A well-established finding is that medical errors claim as many as 250,000 deaths every year in the United States. In fact, death by medical errors is nearly as common as death by heart disease and cancer — the top 2 leading causes of death in this country. Notably, it has been estimated that more than 90% of these errors are never reported, which may blur the significance of this problem.
What is undeniable is the impact that not only death, but a permanent injury can have on the outcome and quality of people’s lives as a result of medical negligence. For example, in 2019 an Illinois jury granted a mother a record $101 million after finding a hospital liable for having caused her son severe brain damage at birth. Specifically, the mother reported that she experienced decreased fetal movements upon arriving at the hospital and that it took about 5 hours for the medical staff to flag her symptoms as an emergency, which resulted in severe brain damage to her baby. A medical expert witness indicated that had the nurses and medical staff followed proper procedures, doctors would have been brought in time to deliver the baby by emergency C-section. Other than the pain and suffering that this mother has undergone since the birth of her son, her life and her son’s life have been changed forever in a way that no other parent would ever want to experience. While there is no way to undo the harm been done, through a birth injury lawsuit this mother was able to receive full-time, round-the-clock medical care for his son for the rest of his life.
The first, most critical factor that has to be considered when attempting to uncover whether you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice is assessing whether the clinical outcome was preventable. In the aforementioned malpractice case, for instance, the medical expert witness clarified to the jury that the boy’s resulting brain injury could have been prevented by an emergency C-section. Similarly, if it is not abundantly clear to you whether you or your loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice, seeking a second opinion would be the best starting point. Once you become more educated about your medical circumstances and are able to confirm that your diagnoses were appropriate, then you will be armed with the knowledge you need to consider proceeding legally. Admittedly, filing a lawsuit can seem draining and stressful; however, it is the only surefire way to seek justice and give you and your family a fair chance to moving on on the best possible terms.