Millions of Americans trust doctors and healthcare professionals to provide them with quality care and treatment. So what happens if something goes wrong? Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes harm to their patients because of their negligent actions. This can cause their patients to potentially suffer harmful side effects or injuries and, in some cases, the healthcare professional’s error could cost the patient their life. According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people die each year from medical malpractice, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
If a patient dies as a result of their physician’s negligent error, the family is able to file a wrongful death claim. This error falls under the “medical malpractice” umbrella if the healthcare professional has deviated from the medical standard when providing care or treatment. This could come about in several ways:
- Incorrect Diagnosis: An accurate diagnosis is imperative for correct treatment. Because of this, even a slight diagnostic error could result in severe injury or even death. These errors could include incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inaction regarding test results, and failure to use up-to-date or correct testing.
- Incorrect Treatment: Even if the diagnosis is correct, the patient is still at risk of medical malpractice within the performed or suggested treatment. This could occur in the operating room if the patient becomes a victim of a botched operation. It could also occur once the patient has left the hospital, especially if the prescribed medication is incorrect. More than half of medical malpractice-linked deaths each year are due to incorrect medication.
- Hospital Negligence: Sometimes negligence falls on the healthcare facility, especially in cases regarding unsanitary hospital conditions or inadequate staff members. Since so many infections and diseases pass through the doors every minute, the facility is responsible for maintaining a consistent level of cleanliness and sanitation. Without this, these infections could spread to other patients, potentially resulting in death in high-risk cases. These high-risk patients include those on antibiotics, those recovering from surgery, and those on ventilation.
If your loved one has passed away due to negligence and medical malpractice, you should consider filing a wrongful death claim. These lawsuits are in place to try and provide some sort of compensation to the family after the loss of their loved one. The family could also potentially receive survivor action damages — compensation the deceased might have claimed if they had survived. While nothing can truly take away the pain of losing a loved one, seeking out a wrongful death lawyer could help provide closure and financial security throughout a difficult time.