Some people go to the doctor for every sniffle and symptom and others avoid doctors at all costs until a trip to the doctor’s office or hospital is necessary. Whatever type of patient you may be, one thing is for certain: you put your life in the hands of a doctor to diagnose you, operate on you, or to deliver your baby.
Because doctors have reputations for being intelligent and skilled in their profession, patients trust them; however, most physicians have a lot of work to do in a little time and are often rushed. As a result, many doctors make critical mistakes when diagnosing conditions or when they are in the operating room. When doctors fail to double and triple check their work or fail to react to an urgent situation in a timely manner, they can make errors that adversely affect patients’ lives.
Disabling Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence
If you suffered a disabling injury after being in a doctor’s care, you may have been a victim of medical malpractice; however, it may be difficult for you to know if your injury was the result of medical negligence. Although the list below shows some examples of how disabling injuries can occur from medical malpractice, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney right away if you think you have suffered due to a medical professional’s carelessness and negligence.
Typical causes of disabling injuries include:
- Surgeons may remove the wrong organ or make accidental laceration to organs or tissues during surgery. When this happens, patients may have to undergo an additional surgery or may have to live with the long-term results of such an error. Additionally, deep cuts can lead to hemorrhaging, serious infections, amputations, and organ failure.
- Doctors can make other surgical errors, such as unnecessary amputations. As a result, patients ultimately endure two surgeries and lose both of their arms or legs instead of one.
- Emergency room doctors or primary care physicians may misinterpret tests results, such as misreading an electrocardiogram (ECG) or miss the signs of a heart attack or stroke. When this occurs, a patient may suffer permanent impairments or death.
- Doctors may fail to diagnose or delay diagnosing serious health conditions. As a result, patients may miss their window for treatment.
- Obstetricians may make labor and delivery errors. When this occurs, babies can sustain paralysis, brain damage, and other injuries while mothers can suffer various health complications.
- Nurses may administer wrong medications or wrong doses of medications. As a result, patients can suffer severe allergic reactions, organ failure, and other serious outcomes.
- Anesthesiologists may place epidurals and spinal taps in the wrong location. When this occurs, patients can end up paralyzed and their lives forever changed.
Types of Disabling Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
If you or a family member have suffered health complications and disabling injuries, it is possible that medical negligence was behind it. Because disabling injuries can lead to financial and emotional stress, it is critical to speak with an attorney to find out what your options are. Don’t wait to find out what can be done—the statute of limitations could expire depending on the type of injury and accident you were involved in.
Common disabling injuries that result from medical negligence include:
- Heart attack. When doctors misdiagnose heart conditions or fail to respond in a timely manner to a heart attack, a person may die. If a person lives, he or she may suffer irreversible brain damage and memory loss due to the brain being starved of oxygen while being resuscitated. Also, people who survive heart attacks have a higher chance of suffering other heart problems such as a stroke, heart valve damage, and heart failure.
- Stroke. When doctors overlook warning signs of a stroke or fail to administer the right drug in time, a patient can suffer a stroke that can lead to permanent brain damage, speech impairments, cognitive impairments, paralysis, and blindness. Oftentimes, stroke survivors suffer from aphasia, which causes difficulty reading and writing and communicating with others because the ability to speak and understand others is impaired.
- Brain damage. When doctors fail to respond in a timely manner during brain surgery, labor and delivery, or during other procedures, patients can suffer serious brain injuries because the brain was deprived oxygen. As a result, brain injury survivors can suffer lifelong disabilities such as permanent memory loss, communication and language issues, concentration and attention problems, and behaviroal issues that cause a patient to suffer a personality change. Additionally, some brain injury survivors suffer from vision and hearing loss.
- Life-threatning bleeding. A patient can suffer hemorrhaging due to medical complications, surgical errors, or from medication interactions. Unfortunately, a hemorrhage results in serious bleeding that can cause organ failure and even death.
- Infection. Patients can develop serious infections during surgery or during a hospital stay as a result of medical negligence. Also, patients can suffer from sepsis or septic shock due to an infection in the body that doctors failed to treat. When an infection causes paralysis, organ dysfunction, or other significant damage and disabilities to a patient, the patient can pursue economic and non-economic damages.
- Amputation. When patients suffer from infection, poor blood flow, or trauma, doctors may need to amputate the affected leg or arm; however, sometimes, doctors perform wrong-site surgeries and operate on wrong body parts. Consequently, patients undergo two surgeries and lose both appendages as a result of doctors amputating the wrong leg or arm.
- Paralysis. When doctors delay performing spinal cord surgery or make medical mistakes during surgery, patients can suffer paralysis. Also, medical negligence during childbirth is often a cause of paralysis in both mothers and babies. Mothers can suffer from paralysis due to poor placement of epidurals and spinals by negligent anesthesiologists. Additionally, babies can suffer paralysis when doctors wait too long to perform C-sections or apply too much force to get infants out of the birth canal.
- Organ damage and failure. When doctors make mistakes during surgical procedures, internal organs can be damaged. From accidental lacerations to removing the wrong organ, patients can suffer profound effects as a result of such errors. Sadly, organ damage can cause renal failure, respiratory failure, cardiovascular failure, liver failure, and even death.
- Severe allergic reactions. When nurses and doctors fail to read patients’ charts correctly and prescribe or administer medications they are allergic to, patients can suffer problems breathing due to restricted airways and can suffer life-threatening complications such as heart failure.
Effects of Disabling Injuries
After suffering permanent disabilities due to a botched procedure or as a result of a negligent medical professional, you may be facing a stack of medical bills as well as a financial gap in income due time off of work to heal. Unfortunately, when permanent disabling injuries are the result of medical negligence, you may suffer from many of the effects listed below:
- Physical effects. Disabling injuries often cause pain as well as other physical issues, such as the inability to walk, see, or perform physical functions. After sustaining disabling injuries, you will likely have to learn how to live all over again—from taking care of yourself to relying on others for support. Additionally, you may need ongoing medical care and lifelong physical therapy for the trauma you endured.
- Emotional effects. After suffering a disabling injury, it is common to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other emotional effects due to the loss or lifestyle changes you endured. For example, brain damage, paralysis, the loss of a leg or arm, loss of vision, or other disabling injuries can be very hard to process emotionally, which is why victims of medical malpractice will need to see psychologists or professional counselors in order to heal emotionally.
- Financial effects. Because your injuries may prevent you from returning to work and making a living, you are likely suffering financially. Plus, disabling injuries will lead to expensive hospital and doctor bills, as well as physical therapy expenses, counseling costs, in-home services expenses and many other expenses due to the medical error you sustained.
Life After Suffering a Disabling Injury
When serious injuries cause you to suffer physically, emotionally, and financially, you are likely to have many questions about your future. This is why our law firm invites you to contact us immediately after suffering an injury or at any point during your recovery. We have also put together the information below to give you a quick glance at some of the questions you may have surrounding medical malpractice laws and your legal rights.
- What type of financial compensation is available? As a victim of medical malpractice, you are entitled to recover for your economic expenses, such as the costs you incurred for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, medical devices, in-home care, future medical care, lost income, future lost wages, and more. Additionally, you will also be entitled to non-economic damages, such as your pain and suffering and the loss of ability to enjoy life as you knew it.
- What are the time limits on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit? According to Virginia’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In DC, you have a three-year deadline to file a medical malpractice claim. However, because a person will be barred from filing a claim after a certain amount of time, victims should never wait too long to talk with an attorney about their case.
- What should people know about medical malpractice lawsuits? It is important that if you were injured by medical negligence, you request your medical records right away and contact a lawyer as soon as possible to review the details of your case. After taking those steps, an attorney will arrange for a medical expert to review your medical records so that you can receive a certificate of merit, which allows you to proceed with the lawsuit.
- How can victims of medical malpractice find the right lawyer? When looking for a lawyer to handle your case, it is important to look at the attorney’s past experience and results in similar cases. Additionally, a lawyer should be forthright in providing testimonials from past clients.
Whether your injury was the result of a misdiagnosis, delay in diagnosis, surgical error, anesthesia error, or another medical mistake, the medical professional who acted negligently in your case needs to be held accountable for the wrongful actions that led to your disabling injury. Because the laws surrounding medical malpractice are complicated and there are many parties that could be held responsible for your injuries including a doctor, anesthesiologist, or even a hospital such as Inova Fairfax Hospital, it is critical to seek the legal advice of a lawyer.
Our law firm has the experience and successful past results representing victims of medical malpractice, and we would be pleased to look at the details of your case and help you collect the financial compensation you need and deserve. Please call us for a free no-obligation consultation at (703) 591-0067 form on our website to contact us.