Almost everyone will rely on a hospital to care for them or their loved ones at some point in their lives. Yet these large institutions are the source of numerous cases of hospital negligence each year. To be sure, there are good doctors and nurses out there who genuinely care for their patients’ well-being; however, medical malpractice in hospital settings is not uncommon.
The medical malpractice attorneys of Hale & Monico are dedicated to holding negligent hospitals liable for their mistakes. If you or someone in your family has been injured at a hospital, let us review your case and advise you of your legal rights.
Examples Of Hospital Negligence
We would all like to believe that an institution tasked with our health, even our lives, puts patients and their families first. The reality is much different. Examples of hospital negligence include:
- Emergency room errors. These include failure to admit a patient in urgent need of care, discharging an emergency room patient prematurely, and failing to diagnose or treat a patient in a timely manner.
- Surgical errors. Among these are performing unnecessary surgery, wrong-site surgery (operating on the wrong part of the body), and leaving surgical tools in the patient’s body.
- Medication errors. Examples include administering the wrong medication, not asking a patient about allergies before prescribing medication, and failure to monitor the patient after giving the medication.
- Diagnostic errors. A doctor may fail to order the proper tests to diagnose the patient’s condition or may misinterpret test or laboratory results.
- Anesthesia errors. The healthcare provider could administer an improper dosage, not properly screen the patient for allergies, or fail to monitor the patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia.
- Childbirth errors. Hospital negligence is one reason that avoidable childbirth errors happen, and these may affect the child as well as the mother.
- Treatment errors. Failing to treat a patient correctly can take numerous forms, and it could lead to serious injury, disability, irreversible medical conditions, or even death.
- Security errors. Hospitals are required to take reasonable measures to keep patients safe from intruders, staff members, or other patients who present a safety risk.
Why It Happens
With so many medical professionals and staff working in a hospital, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Negligence happens for many reasons, such as:
- Understaffing. Hospitals generally know when their busiest times are, and they know the proper ratios between doctors/nurses and patients. Too many times, however, there are simply not enough healthcare professionals for admitted patients.
- Overworked staff. Doctors and nurses are notorious for working exhausting shifts without adequate rest. If your doctor or nurse is overworked, the likelihood of them committing a serious error increases.
- Inexperienced staff. Everyone who cares for patients is required to be adequately educated and trained for their job. Yet too many hospitals hire inexperienced staff who are not fully prepared to discharge their duties.
- Communication problems. Doctors, nurses, technicians, and other healthcare professionals have to properly communicate with one other when treating you. Otherwise, you could be given medicine twice, sent to the wrong part of the hospital, or given the wrong test.
- Clerical errors. It is vital to your health and safety that anyone in charge of your care understands your medical history, allergies, symptoms, and so much more. Patient mix-ups, filing errors, and lost medical records make it much more difficult to keep track of your information.
- Failure to monitor. The hospital must monitor its patients during surgery, after the medication is given, and throughout the process of administering treatment. Many mistakes that could have been avoided happened because the patient was not properly monitored.
Proving Hospital Negligence
Hospital negligence is a type of medical malpractice. Malpractice means more than simply committing an error because the law does not presume that a doctor, nurse, or hospital will never make a mistake. To hold the hospital or its staff accountable, there must be evidence that the responsible party fell short of the standard of care that was required.
In other words, the hospital must have deviated so far from the level of care that was owed to the patient that its actions were unreasonable. In addition, the negligence must have injured the patient. If the hospital made a mistake, but the patient suffered no real injury, it cannot be held liable for malpractice.
Damages For Hospital Negligence
In pursuing a claim of malpractice against a hospital, the injured patient has to explain to the court what sort of damages he or she suffered. These generally fall into two broad categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those which may be quantified in terms of dollars lost. This could include the cost of having to seek medical treatment to correct the consequences of the hospital’s negligence. Another example is earnings that were lost because the victim needed to recover and couldn’t work.
Non-economic damages are intangible and are sometimes more controversial. They include things like pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of society.
One job your attorney has is to make sure all damages are fully considered because you only get one chance to demand them. If your case goes to trial or is settled, and you have not requested a particular type of damages, you won’t get the chance to ask for them again.
Contact Our Chicago Hospital Negligence Attorney Today
We understand the stress and trauma you are facing if a hospital’s mistake has hurt you or a loved one. That’s why we fight for patients who have been victimized by hospital negligence. You can count on the dedicated and experienced medical malpractice lawyers of Hale & Monico to walk with you each step of the way. Give our firm a call today to discuss your case.