Medical Malpractice occurs when negligence by a medical practitioner, such as a doctor or nurse, results in injury and death. Because medical negligence can be a long, expensive process it is important for lawyers to thoroughly evaluate potential cases.
To determine whether there is negligence for a given case, lawyers look for medical standard of care violations or deviations from the standard of care. Standard of care is a guideline of what a reasonable medical practitioner would do in the same situation. For example, it is standard of care to order a chest x-ray for a patient with symptoms pointing to lung cancer. For example, symptoms might be shortness of breath, chronic cough, difficulty taking deep breaths and chronic fatigue. If a physician, whether it was a family practice physician or a pulmonologist who chose not to order a chest x-ray even with all or some of those symptoms being reported by the patient, then he/she may be considered to have deviated from the standard of care. When a violation of the standard of care results in injury to the patient that was proximately caused by those deviations, then there is medical malpractice.
The level of injury for any given case is used to determine damages. Damages are the monetary value of a case which relies on several factors, including the cost of past and future treatment, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering, all as a result of the negligence. As is often the case, a loved one has died because of medical malpractice. The damages that are attributed to loss of life are incalculable, but enormous. In that instance, where death was caused by medical malpractice, the cause of action that could be brought would be under the Illinois Wrongful Death Statute and depending on the facts of the case, under Illinois’ Survival Statute.
However, damages cannot be collected if the patient was unharmed by the medical practitioner's error. For example, a surgeon performs an operation for what he believes is appendicitis only to discover during the procedure that the patient's stomach pain was actually due to a perforated ulcer. If the patient would have needed the same surgery for the ulcer anyway, then the misdiagnosis of the stomach pain doesn't amount to a viable lawsuit. Without damages there is no basis for a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice is a lengthy process requiring collection of copious amounts of medical records, extensive research, and review by medical experts. Because of the length of time required and the high associated costs, filing suit is not always in your best interest. Sometimes the costs of litigating a medical malpractice case exceed the potential damages.
Common areas of medical malpractice include:
- Birth injury, including Erb's Palsy and shoulder dystocia;
- Brain injury during surgery, including Cerebral Palsy;
- Wrong diagnosis or misdiagnosis;
- Anesthesiology mistakes;
- Radiology errors;
- Cardiovascular errors;
- Surgical errors.
Childbirth injuries can be caused by medical negligence. Injuries including seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, nerve damage and bone fractures have been known to occur the labor and delivery of a baby. It is also possible that the child’s permanent brain injury or other permanent injury was caused by the negligence of an obstetrician in the prenatal stage. For example, if the obstetrician failed to diagnose the mother’s condition of preeclampsia, Rh incompatibility, hypoglycemia, anemia or gestational diabetes, failed to identify birth defects, did not recognize the presence of an ectopic pregnancy or chose not to diagnose a contagious disease the mother carried to the fetus.
Of course, birth injuries occur frequently just before and during the delivery sequences of childbirth. Medical errors by the physician, nurse midwife or other medical providers responsible for the delivery of the baby may not have recognized the fact that the baby was unusually large, there were signs of fetal distress, chose not to timely order an emergency cesarean section when needed or was negligent in the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor all of which caused grave injury to the baby.
Kreisman Law Offices has successfully been handling catastrophic medical malpractice cases and wrongful death cases for more than 40 years. If you believe that you have a case please contact our Chicago law offices at (312) 346-0045 or (800) 583-8002 for an immediate free consultation, or fill out a contact form. We are committed to seeking justice for you and your loved ones and giving you the best representation.
- Anesthesiology Errors
- Aortic Dissection
- Brain Injury
- Emergency Room Errors
- Medication & Pharmaceutical Errors
- Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose Cancer
- Radiology Malpractice and Errors
- Transplant Errors
- Nursing Malpractice
- Heart Attack Errors
- Surgical Errors
- Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits
- Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack/Myocardial Infarction
- Brain Tumor Misdiagnosis
- Bacterial Meningitis
- Ophthalmology Malpractice
- LASIK Eye Surgery
- Gastric Bypass Malpractice
- Loss of Chance Doctrine in Illinois
- How to Value a Medical Negligence Case