3 Examples of Medical Negligence and What You Should do if it Happens to You
The Hippocratic Oath states that doctors and other healthcare providers should do no harm. But professionals violate this standard every day. That’s where an attorney for medical negligence steps in. Such an individual helps to ensure that victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
Sometimes, hospitals and doctors blatantly put profits before people. Other times, doctors rely almost exclusively on their own substantial training and experience instead of interaction with a patient. Still other times, doctors make poor decisions under intense pressure. Like the rest of us, they are responsible for the consequences of all these mistakes. Here are three of the most common areas.
Nursing Home Negligence
There is often no doctor-patient relationship in these cases, so these matters are a little different. Nevertheless, nursing home negligence is one of the fastest-growing legal problems in America.
Over the years, Medicaid reimbursement levels have dropped significantly. With their primary revenues down, nursing home administrators often scramble to make up the difference. Often, that means reducing staff population to dangerously low levels, especially during nights, weekends, and holidays.
Other times, administrators try to make up the difference with volume. As a result, the facility takes on more patients than it can comfortably accommodate.
This combination often leads to negligence like:
- Bed Sores: Patients must be turned in bed about once every three hours to prevent pressure ulcers. Many nursing home residents are too sick or weak to turn themselves over, so they depend on the staff. If these people either do not recognize the medical symptoms or do not come around often enough, serious bedsores will develop. IN some cases, they can be life-threatening.
- Resident-on-Resident Abuse: Low staff levels often mean that there are not enough people to properly police residents and handle petty disputes. These disputes often become violent. Many residents are so frail that only a little force causes serious injury.
- Falls: Over half of senior falls occur in nursing home environments. These facilities are packed to the gills and almost constantly under construction, and many residents simply cannot respond to “wet floor” or “keep out” signs.
Staff-on-resident violence is a significant problem as well, as is financial abuse and many other issues.
Busy physicians listen to their patients describe their symptoms for less than eighteen seconds before they interrupt or redirect them. In such a short time frame, it’s impossible to glean enough information to properly diagnose many serious illnesses.
That’s especially true with regard to cancer. If the patient does not exhibit some obvious risk factors, like lifestyle or family history, most doctors won’t even consider it.
Compounding the problem even further, many doctors do not order a full battery of diagnostic tests. They are afraid that the insurance company will claim they were medically unnecessary and deny payment. So, the doctor has even less information to form a diagnosis.
For various reasons, many doctors are unprepared for delivery room emergencies like shoulder dystocia. In these cases, the umbilical cord strangles the baby and brain damage begins after only a few minutes. So, panicky doctors sometimes resort to risky methods like:
- Vacuum extractors, and
Forceps, which are essentially surgical salad tongs, often cause infant head injuries when the doctor uses the to try to pull the baby out. The same thing often happens with regard to vacuum extractors which suck the baby out of the mother. Dangerous episiotomies are designed to widen the mother’s birth canal, but the incisions often cause excessive bleeding and other injuries.
If you believe you were the victim of medical negligence, you have a limited time to act, so contact a lawyer today.