People rely on their doctors to help them heal from illnesses and injuries. We tend to implicitly trust our doctors to help, rather than hurt us. Most people who do not work in the health care field lack a high level of medical knowledge and rely entirely on our doctor’s advice, diagnoses, and treatment plan. Like everyone else, doctors make mistakes at work. Unfortunately, these mistakes can cost people their lives. While the vast majority of doctors are not acting maliciously, those who have suffered due to medical malpractice deserve to be compensated for the harm done. No amount of money can undo this type of mistake, but it is quite frequently the best way the legal system can attempt to right a serious wrong.
What Medical Mistakes Can Become Fatal?
Some types of medical errors can cause people to become seriously ill, suffer disfigurement, or cause life-altering disabilities. Others can lead to a patient’s death if not caught and corrected quickly. These mistakes include:
Delayed diagnosis - This is a particular risk when it comes to cancer. When certain conditions are not caught in time, they can progress to a point where the patient cannot be successfully treated.
Missed diagnosis - Sadly, some of the most unlucky patients are only diagnosed with a fatal illness during their autopsy. This can happen when doctors do not take their patients' complaints seriously and order the appropriate tests.
Drug errors - Certain prescription and even over-the-counter medications absolutely cannot be mixed because they may cause life-threatening reactions. When a patient is seeing multiple doctors, such as specialists for different conditions, doctors sometimes fail to communicate with one another and a contraindication is not spotted.
Anesthesia errors - These errors can happen incredibly quickly. Common causes include failure to monitor vital signs, administering an accidental overdose of anesthetics, or failing to monitor a hospitalized young child or disoriented adult to ensure that they do not eat or drink anything prior to surgery.
Inadequate infection prevention - Hospitalized patients are typically quite medically fragile. Infection control protocol is extremely important. Some patients who would have otherwise recovered and gone home can instead pass away due to a secondary, hospital-acquired infection. While this can sometimes be nearly inevitable, it is sometimes caused by a mistake as simple as a doctor forgetting to wash their hands.
Unnecessary treatment - Paradoxically, it is sometimes the treatment rather than the illness itself that proves fatal. Needless surgeries, in particular, can present an enormous hazard. These errors can sometimes be made by doctors who are more interested in profits than patients and are willing to subject patients to extreme forms of care they do not need to increase their earnings.
If you have lost an immediate family member and suspect that one of these medical errors was to blame, you will want to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Many doctors and hospitals are reluctant to admit to a fatal mistake, so it is important to have an attorney take steps to preserve evidence as soon as possible.
Call a Kane County Medical Malpractice Attorney
Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. is skilled at investigating and proving cases where a medical error has become fatal. Our dedicated Aurora medical malpractice lawyers are prepared to stand up for your family against any hospital or doctor who has caused you harm. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation.