Recent studies have suggested that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming anywhere from around 250,000 to 440,000 lives each year. Medical mistakes happen on a daily basis, in all types of settings and procedures, with all types of doctors and specialists. If you or one of your loved ones was injured or developed health problems due to a medical error, such as a surgical error or a failure to diagnose cancer, you should know about the legal rights you may have. As the victim of medical errors, you may have a case against your doctor, hospital, or other parties who treated you.
Medical mistakes on the operating table, problems diagnosing an illness, and errors in care recommendations can leave patients with injuries and complications that make their health worse. Doctors and other care providers have an obligation to provide reasonable care to their patients, and when their mistakes cause more harm than good or omit important details and considerations, they may be held liable for the harm their patients suffer.
Talk to an experienced attorney for medical mistakes in Maryland, like Randolph Rice, about the next steps you should take if you were the victim of medical malpractice. Randolph Rice may be able to help you get compensated for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other harm that you suffered because of your doctor’s negligence. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online to set up a free legal consultation, or call (410) 694-7291 for 24/7 assistance.
Medical Errors and Injuries from Negligent Healthcare
When you go to a doctor, the doctor-patient relationship places certain legal obligations on the doctor. Doctors have some obligations not to turn away patients, but once they take you on as a patient, your doctor must use adequate care and skill to treat you as any other reasonable physician would in the same situation. If your doctor’s care falls below those standards or you suffer injuries or complications because of the doctor’s mistakes, you could be entitled to sue them for the negative outcomes.
The fact that there is a negative outcome is not by itself cause for a lawsuit. Sometimes, the complications and injuries that patients suffer are unfortunate, but they are not the result of negligence. Doctors are limited by the fact that they are human, by the limitations of medical science, and by the technology available to them. In some cases, a doctor who is in over their head should recommend you to a specialist or send you to another hospital or physician that can better treat your injuries – and it could be considered negligent not to. However, sometimes problems simply happen, even when doctors do everything right. In most medical malpractice cases, the crux of the lawsuit will be proving that it was negligence, not a normal complication, that caused your injuries.
Common Injuries + Complications from Medical Errors
Medical mistakes can have dire consequences for the patient, and in turn, the patient’s spouse and family members. A medical mistake can cause or accelerate a patient’s death, worsen the patient’s prognosis, or lead to the development of nonfatal yet debilitating health problems.
Depending on the nature of the error, and the body part or system that was affected, medical mistakes can cause a wide range of complications. If you or a loved one suffered from any of the following health issues due to a medical mistake, or if you developed other health problems after receiving negligent medical care, talk to Randolph Rice about whether you could have a claim:
- Brain injuries
- Chronic pain
- Heart failure
- Hemorrhaging or blood loss
- Joint problems
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Loss of limbs or tissue death
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Nerve damage
- Paralysis or partial loss of mobility
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Pneumonia or other respiratory problems
- Problems speaking or swallowing properly
- Rejection of medical implants or grafts
Types of Medical Mistake Cases in Maryland
Medical mistake and medical malpractice cases can happen in any type of treatment or care. The harm you face might be limited if your doctor makes a mistake during a minor procedure or makes other negligible mistakes. This means that more serious harms and complications are usually the basis of medical mistake lawsuits, and those cases may fall into one of the following categories:
Misdiagnosis, Failure to Diagnose, and Delayed Diagnosis
In cases where your doctor should have been able to tell what was wrong with you but did not make a timely diagnosis, your condition could have gotten much worse. Lost time in a diagnosis can sometimes be the difference between a complete recovery and permanent damage. If your doctor made a mistaken diagnosis and started treating you for some other condition you did not actually have, your health could have been affected because of the unnecessary surgeries or treatments. This is especially true in the case of a mastectomy or chemotherapy after a mistaken cancer diagnosis. Continual reassurances that there is nothing wrong with you when your doctor was missing reasonable signs or symptoms can also lead to mental suffering and anguish as you question what is wrong with you or begin to accept a “new normal” that you should never have had to deal with.
Examples of common diagnostic errors include:
- Failures to diagnose, such as a failure to diagnose cancer
- Misdiagnosing a serious medical condition as something less dangerous
- Unreasonably delaying a diagnosis
Surgical Mistakes + Anesthesia Errors
Errors on the operating table can be some of the most catastrophic injuries from medical mistakes. If your doctor cuts too deep or severs a nerve or artery, you could require additional surgery to repair the injuries. Many of these complications are unacceptable and only result from negligence in the operating room.
Examples include common surgeon mistakes like:
- Using the wrong medical instruments
- Failing to sterilize instruments properly
- Operating on the wrong side or part of the body
- Causing nerve damage or excessive blood loss
- Unnecessarily rushing or delaying a surgery
- Accidentally leaving surgical items, such as gauze, inside of the patient’s body
Additionally, mistakes are often made during the administering of anesthesia to a patient before surgery. If an anesthesiologist administers too much, too little, or the wrong type of anesthesia, the patient can regain awareness during the surgery or suffer serious complications like nerve damage.
Objects Left Inside During Surgery
It may sound outrageous that a doctor might make a mistake as serious as leaving something inside your body that is not supposed to be there, but surgical sponges, gauze, surgical clamps, and medical tools are sometimes accidentally left inside the body during surgery. These mistakes are often caused by failing to properly account for every tool or from hurrying to finish a procedure. These injuries might not be discovered until years after a procedure, and doctors might assure you that the pain or discomfort you faced was normal after a procedure, leading you to miss the true cause of the injury.
While anyone can be harmed by a medication error, patients with complex treatment plans tend to be more vulnerable. Examples of medication errors include:
- Failing to screen for dangerous drug interactions or other risk factors
- Mixing up patients’ medications
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing an improper or dangerously high dosage
Babies are very fragile when they are born, and many complications and “birth defects” are actually caused by injuries that the doctor negligently caused during the delivery. Injuries to the brain and head can result in cerebral palsy, injuries from improper handling of forceps can lead to nerve damage, and failing to order emergency C-sections can lead to suffocation and other injuries.
Injuries while staying in a hospital might involve medical malpractice, or they could come from more mundane injuries. Medical staff and hospital staff are required to keep hospital beds and rooms clean and free of bacteria or viruses that could cause hospital-acquired infections. Moreover, nurses or orderlies might need to supervise bathroom use and walking to ensure you do not fall and get injured. Additionally, the conditions in the hospital need to be safe and accessible, especially for people in wheelchairs or with mobility problems. Any mistakes in these areas could lead to infections or injuries that cause patients harm that could have been avoided by better care.
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case Against My Doctor or Hospital in Maryland?
You may have a case against your surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist, pharmacist, the hospital or clinic where you were treated, the manufacturer of a medication, or other parties whose actions caused or contributed to your injuries. To be compensated, you must show that a doctor’s negligence, rather than natural causes or preexisting injuries, was responsible for your illness or injury.
To prove that malpractice caused your injuries, it is necessary to gather records and consult with medical experts. This is a complex investigative process that should be left to an attorney for medical mistakes, so that you can focus on getting the rest and care you need. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, loss of wages, and other damages.
Call Our Maryland Medical Mistake and Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we understand the devastating toll that a doctor’s careless mistakes can take on a patient. You deserve a caring and compassionate legal representative who will fight hard to protect your rights, hold your doctor accountable, and see that you and your family are taken care of.
If you or a loved one was the victim of mistakes during an operation or other healthcare they received in Maryland, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our Maryland medical mistake lawyers offer victims of these kinds of errors and avoidable complications free legal consultations to help them understand what their claims might be worth and how to move forward with seeking financial compensation for their injuries. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.