Brooklyn Medical Malpractice
The nature of any medical profession is such that it requires that the patient to place an inordinate amount of trust in his or her physician. When a medical provider acts negligently and violates this trust, the patient may undergo certain fairly traumatic consequences, both physical and financial. In addition to any physical injuries sustained as a result of the malpractice, the patient may also fall prey to a number of financial hardships as a result of the high cost of medical bills, the loss of wages due to the extended time missed at work and the negative impact on their future earning potential. The legal system allows for those who have been victims of medical malpractice to file a lawsuit to be compensated for their losses. As a result, patients who have suffered any illnesses or injuries due to a doctor’s negligence should immediately consult a Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyer at Queller, Fisher, Wachor, Fuchs & Kool in order to determine their chances of initiating a meritorious case.
Were you recently injured or became ill after a medical procedure? If so, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To see what legal options may be available to you, give us a call at 212.406.1700 or contact us online for a free consultation.
The following consists of what goes into medical malpractice cases and what types of cases our attorneys typically see in Brooklyn.The Components of a Brooklyn Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice is defined as a medical provider’s deviation from the accepted standard of care as generally established by the medical community. The occurrence of an injury however, does not necessarily provide sufficient grounds a lawsuit. In order to have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit the following components must be present in a case:
- It must be established that the medical provider owed a duty of care to the patient. A duty of care is defined as a legal obligation upon an individual to act according to a certain standard of care when performing an action that has the potential to result in injury. In the case of medical providers, their duty of care consists of abiding by the accepted standard of care as established by the medical community within which they operate.
- The medical provider in question breached their duty of care and failed to provide treatment in accordance with the accepted standard of care that is expected in the respective field.
- The lawsuit should be able to delineate the relationship between a medical provider’s breach of duty and the patient’s injuries. Only in the case that the doctor’s negligence is directly responsible for causing or exacerbating the injury or illness, will the lawsuit be valid.
- Lastly, the final component of a medical malpractice case requires the medical provider’s negligence must have caused the patient to suffer either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages pertain to the aforementioned financial hardships such as high medical bills, wages lost as a result of time off from work in addition to the negative impact on the future earning potential. Non-economic damages on the other hand, refers to the pain and suffering caused by the physician's malpractice.
Though we know that doctors are not perfect, they are aware of the amount of the degree of responsibility placed on them when caring for a patient. Consequently, a misdiagnosis can have severe consequences such exacerbating a preexisting injury or disease. Additionally, a failure to diagnose the issue can also result in the patient’s untimely death. Doctor’s are obligated to follow certain protocols and procedures put in place by the medical community, failure to abide by them might constitute grounds for a lawsuit. Doctors may be held liable if they failed to order proper tests, failed to investigate the symptoms as reported by the patient and misdiagnosed an illness or an injury. A doctor’s misdiagnosis can impact an individual physically by causing intense pain and suffering as well as financially in the form of several medical bills and lost wages. Thus, dependent upon the circumstances of your case, you might be entitled to bring forth a lawsuit against the responsible party and claim compensation for any damages that you may have sustained.Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes of Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Individuals with chronic medical conditions like cancer, heart disease and heart failure are more susceptible to pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. For women, the taking of oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy can also be one of the contributing causes. Additionally, long air travel, surgery and trauma may also cause this particular problem. Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis include charley horses, cramps and swelling or discoloration of limbs. Some additional warning signs of the disease might be chest discomfort, shortness of breath and lightheadedness.Misdiagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis
A deep vein thrombosis is usually referred to as a blood clot condition, often in the lower leg. If left untreated, the clot can separate from the walls of the vein and travel through the heart resulting in a pulmonary embolism and a fatal medical condition. Considering the urgency and delicacy of the matter, a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose by the responsible doctor can cause the patient to undergo a serious medical condition or even be fatal in some instances.Treatment for Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Blood thinners and anticoagulation drugs are often used to treat the condition. An immediate medical response is required by the doctor in order for any life-threatening situation to be avoided. If a patient seeks care for deep vein thrombosis only to have the doctor fail in diagnosing it correctly, the affected patient may have grounds for a lawsuit.Bowel Obstruction and Perforation Cases
A bowel obstruction is defined as a partial or complete blockage within the intestines. Obstructions are a serious matter and usually require hospital treatment and even immediate surgery. Infections, necrotic (dead tissue) and perforations can also result from an untreated or misdiagnosed obstruction. Bowel obstructions and perforations are of a serious category of medical injuries and cause serious harm when inflicted by surgical error or not properly diagnosed or treated. The tendency to misdiagnose these problems as minor digestive issues is common, which is why increased regulation of this area in medicine is pertinent. Some common causes of bowel obstructions include hernias, tumors, bowel cancer, scar tissue, tuberculosis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease or other such inflammatory bowel diseases. Additionally, other contributing causes might include colorectal cancer, gallstones, stomach cancer, femoral hernias, ovarian cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
A perforated bowel results from a hole or tear in the bowel and causes the bowel contents to be emptied in the abdominal cavity causing serious abdominal infections such as peritonitis, sepsis, a blood infection, and even immediate death. In addition to medical and surgical complications, an untreated obstruction can also result in a perforation. Bowel perforation can result due to a medical misdiagnosis of a bowel obstruction or accidents during surgeries and common medical procedures such as a colonoscopy. Additionally, a perforated bowel can also be attributed to any trauma sustained due to a car accident or traffic related incident.Misdiagnosed Hemorrhage
A hemorrhage is defined as serious bleeding and significant blood loss from the circulatory system resulting in shock, organ failure and even death. In the case of a misdiagnosis, the delay in effective treatment might render the situation helpless. There are a wide range of causes associated with the occurrence of a hemorrhage inducing surgical or medical complications, a ruptured blood vessel or aneurysm, blood disorder like hemophilia and leukemia or a trauma such as a car accident. Additionally certain medications and interactions of drugs can also result in a hemorrhage. Cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain can be the result of a brain or head injury, brain aneurysm or complication of hypertension or concussion.Botched Surgery in Brooklyn
The risk of complications is often inherent to some medical procedures, particularly surgeries. However, there are times where these complications are caused, or exacerbated by, the negligence of a surgeon. A botched surgery, one that is generally defined as an unsuccessful surgery due to ineptitude and negligence, can cause the patient to undergo several physical hardships. In addition to pain, suffering and injury, a botched surgery may also cause financial issues such as loss of wages and high medical bills. As a result of these economic and non-economic damages the law allows for a patient to bring forth a lawsuit against the doctor who operated upon them negligently during a surgery, given, once again, that the following conditions are met:
- A standard of care existed. A standard of care is the legal obligation of a medical provider to take reasonable care in order to avoid an injury. The operating doctor has a duty of care to act in accordance with the accepted standards of the medical community.
- The medical provider breached his or her duty of care by not adhering to the accepted standards and thus, acted negligently.
- The doctor’s negligence must have been the direct cause of the injury.
- As a result of the negligence, the patient must have suffered economic or non-economic damages in order to lay claim to a valid lawsuit.
Surgical malpractice or the failure to manage chronic medical conditions can be have adverse effects on the patient and cause fatal injuries. An investigation published by the Scientific American in 2009 illustrates that surgical complications have increased two-fold since the last decade, with more than 200,000 people dying each year due to preventable medical mistakes and infections.
Patients who have suffered any of the following complications during surgery might have valid grounds to file a lawsuit
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
- Serious infections
- Anesthesia accidents
- Post-operative hemorrhage
- Lacerations and bleeding
- Foreign objects left behind during surgery
- Adverse reaction
- Contaminations from blood transfusions
Patients should bear in mind that an injury is not enough in order to prove that malpractice occurred. A duty of care, followed by its breach needs to be established in order to prove negligence. Additionally, the doctor’s negligence must have directly caused the injuries and the patient should have suffered economic or non-economic damages in order for the lawsuit to be valid.Infections
As infections are generally considered one of the risks while performing a surgery, their occurrence alone does not constitute medical malpractice. However, there are cases where a doctor’s negligence in the handling or diagnosis of infections can provide grounds for a valid lawsuit. Infections can result in further illnesses and may also be fatal on some occasions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that that more than two million hospital infections occur each year, resulting in around 900,000 deaths. Patients who have suffered damages as a result of infections may have the opportunity to be compensated for any economic and non-economic losses given any of the following occurred:
- The infection was caused by a surgical error.
- The medical provider failed to prescribe antibiotics, particularly the correct antibiotics, in a timely manner.
- The infection was misdiagnosed initially
- The patient had already sustained significant damage by the time the doctor diagnosed the infection.
- The medical staff failed to us adequate procedures to control the infection.
Health care institutions including, but not limited to, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes have an established duty to provide adequate care for their patients. If these facilities fail to provide an adequate standard of care, their patients may suffer serious consequences and injuries. The facility is liable for all the actions of its employees, its grounds and its services. In the case that a doctor acts in a negligent manner, the hospital may be held liable for any resulting damages. A hospital can be held liable if any of the following potentially negligent actions caused injury to a patient:
- Lack of supervision of staff and of patients
- Staff did not receive proper training
- Negligent hiring practices that failed to account for an individual’s background check, criminal record or relevant experience
- Failure to monitor the patients closely after surgery
- Medication errors
- Physician negligence
- Nursing negligence
- Failure to report a patient’s status to a physician in a suitable and timely manner
- Emergency room errors
While the aforementioned factors are significant in determining a hospital’s negligence, they do not, by themselves, constitute the necessary grounds for a valid lawsuit. It is imperative to prove before the Court that the hospital’s negligence directly caused the patient’s injuries. Additionally, the patient must have sustained either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to loss of wages or medical bills that were not covered by insurance and non-economic damages refer to pain, suffering, physical and emotional stress and other claims.Emergency Room Negligence
Emergency rooms error is among the most common types of medical malpractice. In many cases, they evade liability since their inability to stabilize a patient is due to the severity of the individual’s injury. However, on certain occasions, their inability to stabilize a patient is a result of medical negligence. Having sustained an additional injury or illness after a trip to the emergency room is not sufficient to prove medical malpractice. For a lawsuit to be valid, it needs to be demonstrated that negligence occurred in the emergency room and the medical providers breached their duty of care and departed from the standard of care other medical providers in the same situation would have used.
If you, or a loved one has suffered an injury or an illness due to any of the following, you might have been a victim of hospital negligence:
- The ER staff failed to admit a patient that was in critical medical condition and required care.
- Upon a misdiagnosis, the patient was incorrectly discharged from the ER.
- The doctor did not order the necessary tests required in order to diagnose the patient’s illness.
- The medical staff did not correctly review the patient’s test results.
- The medical provider’s neglected to treat the patient properly or failed to respond to the patient’s illness or injury in a timely manner.
As surprising as it may be, thousands of individuals die due to medication errors each year. There are numerous people involved in the chain of events between the drafting and the providing of a prescription. An error by any of these individuals in successfully providing the prescription to a patient can have disastrous consequences. A prescription error may be the result of negligence and in the case that it is, it is possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.Causes of Medication Errors
In most cases, the medication errors could be avoided had the medical practitioner in question handle the prescription with the proper standard of care. The following are common causes of medication errors that may have resulted due to a medical provider’s negligence:
- A medical provider misreads the dosage and provides either too little or too much medication, resulting in unfavorable circumstances.
- The prescribing doctor did not take in to account the patient’s medical history. According to which, a patient might either be allergic to a particular drug or should not combine the prescribed drug with other medication that he or she might currently be taking.
- When a drug with potential harmful side effects is prescribed it is imperative that the patient be properly monitored by the physician. In the case that the patient isn’t, it might result in injury or illness.
It is necessary to point out that suffering a harm from medication is not sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. The lawsuit Is only valid if the medical provider’s mistake was due to negligence.How Can Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Help You?
If a valid claim for medical malpractice can be established, our attorneys will work with you to ensure you receive your deserved compensation. Our process has resulted in many favorable recoveries, including an $8.1 million in a medication error case. Because medical malpractice cases present a complex amalgamation of medical and legal issues you need to retain an experienced attorney who is familiar with both the legislation and the process. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool we have over five decades of medical malpractice experience and will be extremely efficient at handling your case. Our attorneys will investigate the situation, the details provided by the victim as well as the responsible in addition to hiring experts to determine with whom exactly the fault lay. In addition to your first free consultation, we accept cases on a contingent fees basis, that is, no charges will be made of you unless a monetary compensation has been recovered. Call our New York office at 212.406.1700 today in order to discuss your legal options.