes and inadequate verification can lead to a surgeon performing the wrong procedure on the wrong person, which happens about 20 times each week in the United States.

Surgeons can also perform a procedure on the wrong part of your body

Whether you need to have a cancerous kidney removed or a joint replaced, you expect that the surgeon will perform the surgery in the proper location. Unfortunately, for 20 people on average each week, the surgeon who operates on them performs the surgery on the wrong area of their body, potentially with catastrophic medical consequences. Losing your healthy kidney is as damaging as not having one with tumors removed in a timely manner.

Anyone who falls victim to these severe medical oversights may want to consider their options for a medical malpractice claim.

Nurses’ 12-hour shifts can lead to errors in patient care

Many nurses at hospitals, care facilities and other medical centers across the country often work long shifts, which can result in serious consequences for patients.

One report said that 75% of nurses in U.S. hospitals typically work shifts lasting 12 hours. Needless to say, these lengthy shifts—especially when they compound to be longer than 12 hours—can be exhausting for nurses. Another study found that nurses working 12-hour shifts and overtime are connected to difficulty remaining awake in the hospital and make it close to three times more likely the nurses make mistakes in patient care.

Common nursing mistakes can include:

  • Errors in medication, such as extra doses, missing doses and incorrect doses
  • Neglecting patients’ needs
  • Improper sanitation and cleanliness
  • Inaccurate patient documentation

The feeling of fatigue is common among nurses and can lead to shifts lasting 12 hours. The condition is caused in part by long shifts and stress. Burned-out nurses feel exhausted and are known to have poorer work performance.

According to a study, 98% of nurses in U.S. hospitals said their job is demanding on both their bodies and minds, and 85% of them said they feel fatigued overall due to their work. Another 63% said they had seen nurse burn out at their hospital, and 44% were concerned their drowsiness would lead to lower-quality care for their patients. Some 11% of the nurses actually confessed to making an error due to their tiredness.

The effects of nurse fatigue are just some of the numerous ways in which malpractice can happen. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm due to improper medical care, it’s important that you understand your options for legal recourse and have an experienced attorney to guide you through seeking your rightful compensation.

Was your diabetes misdiagnosed?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to a tremendous number of health complications, so a diagnosis can turn your life upside down. Effective treatment is essential to avoid many of those long-term complications and to remain healthy.

Here’s the problem: Your odds of being misdiagnosed as an adult may be greater than one out of three — and that can lead to delayed treatment or incorrect treatment that continues for decades.

Patients with Type 1 diabetes, which is often erroneously referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” are unable to produce insulin at all, while those with Type 2 diabetes can produce insulin but their bodies don’t use it effectively. Correspondingly, the treatment for the two disorders is actually very different. Unlike those with Type 2 diabetes, those with Type 1 cannot manage their condition through exercise, weight loss or pills. Failure to treat someone with Type 1 diabetes with insulin and regular glucose monitoring can lead to blindness, amputations, kidney failure and death.

Type 1 diabetes is frequently diagnosed in childhood, but it can actually occur at any age. In fact, 42% of Type 1 cases occur in adults who are 30 years of age or older.

Despite this fact, researchers found some shocking statistics when they looked closer at what goes on with diagnoses: Fully 38% of patients who develop Type 1 diabetes as an adult were initially diagnosed and treated for Type 2 diabetes instead. According to researchers, lab testing for certain markers of Type 1 diabetes and a better exploration of a patient’s exact symptoms and medical history could help prevent serious mistakes. They also say that insulin dependency within three years of diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is an indication that a misdiagnosis was made.

If you’ve been misdiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and inadequate treatment led to serious complications, it may be time to find out more about your legal options.

African American patients have higher risk of medical malpractice

Medical mistakes can happen in just about any medical facility and to any patients. However, an increasingly strong body of research has made it clear that certain patient populations are at increased risk of specific forms of medical neglect and malpractice.

Specifically, African American patients face the double threat of both implicit physician bias during their medical examinations and treatments, and systemic, subtle racism reinforced by the software used by medical facilities that determines what care people receive.

The unfortunate result of medical racism is that African American patients often have doctors who don’t listen to their self-reported symptoms and who fail to order adequate diagnostic testing or pain relief for their patients. Those issues combine to decrease the quality of care African American patients receive and may even contribute to their lower life expectancy when compared with other Americans.

Overview of physician attitudes toward patients shows an alarming trend

If you were to ask most medical professionals whether they consider themselves racist and whether racism affects how they treat their patients, they would most likely tell you racism plays no role in their medical practice. Multiple recent studies have shown subtle forms of racism that physicians, particularly white doctors experiencing professional burnout, exhibit toward black and African American patients.

These issues include a perception of black patients as having higher pain tolerance and being more likely to engage in drug-seeking behaviors. The combination of those prejudices may lead physicians to not listen when African American patients complain of serious medical symptoms.

This bias means that fewer African American patients receive proper referrals for early testing related to heart conditions. It can also lead to unnecessary physical suffering that can exacerbate other medical conditions when physicians won’t prescribe adequate pain management.

Outside analysis has also shown racism in medical software

As if the implicit bias that many doctors carry into their daily medical practice wasn’t alarming enough, the software that medical facilities use to assist in the treatment and diagnosis of patients may also carry racial bias that impacts patient care.

A study of a common algorithm used to determine the kind of care patients get found that it has disproportionately negatively impacted the care that African Americans receive. While medical providers scramble to adjust to this new knowledge, millions of Americans may have had their health or the health of a loved one unnecessarily compromised by racial bias.

If you believe that racial bias led to a failure to diagnose or inadequate care that negatively impacted someone’s health or recovery, this could eventually lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examining the records of medical interactions and treatments can be a first step toward proving that a doctor’s actions didn’t align with a reasonable standard of care.