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A study recently conducted by Johns Hopkins University made headlines when it concluded that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States. The study found that 250,000 deaths each year occurred because of fatal medical errors. Of those claims brought against hospitals and physicians, the majority involved patient deaths. According to Chicago-based insurance company, CAN, death claims accounted for 34.3 percent of all claims completed in 2015.

Death claims, however, do not have the highest payout among medical malpractice claims. Instead, claims for brain or neurological damage averaged the highest compensation sum. Medical wrongful death claims were substantially lower in comparison.

When Medical Malpractice Leads to a Death

Medical malpractice causes hundreds of thousands of complications in United States hospitals each year. While most are not life-threatening, there are still a large majority of errors that result in the death of the patient. HealthGrades, the nation’s leading physician and hospital ranking website, concluded that between 2000 and 2002, there were more than 195,000 deaths caused by medical errors – and these errors were preventable. Some even occurred during routine procedures, while others were medication errors.

Types of Medical Errors That Lead to Wrongful Death Claims in Chicago

Any time when a physician or hospital professional makes an error, it could be considered medical malpractice if that error was a breach of the physician’s medical duty. While no amount of money could ever fully compensate a family that has lost a loved one to a medical error, the laws of the state allow the victim’s family to seek compensation from those responsible.

Some common causes of medical malpractice wrongful death claims include:

  • Surgical Errors – Surgical errors can range from accidentally severing nerves, to cutting an artery or valve or even operating on the wrong part of the patient. In some cases, a patient can exsanguinate or go into shock – leading to death.
  • Medication Errors – Pharmaceutical technology was designed to reduce the number of errors seen in terms of medication, but still thousands of people die each year due to preventable medication errors. The most common errors that lead to patient deaths are those of accidental overdoses, prescribing the wrong medication, prescribing medications with harmful side-effects, or dangerous drug interactions.
  • Failing to Diagnose – A physician is supposed to assess a patient’s symptoms, use diagnostic tests, and come to a proper diagnosis so that he or she can treat the patient. Unfortunately, physicians can fail to make the proper diagnosis, and the result can be fatal. Not all misdiagnosis cases are malpractice. Instead, it is only malpractice if the physician failed to perform within his or her duty – such as a physician who failed to perform necessary testing to rule out health concerns.
  • Anesthesia Errors – If a patient is allergic to a medication, he or she could have adverse reactions that may result in death. Other complications during anesthesia can include heart attack, stroke, respiratory arrest, etc. Most of these errors occur when a physician fails to take a proper medical history, or fails to monitor a patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia.

Seeking Relief for Deadly Medical Errors

If you lost a loved one due to a medical error, contact the medical malpractice team at Malman Law today. We can assess your case and determine if your loved one’s death was the result of medical malpractice. If it is, we will aggressively seek compensation from the hospital or physician responsible. Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling 888-307-2051 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.aiopia.org/selection/.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.naopia.com/selection-process.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

    Prospective members of The NTL are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership.

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