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Greenbelt Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What documents do I need to file a medical malpractice claim?

If you were harmed by your physician during treatment or surgery, you may have a case against them and the hospital for medical malpractice. However, proving that medical malpractice occurred is notoriously difficult for patients, particularly those with serious health issues. In order to give yourself the best chance at financial recovery, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.

If you decide to meet with an attorney after a doctor's errors caused you injury, it is their job to gather all the necessary information and prepare your case for mediation or trial. You can make the process easier by providing them with as much information as possible to help them build your case. First, you will need to provide them with your medical records or give them the contact information of all of the hospitals, clinics and medical professionals that have provided you with medical care. With your consent, your attorney should be able to access your records and use them to establish the quality of your care. These records should also include any mental health records, even if your mental health treatment is unrelated to the illness in question.

Who can I sue for a birth injury?

Many Maryland parents and soon-to-be parents hope that their newborns are born healthy. While some medical issues are beyond the medical professionals' control, many newborns experience illnesses and injuries that could have been prevented if those treating the baby had been more careful. People injured at birth may end up with cerebral palsy or a number of other physical and emotional disabilities that last a lifetime. When a birth injury occurs due to the negligence of one or more parties, a family may be able to sue for medical malpractice.

The first person you may think to sue is the doctor who was in charge of the birth. However, there are many other parties that could also be liable for the baby's medical issues including nurses, pharmaceutical companies and anesthesiologists. In many cases, you should consider suing the hospital where the injury occurred. Hospitals may be liable for many reasons. For one, hospitals can be vicariously liable for the actions of the doctors, nurses and other professionals working for them, as long as these employees were working within the scope of their employment. However, if a medical professional is negligent and they are working as an independent contractor, the hospital may not be liable for their actions.

How physician burnout negatively affects patient care

If you or your loved one is receiving medical care in Maryland, you should be concerned with the doctor's physical and mental health. A number of studies have shown that physicians experiencing "burnout" are more likely to make medical mistakes. Physicians who are eating well, exercising and sleeping well generally have better patient outcomes than doctors who are experiencing physical and mental exhaustion, depression and other health issues.

One study revealed a clear correlation between physician depression and the mistakes they make, including surgical errors, while treating patients. In fact, after studying pediatric residents in various training programs, residents with depression made six times as many medication-related errors as non-depressed residents. Another issue is that residents experiencing burnout think that they are making more mistakes than they actually are.

Misdiagnosis of Type 3c diabetes may be cause for concern

Any time a Maryland doctor misdiagnoses a disease, there is a risk for severe medical complications. The misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose diabetes is fairly common, particularly among patients whose diabetes is a consequence of pancreatic dysfunction. A recent diabetes study found that patients with diabetes of the exocrine pancreas, or type 3c, are often misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

Type 3c diabetes occurs when there is pancreatic inflammation, or part of the pancreas is removed, causing it to stop producing insulin. People with 3c diabetes are more likely to have poor glycemic control and therefore may require insulin therapy more immediately than other diabetics, so a failure to diagnose type 3c diabetes in a timely fashion can cause significant health problems, including kidney damage, as well as eye and nerve damage.

Study shows nurses with depression make more medical mistakes

When you go to a hospital for medical care, you expect doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to use their years of education, training and experience to provide you with the best treatment possible. When a doctor or nurse fails to provide you with adequate care, you risk facing serious injury or even death. If a medical error caused you harm, you or your family may sue all the parties involved in your care for medical negligence.

There are many reasons why a medical professional in Maryland may make a medical error. One recent study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that registered nurses who suffer from depression are more likely to make medical errors than those who do not have depression. Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, nearly 1,800 survey responses from United States nurses were analyzed and it was discovered that nurses with depression had up to a 71 percent higher likelihood of reporting medical errors than other nurses. About half of the nurses in the study reported some form of medical error within the last five years.

Our attorneys can help you file a medical negligence claim

When an accident occurs, victims are often rushed to the emergency room for life-saving treatments and surgeries. However, many hospitals in Maryland are overcrowded and understaffed. These issues in an already high-pressure environment can result in serious medical errors and misdiagnoses. These mistakes cost thousands of patients their lives, and leave others with more serious injuries than when they were first admitted.

Fortunately, there is recourse available for patients and their families. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Sonntag, P.A., our attorneys use our years of legal experience to help people file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for their suffering. Your lawsuit can stem from a number of issues including delayed diagnoses, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, surgical errors and so many other mistakes by medical professionals.

Who is responsible for medical errors?

Anytime you undergo a surgery or other medical procedure in Maryland, there is a possibility that something will go wrong during the process, causing you additional pain and injury. Whenever a doctor's errors cause a patient harm, the first question many people ask is who is responsible? In other words, if the patient needs additional care due to a medical mistake, who should pay for this treatment?

In 2010, provisions to U.S. health laws made the quality of patient care a priority. Despite this, patients who walk into a hospital may end up worse off than they were before they came in for many reasons including medical mistakes and infections. The Journal of Patient Safety reported in 2013 that over 400,000 people in the U.S. die every year due to avoidable medical errors.

Why may oncologists be prone to mistakes?

Oncologists are physicians who provide quality health care to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. As we all know, cancer is a debilitating disease that can devastate victims and their families. While oncologists generally intend to provide their patients with the best care possible, many of them make medical errors with regard to diagnosis and recommending and administering treatment.

At the American Society for Radiation Oncology 2017 Annual Meeting, one physicist suggested that physicians generally may be prone to making medical errors. Autopsy studies, second reviews and surveys, have apparently discovered that doctors have made diagnostic errors in approximately 15 percent of cases. Because many cancer patients are subjected to high levels of radiation, any calculation errors while determining dosage can be life-threatening.

Misdiagnosis and treatment errors cause harm to patients

Medical malpractice can occur in many different forms. One of the most common medical mistakes involves the misdiagnosis of a patient condition, which leads to erroneous treatment. When a physician fails to diagnose a patient's illness, or incorrectly diagnoses them, the patient is the one who suffers. Some patients end up suffering severe medical complications that they would not have suffered had the doctor made an accurate and timely diagnosis.

Generally, in order to diagnose a patient, doctors establish what is called a "differential diagnosis." The doctor will create a list of likely diagnoses from most probable to least probable based on the patient's symptoms. The doctor's list can be called into question if the patient or patient's family decides to file a medical malpractice suit against them. The case will rest on whether a reasonably prudent physician would have the same potential diagnoses list as the doctor did, in similar circumstances. If the patient's physician failed to consider the patient's actual diagnosis or failed to take steps to rule it out, they may be liable for the patient's injuries.

Over one-fifth of Americans report experiencing medical errors

When we go to the doctor, we expect our doctors to diagnose our illnesses accurately and offer appropriate treatment. According to a recent survey by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, 21 percent of American adults reported that they have personally experienced a medical error in their lifetimes. Additionally, 31 percent of adults reported that someone they cared for experienced an error. Doctor's errors can have serious consequences and leave patients and their families devastated physically, financially and emotionally.

Over 2,500 people took the survey nationwide earlier this year. The study showed that, out of the people who experienced errors, only close to 50 percent reported the error to the healthcare facility. The people who experienced the errors found that multiple factors played a role in these errors and that it is the responsibility of health care professionals and facilities to handle these issues.

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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
Greenbelt Law Office