Currently Browsing: Medical Malpractice

Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse

While many maintain their independence in their later years, many of our loved ones find themselves needing some assistance as they age. Nursing homes often provide a safe and caring environment for our loved ones to continue to lead happy, healthy lives while receiving the care and assistance they need. Unfortunately for some families however, some of these facilities prove to be dangerous to their loved ones. In cases of nursing home negligence or abuse, residents of a nursing home could be harmed or not receive the proper care that they need. This can be a traumatic situation for any family, and while this is something no one should have to face, it is important to know what signs to look for in your loved one that may bring to your attention this horrible situation.

According to the website of The Sampson Law Firm, some warning signs that your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse or negligence are:

  • Sudden changes in emotional state
  • Withdrawal from friends and relatives
  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Bed sores

These are all red flags that something is lacking in the care your loved one is receiving at their assisted living facility. While these situations are uncomfortable to think about and should never occur they are all too common and must be investigated and reported if you notice any of these potential warning signs.

Nursing home abuse or negligence is a particularly horrifying situation because our most vulnerable loved ones are the victims. There is no excuse for this conduct and those who commit this crime must be held accountable. If you discover that your loved one is a victim of this unfortunate situation, you or your family may be owed certain damages for this traumatic experience.

Medical Malpractice – Wrong Diagnosis

Wrong medical treatment, prescription error and surgical mistakes are just a few of the many types of medical malpractice. What is common about these three is that these are but just results of another error – wrong diagnosis.

A doctor’s failure to make an accurate diagnosis of a person’s illness can result to the worsening of his/her condition since no treatment has actually been made; besides this, there is also the risk of causing a new illness to develop, usually due to prescribed drugs which may cause side-effects. Diagnostic errors, though, are not just confined to misdiagnosis; these also include delayed diagnosis. Thus, due to these mistakes, a doctor may end up making an incorrect treatment, making a delayed treatment, or not making any treatment at all.

Probably one very important detail a patient needs to know about incorrect diagnosis is that not all misdiagnoses can warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is especially true if the error is committed due to a patient’s concealment of critical health information from his/her doctor, defective or faulty medical equipment, a language barrier between the patient and the doctor, when the symptoms manifested by the ailment fail to match the general diagnosis, or human error, such as contamination or mix up of radiology films or laboratory test results, use of improper procedure by the technician or the technician missed something in a pathology slide or x-ray.

On the other hand, if the misdiagnosis is due a doctor’s lack of ability in delivering customary medical action, an obvious misconduct due to the doctor’s laziness, non-adherence to the doctor’s code of conduct or an obvious act of negligence that results to patient harm, then such misdiagnosis will certainly necessitate a medical malpractice lawsuit.

It is, sometimes, quite hard to pronounce a doctor liable due to misdiagnosis. However, in many instances, another medical personnel may actually be the cause of the mistake, thus, making the doctor commit an error as well.

Prescription Errors: Creating New Illnesses Rather than Providing Cure

Based on the definition of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP), a medication error is “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use.”(http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/medicationerrors/default.htm).

This definition is used by the Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA), an arm of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). It is the DMEPA that reviews and evaluates reports on medication error involving over-the-counter, generic, prescription and other marketed human medicines.

The DMEPA has a team of healthcare professionals working for the prevention of errors in medication. Its activities include review of reports on medication errors, evaluation of causality, and analysis of data to help the US Food and Drug Administration find solutions on how to minimize risks of medication errors.

DMEPA also conducts reviews on the drug’s product design, packaging, labeling and proprietary names, as well as works hand-in-hand with federal agencies, foreign regulators, quality control organizations, like the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and patient safety groups, like the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), to extensively address issues on product safety.

One would suppose that, with all the mentioned federal protocols, all drugs that have been approved by the FDA, whether over-the-counter or prescription drugs are totally safe and effective as manufacturers claim these to be. Well, guess again.

Many drugs, prescription drugs especially, have been proven to increase the risk of the development of more serious illnesses in patients; some have even been linked to the sudden death of patients. Many times too the FDA has asked drug manufacturers to include in their drug’s prescription label the side-effects and the risks associated with taking such drug. And for really severe effects, a black box warning, the most serious the FDA can issue, has been made on a number of medicines.

Prescribing a certain medication to patients, even without fully inquiring about a patient’s medical history, other drugs currently used, allergies, or worse, without making sure than an accurate diagnosis of the patient’s illness has been made, is a common mistake in the medical world.

There are many types of medical mistakes with prescription error just being one of these. Whether due to negligence, carelessness or with the intent of receiving commissions from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their drug, many doctors are still committing this particular medical mistake, harming many patients (and their families) in the process.

Abel Law Firm, which is based in Oklahoma, knows the incalculable importance of the responsibility of doctors over their patients. Failure to provide quality patient care that leads to prescription errors not only delays the treatment the patient really needs, but also increases the risk of greater patient harm.