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Greenbelt Medical Malpractice Law Blog

If your doctor was negligent, we can help you file your claim

If you are sick or injured, you may go to the hospital for medical advice or treatment. All hospital medical professionals must treat patients in accordance with the standards of medical care as established by the medical community. The idea is to help patients get better as quickly as possible by exercising the same level of care that a reasonable physician in the same field in similar circumstances would.

Unfortunately, however, some medical professionals do not meet the requisite medical standards when treating their patients. When a doctor is negligent in treating a patient, the patient may suffer additional injuries and require surgeries and other treatments they would not have needed had they been properly treated in the first place. In some cases, negligent doctors will misdiagnose or fail to diagnose a patient. By the time the doctor gives the correct diagnosis, the patient's condition may have worsened and become untreatable. As a result, many patients end up losing their lives due to medical malpractice.

Woman sues hospital and physician for misdiagnosis

Doctors in Maryland are responsible for diagnosing our illnesses and injuries and coming up with the best possible treatment options. However, even the top physicians can make a mistake while diagnosing or treating a patient. A failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis of a condition can cause death or additional injury. Patients who are the victims of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis may be able to file a lawsuit against their treating physician for medical malpractice.

One patient recently sued a physician and health care facility for misdiagnosing the condition of her deceased loved one. The patient had received treatment at the facility for approximately 11 months, from January to November of 2015. The woman accuses the facility of medical negligence for their misdiagnosis of the deceased's medical condition. Because of their misdiagnosis, they failed to provide the proper treatment to the patient, which ultimately resulted in her death.

How can I file a medical malpractice suit?

Patients trust their physicians to adhere to accepted medical standards when diagnosing them and administering treatment. Unfortunately, many hospitals, physicians, nurses and other medical professionals do not adhere to these standards and end up causing their patients harm. If you have suffered at the hands of a negligent medical professional, you may be able to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries.

Filing a medical malpractice suit in Maryland against anyone who administered negligent care and caused your injury is crucial to recovering damages. The first step in your medical malpractice case will be to contact the medical professional who treated you. You can discuss your case and determine whether there is anything they can do to remedy the situation. If this does not help, you may need to contact the medical licensing board responsible for their license to practice. They may provide you with additional information and discipline the medical professional for their negligence.

Burnout can lead to physician error

Medical professionals often work long hours due to staff shortages and increased demands on quality healthcare. As a result, many doctors can suffer from "burnout." Physician burnout is caused by chronic stress and can lead to doctor's errors and patient injury. In the United States, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death, with close to 250,000 deaths every year.

Doctors in certain high-stress specialties are more likely to experience burnout. According to a 2015 survey by the American Medical Association and Mayo Clinic, emergency medicine physicians were the most likely to experience burnout, followed by doctors in urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, family medicine and radiology. The survey also revealed that over 54 percent of doctors experienced one or more signs of burnout. Some of these signs include depression, anxiety, disconnect from the job, apathy towards patients and feelings of exhaustion or hopelessness.

Failing to diagnose serious illness can have consequences

If you are suffering from a persistent illness or injury, you may go to the doctor to find out what is wrong. Patients expect their physicians to carefully evaluate their symptoms and give them an educated, well-reasoned diagnosis with a plan for treatment.

While most doctors are dedicated to find a cure for their patients' suffering, some physicians may not do a thorough enough job when researching their patients' ailments. Every year, doctors misdiagnose their patients with the wrong illness or fail to diagnose them altogether. Unfortunately, many medical conditions get worse over time. The longer it takes for your doctor to figure out what is wrong, the more severe your medical condition may become.

Distracted surgery can result in medical errors

Most of us have heard of distracted driving. But what about distracted surgery? One of the most common forms of distraction for Maryland physicians is their cellphones. Doctors who make phone calls, send texts or look at the internet during surgery may be more likely to make mistakes during a surgery, resulting in medical malpractice. However, there are also some benefits to having access to a phone while treating patients.

Some argue that doctors should have access to their phones during surgery in case they need to access a medical app, conduct quick research or call for help. Their phone could mean the difference between life and death for a patient. They may also use their phones to check-in with patients and access patient information.

Study finds mistakes with handwritten opioid prescriptions

When a doctor makes a mistake when treating a patient, the consequences can be devastating. Some of the most common doctor errors occur when a doctor makes a mistake while writing the patient's prescription. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that handwritten prescriptions for opioids in particular are much less reliable than those that are done electronically.

Researchers looked at just over 500 prescriptions filled at a Johns Hopkins Medicine outpatient pharmacy and determined the number of prescribing and processing errors in both electronic and handwritten opioid prescriptions when the patient was discharged. The study found that 42 percent of all the prescriptions had errors. Handwritten prescriptions made up 47 percent of the prescriptions, but 89 percent of them deviated from the DEA's "best practice" guidelines or missed two forms or more of patient identification. Electronic prescriptions, which use a template that automatically follows best practice guidelines and only require a signature, did not have any errors.

Birth injuries are often caused by medical malpractice

For many parents, the birth of their newborn child is the most exciting day of their lives. However, this happy day can quickly become a devastating one if a doctor in Maryland negligently causes injury to the child. Birth injuries can occur at various points during the birthing process, but negligence typically occurs when the doctor fails to recognize a pregnancy-related disorder or fails to provide proper prenatal care.

If a baby has suffered some sort of injury, it can be difficult to determine whether the baby has a birth injury or a birth defect. Birth injuries typically involve improper medical techniques or use of birthing equipment during the actual birth. Birth defects, on the other hand, occur as a result of issues that arose prior to the birth itself. While some birth defects are caused by genetics or the baby's environment, some may be caused by the medication prescribed to the woman during her pregnancy.

Better communication may be key to reducing medical errors

Many medical errors seem inexplicable. How did the doctor miss the tumor? Why was the patient discharged too soon? A recent study by members of the faculties at Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Maryland has identified an often-ignored source of doctors' errors: lack of effective communication between members of a patient's health care team.

The study found that communication failures "are a common cause of patient harm." The failures are most often caused by the traditionally hierarchical structure of the medical profession. This structure inhibits the effective exchange of information by emphasizing a top-down power structure and a one-way transmission of information about the patient.

Removal of wrong testicle leads to $870,000 malpractice verdict

Many human organs and body parts come in right-left pairs. When one of the pair must be removed from the body or amputated, the surgeon must take extreme care to ensure that the afflicted body part is removed and the healthy organ or body part is not touched. Despite modern preventative procedures that include the physician signing the organ or body part that will be excised, removal of the healthy counterpart still prompts medical malpractice lawsuits in Maryland and elsewhere.

A recent jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff was based upon a classic example of the wrong body part removal syndrome. The patient had complained for years of chronic pain in his right testicle. Clinical examination and medical scans showed that the right testicle was about half the size of its counterpart. The man's physician recommend amputation when other efforts at a cure had failed.

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Law Offices of W. Scott Sonntag, P.A.
Maryland Trade Center III
7501 Greenway Center Drive # 460
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: 443-718-9931
Fax: 410-730-1615
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