Articles Posted in Birth Injury

Medical malpractice is the colloquial term that refers to professional negligence for doctors, nurses and similar workers. Some residents often confuse this idea with the general concept of a poor medical outcome.

Is malpractice in play anytime that a patient suffers a sudden or unexpected medical complication? Not quite.

Instead, the only analysis that counts is comparing the conduct of medical professionals in a specific case with the conduct of the reasonably prudent medical professional in a similar situation. In other words, for legal purposes, the focus is on the specific actions of the medical professionals, not necessarily the exact outcomes of any given medial case.

While a great deal of attention has been directed towards conflicts between religious freedom and access to contraception, a new suit against a Catholic hospital may have ramifications for medical malpractice law in the coming years.

This week the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Michigan federal court. The ACLU is suing on behalf of Tamesha Means and pleads that Means did not receive accurate information or treatment in a Catholic-affiliated hospital in Muskegon, Michigan.

On Means’ behalf, the ACLU alleges that she sought treatment from Mercy Health Partners, the only hospital in her county, when her water broke in the eighteenth week of pregnancy. Means says she was not told her fetus could not survive or that there were risks if she continued her pregnancy, nor did the hospital admit her for observation. She returned the next morning, bleeding and in pain, but was sent home; she returned that evening with a fever, and miscarried while at the hospital. According to medical experts who have reviewed Means’s case, the fetus had “virtually no chance” of surviving, and that in such circumstances doctors would ordinarily induce labor or surgically remove the fetus to reduce the mother’s chances of infection. Dr. Douglas W. Laube, an obstetrician from the University of Wisconsin Medical School, described Means’s care as “basic neglect.”

Medical malpractice lawsuits refer to those instances where professional negligence by a medical caregiver is alleged. The term refers to all cases of this sort, regardless of the specific injury that results. In the most extreme cases, a patient may pass away as a result of the inadequate medical care. At those times, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. While there is much nuance, wrongful death lawsuits make distinct legal arguments that are somewhat different than those filed by a patient on their own behalf for an injury after mistreatment. The complexities of this distinction is just one of many reasons why it is important to seek out the aid of an experienced med mal attorney as soon as possible after harm to protect your rights.

Infant Death During Delivery

Unfortunately, one of the most common situations where medical malpractice is alleged to cause a death involve childbirth. Thousands of children are delivered every day. But just because the procedure is common does not mean that it is without risks. In fact, many families only learn too late of the serious nature of childbirth and the consequences when problems develop and are not handled properly.

A new infographic is making its way around the web this week that touches on a wide range of general medical malpractice issues. The visual attempts to put into perspective some basic statistics about medical malpractice and legal liability.

For example, the image discusses those states which currently have laws on the books placing an arbitrary cap on damage awards in in these cases, ranging from $250,000 to $785,000. It shares the most recent data which shows a decline in total med mal legal payouts over the last eight years, peaking in 2003 and decreasing by over a billion dollars annually by 2011.

Back Through the Ages: Landmark Med Mal Cases

Few legal news stories have generated more debate and argument in recent weeks than that involving the horrific abortion clinic work of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Obviously abortion is an incredibly volatile issue with a myriad of political implications. Social networks have been alight as those urging the banning of all abortions verbally spar with those who support its legality in some circumstances.

However, beyond the emotional political drama raised by the case, the Gosnell matter is also an indication of the damage that a single doctor can cause who provides substandard medical care to countless patients. While the Gosnell case is an extreme example, it is still worthwhile to use it as a general reminder of the need to be incredibly vigilant when seeking out medical care, no matter what the medical issue.

Deadly Medical Care

Some legal researchers have identified that misconceptions about injury cases–including Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits–are often rooted in the way that the suits are covered by the media. In particular, the only time that a lawsuit reaches a mass audience is when the plaintiff wins the case, usually for a large amount. Other than that, most community members who do not file a suit themselves have little understanding of the overall dynamics of the legal system or the usual outcomes.

All of this leads to skewed public perceptions, with many thinking that most cases end with plaintiff’s winning millions of dollars after jury verdicts at trial. That is not at all the case. Instead, defendants are just as likely to win in these matter when brought to trial (the burden of proof is in their favor). And even when plaintiffs do win, the judgements are often nowhere near as large as those that make headlines.

Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm understands the need to break those stereotypes. After all, false assumptions about the civil justice system has led many community members to mistakenly support legislative changes which take away rights of injury victims. The first step in reversing those misguided actions is presenting an honest picture of the civil justice system and its operation.

When problems develop during childbirth most assume the same thing: I hope the child is OK. However, a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that we also need renewed focus on possible harm facing mothers during a birth.

Of course, in the past, childbirth has always been an incredibly dangerous time for mothers. In less developed parts of the world the material death rate remains shockingly high. While we recognize the risk elsewhere, in the United States there is a somewhat unacknowledged assumption that mothers will be fine during a delivery. The high risk of death during childbirth is a thing of the past–now the risk is very small.

Obviously vast improvements have been made over the decades on this front, but the problem has not gone away entirely. In fact, in some ways the risk of harm to the mother during childbirth has increased in recent years. It is vitally important that all of us understand this risk and that medical professionals act reasonable at all times to ensure mothers are not hurt in preventable ways as a result of inadequate response to maternal health complications during a birth.

While the country’s economy has been on the way up for the past few years. But the great recession of 2008 and 2009 threw many families into financial spirals, and many of them have yet to turn things around. Research into bankruptcies have found that sudden medical emergencies (and the accompanying bills) are one of the key reasons why many families face debt that they cannot pay back. Anyone who has dealt with a medical emergency or knows a loved one who has, likely understands this reality. Medical costs are staggering. Even with insurance, the bills often mount quickly. It is not uncommon for middle-class families to be unable to pay those costs.

It wasn’t always this way. Medical bills in the past, while often a stress on families, were nowhere near as staggering as they are today.

What changed over the years? If you believe political talk of certain big interests, you might believe that medical malpractice lawsuits are to blame. However, virtually every credible source on the issue acknowledges that this is nothing but a red herring. It is incredibly harmful and inappropriate to blame injured medical patients for rising healthcare costs.

Each individual case of Illinois medical malpractice presents a range of unique legal issues. In most cases, medical malpractice is essentially rooted in the civil claim for negligence-alleging that another community member did not act reasonably which caused their harm. In a general sense, this is the same whether the negligent party is a doctor, nurse, taxi driver, construction worker, or anyone else. Yet, when medical errors are involved there are often a few legal complications involved that are not present in other negligence situations-like expert witnesses-but the basic legal principles are the same.

However, as a new story in Medical Daily explains, depending on the unique situation, legal claims beyond negligence may be implicated following poor medical care. For example, the story discusses the rare situation where a suit is filed against a doctor for emotional distress, even where there is no physical harm. Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm was interested to read about the case which involves a mother who sued her doctor for failing to prepare her for the mental and emotional shock of her newborn’s birth deformities.

In this particular case the mother filed the suit against her doctor in 2005, claiming both negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The doctor performed an ultrasound on the child and told the mother that the results were normal without any abnormalities. However, when the child was actually born he had a range of deformities. The baby did not have arms below the elbows or legs below the knees. He had an accessory tongue, delayed jaw growth, an umbilical hernia, and a ventral curvature of the penis. The effect of seeing her son for the first time without any warning about his unique disabilities threw the mother into shock. She explains that she suffered from severe emotional and mental distress in the aftermath of the birth.

A medical malpractice attorney has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the husband of a woman who died as a result of an obstetrical error during the birth of her child, reports the Mount Airy News. According to the report, the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist cut her small bowel while performing a cesarean section to deliver the victim’s first child.

After the surgery, the doctor closed her up without properly examining her. In the following days, she complained on nausea, abdominal pains and not being able to have a bowel movement, but her physician and hospital staff ignored these complaints. She was released home where her problems continued, until she returned to the hospital where lab tests revealed that her kidneys had stopped functioning. She was transferred to a larger hospital, but unfortunately died soon after transfer. According to the lawsuit, the woman was most likely suffering from sepsis as a result of the doctor’s surgical mistakes.

When the woman’s small bowel was severed during the cesarean, the doctor did not realize the mistake or take action to remedy it. When tears or perforations to the small bowel occur, the contents of the bowel can leak into a person’s abdominal cavity which can lead to a sepsis infection. When left untreated, sepsis infections can be fatal such as in this woman’s case.

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