Patients are often injured as a result of medical negligence—whether on the part of a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, pharmacist, technician, or other health care worker. When a trained medical professional makes a bad judgment call, slip of the hand, medication mistake, or other critical error, life can forever change for the patient who put his life in the hands of a health care professional.
Not only can medical negligence cause a patient to have a longer hospital stay, extra medical bills, more time off work, and the inability to return to his regular routine, but sometimes a medical error can lead to disabling injuries. Sadly, one of the biggest adverse effects of medical negligence is the physical disabilities patients can suffer as a result of a serious medical error.
The Many Disabling Effects of Medical Negligence
Some of the disabling injuries caused by medical malpractice include:
- Birth-related physical injuries. An injury to the mother or child during labor and delivery can lead to a permanent physical injury. For example, an anesthesiologist may have made a critical error in administering the epidural or spinal block, which caused the mother to suffer paralysis of the legs. Or an obstetrician may have been too forceful pulling the baby out of the birth canal and caused the baby to suffer cerebral palsy or a brachial plexus injury such as Erb’s palsy. This can lead to a lifetime of physical challenges, such as the baby being born with a paralyzed arm.
- Amputation. A needless amputation of an arm, hand, finger, leg, or toe can occur when doctors, nurses, or staff at a nursing home facility fail to notice a patient’s serious infection. Although rare, there are also cases where a hospital removes the wrong limb or removes the limb of the wrong patient. An amputation can cause a lifetime of physical scars and emotional wounds.
- Paralysis. A patient may arrive at a hospital on foot, but may leave there in a wheelchair due to paralysis. If a doctor makes a critical error during orthopedic or neurological surgery, a patient may lose the ability to walk or use a specific part of one’s body. Paralysis can also occur as a result of an anesthesiologist’s error or malfunctioning medical equipment. Even the delay of a doctor recognizing signs of a stroke can lead to a patient losing function.
- Vision loss. A critical mistake made during eye surgery can lead to vision loss. This can be the result of damage to the optic nerve or a problem during the course of administrating anesthesia. In rare cases, vision loss can even occur as the result of a mistake made during surgery not involving the eyes. Sadly, a person can wake up from surgery with some form of vision loss or the loss of sight entirely.
There are many other types of physical issues that can occur due to medical malpractice. Unfortunately, any of these serious injuries will typically cause a person to need ongoing medical care or rely on others in their household for support. All too often physical injuries can end up causing a person to learn to function all over again—from learning how to walk again or learning how to take care of himself with a missing limb. As a result, many people who are physically injured need physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and other medical help, which can be expensive.
When a patient suffers any type of disabling physical injury—such as the inability to walk, see, or perform a specific physical function—due to an error made by a medical professional, the injured person should speak with an attorney and seek legal advice about the type of compensation he should receive. Our law firm would be honored to answer your questions and explain to you your rights in a free, no-obligation consultation. Please call us at (703) 591-0067 or Contact Us online and we can help you start the road to seeking justice.