Dealing With Medical Malpractice From Singular Errors to Ongoing Neglect
Some of the most distressing cases of medical malpractice involve serious errors in surgery where doctors operate on the wrong part of the body or remove healthy organs and limbs unnecessarily. Cases aren’t always as extreme but, whether a patient is injured through surgical error or left to die from an easily treatable infection, all cases of negligence should be reported and scrutinized in order to hold those responsible to account. If after thorough investigation there is sufficient evidence to prove medical malpractice, then compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by a patient and their family should be paid.
Proving Deviation from Standard of CareAccording to the American Medical Association, around a third of clinicians will be sued for at least one incident of malpractice during their career, and specialist surgeons may face even more complaints. While certain examples of extreme malpractice involving wrong-site surgery hit the headlines, cases of medical negligence can take many different forms. All will involve proving that the care administered to a patient by a medical professional fell below the accepted standard. As well as performing unnecessary physical interventions, doctors can be sued for their inactions. This could be omitting to present an appropriate diagnosis or leaving an easily treated condition to develop into something more serious.
Preventing Cases of Wrong-Site SurgeryIn the case of wrong-site surgery, proving liability should be more straightforward, but although an error is made in an estimated one in 100,000 surgeries, less than 10% of mistakes are reported. A common mistake in negligent surgery is operating on the wrong side of the body and yet the risk of this occurring can be greatly reduced simply by marking the correct surgery site or even negatively labelling the wrong site. Following strict protocols before surgery is essential but in the event of an error being made, reporting it and making an official complaint afterwards could stop the same happening to another patient.
Managing Infection in Nursing HomesIn nursing homes across the country, infection is a principal cause of death. Older adults are more vulnerable to infection which can in some cases be caused by pressure ulcers from sitting or lying in the same position for too long. If left untreated, sores may become infected and ultimately lead to sepsis. This is the body’s extreme response to infection and can be potentially life-threatening if not treated quickly. Where inadequate care is given to easily preventable sores, the lack of treatment resulting in death from sepsis can be seen as medical negligence. If relatives are aware of the situation, taking steps to make a case against a nursing home may result in them receiving compensation but it can also ensure that further neglect of other residents in the nursing home is avoided.
While it may be harder for surgeons who make serious and avoidable errors in the operating theatre to avoid having a case of medical malpractice brought against them, healthcare workers responsible for any type of negligence should be held accountable for their actions.
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