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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

C-section mistakes and errors

In some cases, women choose to give birth through a c-section, perhaps because they have had one before, and it is safer to do the same procedure again. In other cases, it is medically necessary, as the child cannot be born naturally.

No matter why the woman ends up on the operating table instead of giving birth naturally, she needs to know that she can trust the medical team. This is major surgery. Mistakes can lead to serious complications for her or for the new child.

Did the hospital give you an infection?

You went to the hospital because you value your health and you wanted the assistance of medical professionals. You had minor surgery, and you spent a night in the hospital recovering. You felt fine in the morning and they released you to go home.

A few days later, you don't feel fine anymore. Your condition is just getting worse. A week after your initial discharge date, you're back in the hospital again. This time, you have a serious infection. You feel far worse than you did before the surgery, and you end up needing treatment for weeks to get over it.

The risk of death in a home birth

The idea of a home birth has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Proponents like the idea of staying at home, talking about how hospitals are where sick people go -- not an ideal environment for a newborn baby. They also often enjoy the idea of being in the comfort of their own home during such an ordeal.

Even though those may be valid points to a certain degree, they do tend to overlook one clear fact: Babies are more likely to pass away during birth when it happens at home rather than in the hospital.

Does stress lead to surgical mistakes?

When surgical mistakes happen, both injured parties and medical professionals often find themselves wondering how they could have occurred. How does a doctor with so much training and education make a potentially fatal mistake when it matters most?

One study suggests that stress could play a role in surgical mistakes. Surgeons do not get as much out of their training when they're stressed, and they do not master important skills as quickly.

Mistakes doctors too often make during childbirth

A newborn is very fragile and vulnerable, and it is of the utmost importance that doctors in the delivery room avoid mistakes that could lead to injury. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Doctors are human, they make mistakes and newborns suffer significant injuries as a result.

To help you see how this happens, here are a few examples of common errors:

  • Not properly assessing the situation and the risks when applying pressure, which can lead to bone fractures
  • Using forceps incorrectly when assisting with the delivery
  • Using other tools, such as a vacuum extraction system, carelessly or incorrectly
  • Not performing an emergency c-section when that would have been the proper course of action
  • Not seeing when the newborn is experiencing fetal distress and emergency measures are needed
  • Missing an obvious complication, such as a baby who is in the breech position
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside a patient after a c-section
  • Not cleaning instruments properly, allowing the child or the mother to get an infection
  • Giving the mother an excessive amount of medication, giving her two conflicting medications or accidentally giving her a medication to which she is allergic
  • Not checking up on the child at the proper times after the birth is complete

Explaining why cancer can be misdiagnosed

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is one of the most frightening, stressful and difficult times in a person's life. You might not know what to expect when it comes to treatment, care and other avenues taken by your doctor. But, what if your cancer has been misdiagnosed? How can you spot the signs of a possible misdiagnosis? Let's take a look at those signs in today's post so you know if you have been misdiagnosed.

One of the most common causes of a cancer misdiagnosis is an improperly performed test. If a screening test, such as a colonoscopy, is not done correctly, it will not provide doctors with accurate results that can show if cancer is present in the body.

Erroneous treatment: Were you a victim?

Medical malpractice claims come in many forms and varieties. One type that people don't always think about relates to "erroneous treatment." This happens when a doctor gives a patient the wrong kind of treatment. This might happen as a result of a misdiagnosis or a failed diagnosis. If the errors made by a doctor in these cases would have been obvious to other doctors in the field, then it might be possible for the patient to pursue an erroneous treatment claim.

Fortunately, in most cases of erroneous treatment, no serious harm or injuries occur. But in cases where the patient suffers a serious injury as a result of the wrong treatment, a viable cause of action to pursue financial compensation likely exists. Of course, if the patient also develops injuries because his or her actual condition remains untreated, the patient's personal injury claim needs to address this.

How are damages different in a wrongful death case?

Whenever someone passes away as a result of a doctor's error, the family members of the deceased may have the right to pursue wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim related to medical malpractice, however, is different from a claim related to a car accident, drowning or premises liability incident. That's because of the environment and circumstances that might lead to a malpractice death.

Close family members in medical malpractice wrongful death claims might pursue the following types of damages:

Medical malpractice: What does ‘res ipsa’ mean?

Whenever a personal injury plaintiff files a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, they will be at a severe disadvantage. The treating physician are experienced in all things related to medicine, so they will be particularly skilled at defending their actions in court. Not only that, but the medical provider probably created the very medical records that the plaintiff will use as evidence in his or her case. Physicians are skilled at writing chart notes in a way that reduces the chances that they could be at legal risk later.

This is where the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur could come into play to assist the defendant. In Latin, this legal phrase means "the thing speak for itself." It's common to hear this phrase in English outside of legal contexts even today. This rule implies that plaintiffs only need to reveal the fat that his or her injuries arise as a result of the doctor's negligence.

Hospitals and medication errors

Think about the average hospital with countless patients receiving care at the same time. There are only so many nurses and doctors to go around, and because hospitals are always trying to save money, they're often pushing themselves to get more done with fewer people. As they push the limit of what's possible in this regard, serious errors and mistakes can occur.

One problem that is common in hospitals involves giving the wrong medication to patients. In most cases, this isn't fatal or injurious and nurses or doctors resolve the medication mistake soon enough. In some cases, however, a potentially dangerous medication is given to the wrong person -- perhaps to a patient with an allergy or to a patient who should never take the drug due to the possibility of a negative reaction.

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