Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death

A medical malpractice wrongful death case is usually filed when the patient dies from the negligent actions of medical staff and/or a medical facility. Though any unexpected death of a loved one is tragic, a patient dying from the careless actions of healthcare providers is particularly devastating. This is because we trust the qualifications and abilities of certified medical staff to adhere to basic accepted standards of care.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that up to 100,000 American patients die from preventable medical errors each year. Medical errors can occur by the negligent actions of any entity or individual providing health care, including hospitals, medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, nurses and others. It can involve medication errors, birth injuries, bacterial infections, misdiagnosis, abuse or neglect.

Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis

Doctors are trained to use the latest advancements in technology to correctly diagnose the medical conditions of their patients. When the diagnosis is delayed, or misdiagnosed altogether, it can cause significant irreparable harm to the health of the patient. When an incorrect diagnosis, or failure to diagnose, results in the patient’s death, their survivors have a right to file for compensation from all responsible parties who were negligent in their actions.

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful DeathTheir failure to accurately diagnose and properly prescribe appropriate treatment can cause death in various medical conditions including:

  • Heart attacks and heart disease
  • Cancers
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Gynecological conditions
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Internal bleeding
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Infection
  • Psychiatric disorder

Emergency Room Malpractice

Emergency room patients are often the victims of deadly consequence when the emergency staff makes a medical error. In fact, each year many wrongful death lawsuits involve emergency room negligence including:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Failing to order necessary tests
  • Failing to monitor the progress of the patient
  • Nursing negligence
  • Lab error
  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnose medical conditions
  • Failure to treat or delayed treatment
  • Poor communication between healthcare providers
  • Paperwork errors
  • Staffing issues including inadequate training
  • Failing to admit the patient
  • Prematurely discharging the patient

Surgical Malpractice

Surgeons can make errors and mistakes before, during and after surgeries. Patients can die from complications that develop from these surgical errors. Many wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuits filed by the decedent’s survivors are an effort to provide financial compensation of losing a loved one from a preventable surgical mistake that could include:

  • An allergic reaction to prescription medication used during the surgery
  • Prolonged surgeries
  • Improper surgical methods and techniques
  • Improperly administering anesthesia
  • Formed blood clots during and after surgery
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Infections due to ineffective intra-operative and post-operative procedures

Wrongful Death Civil Actions

Family members and beneficiaries of the deceased patient can file a wrongful death claim by making a legal argument that could include:

  • The patient died from a preventable medical error caused by the defendant
  • The family members and beneficiaries had a close relationship with the patient
  • The survivors are suffering specific compensable losses due to the unexpected death
  • The medical facility and/or staff caused the medical error and owe compensation to the survivors to cover damages and losses associated with the death

To be successful in obtaining financial recompense through a civil action, it is up to the survivors, or their legal representatives, to prove the damages associated with the wrongful death. A skilled attorney can build the case to hold every responsible party accountable for actions causing the medical errors or negligence. Some damages involved in the case can include:

  • Loss of emotional support, love, and companionship
  • Loss of economic financial support
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Financial expenses involved with medical care
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death

Reputable attorneys experienced in wrongful death cases can serve as a legal representative on behalf of the closest surviving relatives that often include a parent, spouse and/or child. Often times, a wrongful death medical malpractice case is extremely complex, and requires the skills of an experienced lawyer to submit a claim against malpractice insurance or file a lawsuit in court.