You trust your doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers with your life and well-being. You have faith that they will act only in your best interest, and you assume they have the education, training, professionalism and tools they need to see you safely through hospital stays, surgeries and drug treatments. Sadly, medical mistakes, medication errors and neglect occur far too often in Cleveland, throughout Ohio and all across the United States.
Federal and independent reviews of U.S. patient records through 2011 put the number of deaths each year attributable to medical errors at anywhere from 44,000 to 440,000. If that upper estimate holds, preventable mistakes by health care providers constitute the third leading cause of death for Americans.
According to a landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine study titled To Err Is Human, errors that kill patients in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, home health care settings and assisted living facilities include:
- Delaying diagnosis
- Failing to conduct indicated tests
- Using older, less-effective tests and therapies
- Failing to act on results of monitoring or testing
- Performing an operation, procedure or test incorrectly
- Administering a treatment improperly
- Giving the wrong dose of a drug or delivering a drug in the wrong manner
- Delaying treatment or responding to an abnormal test
- Providing inappropriate/not indicated care
- Failing to provide a treatment that would prevent fatal complications
- Not monitoring or following up with patients
- Failing to communicate clearly with colleagues and patients
- Using equipment that fails
What is Medical Malpractice in Cleveland, Ohio and how our Attorney help you?
Thousands of mistakes like these also occur annually without killing patients, either adding to or unnecessarily prolonging their suffering from illnesses, injuries and disabilities. If you are one of those victims, or a member of your family has been harmed rather than helped by a medical procedure, you have legal options for seeking compensation. Medical malpractice lawyer in Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman have helped hundreds of wronged patients hold physicians and other health care workers accountable for violating the bedrock principle of medical practice to do no harm.
How Is Medical Malpractice Defined?
The American Bar Association defines medical malpractice as:
negligence committed by a professional health care provider–a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker–whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.
“Departs from a standard” is key. When a health care provider causes a significant avoidable injury, makes a patient’s condition worse or subjects a patient to unnecessary suffering because he or she did not follow proper procedures or exert the appropriate amount of attention to detail, the health worker commits malpractice.
What Types of Cases, Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys help you?
- Wrongful death-This most serious outcome can result from any kind of medical malpractice. A close member of the deceased victim’s family must bring a lawsuit for wrongful death when a doctor or other health care provider’s actions appear to have killed a person who should have lived through a surgery, course of drug treatment or stay in a medical facility.
- Brain injury-Similarly, many kinds of medical errors and abuse can physically damage a patient’s brain, cause a stroke or interrupt the flow of oxygen to the brain.
- Surgical errors-Every surgical procedure carries risk, but several things surgeons and surgical assistants do or fail to do can harm patients. Actions that constitute surgical errors include performing surgery on the wrong limb or organ, operating on a patient who does not require surgery, leaving medical implements like sponges and clamps inside a patient’s body, and damaging an organ not being operated on.
- Anesthesia mistakes-Gases and drugs used to sedate and knock out patients must be dosed precisely and administered carefully. Brain damage and death can result when anesthesiologists or their assistant overdose a patient. Providing too little anesthesia can be worse, causing a patient to awaken and remain conscious but immobilized and unable to speak during surgery.
- Birth injuries-Mothers and newborns can both suffer injuries during labor, delivery and the immediate postnatal period. Misusing equipment, improperly prescribing and administering medications and anesthesia, and causing infections can all serve as grounds for birth injury claims.
- Cerebral palsy-CP, as the development disorder is often abbreviated, can develop when a near-term fetus receives too little oxygen or maternal blood in the womb. Parents of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy may be able to claim medical malpractice if care during delivery was substandard.
- Nursing home abuse and neglect-Federal law distinguish the neglect of nursing home and assist-living facility residents from abuse by explaining that abuse represents “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.” Neglect, often resulting from insufficient staffing and poor training, can also cause seniors and people with physical or mental disabilities to suffer avoidable injuries, stress and fear.
- Medication errors-Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians practice according to the mantra of “Right medication, right dose, right patient, right time, right route.” Doctors, nurses and health aids must also meet those standards to prevent overdoses, poisonings and undertreatment.
- Misdiagnosis/Failure to diagnose-Cancer, stroke, damage from a heart attack and infections rank as the leading potentially fatal conditions doctors fail to diagnose. Succeeding in proving a mistaken or missed diagnosis was negligent is usually quite difficult, however. Working with a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney to collect and present evidence of poor practice would be essential when pursuing a misdiagnosis claim.
- Cosmetic/Reconstructive surgery errors-This subset of surgical errors covers scarring, infections, excessive bleeding, loss of feeling in the area operated upon and loss of life. Extreme cases of cosmetic surgical malpractice include completely removing a patient’s nose instead of just making it smaller and causing death by performing liposuction incorrectly. Proving that you have suffered from a surgical mistake is key; generally, not liking the way you look after a cosmetic procedure is not enough.
- Emergency response mistakes With few exceptions, unless they clearly act recklessly and without proper regard for an injured or ill person’s life, EMTs, emergency room personnel and Good Samaritans (including off-duty doctors and nurses) cannot be sued for malpractice. Hospitals and emergency medical service companies can be held liable for malpractice in some circumstances, however. Because laws related to emergency response mistakes are unique and complicated, consulting with an experienced and specialized lawyer is a must if you want to file this kind of medical malpractice lawsuit.
Get a Free Consultation with One of Our Cleveland Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman are always ready to assist patients wronged by medical malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered needlessly due to a health worker’s negligence, abuse or error,Call at (216) 328-2125 or contact our law firm today for a free consultation.