A study published in 2013 found that as many as 440,000 patients die each year because of medical malpractice. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counted medical malpractice as a category of mortality, it would be the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
It’s a troubling thought that medical care could actually cause fatal harm, but it’s a reality for a lot of patients and their families. If you lost a loved one, talk to an attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC about filing a claim for wrongful death from medical malpractice – 215-642-2335.
Common Types of Fatal Medical Errors
The following provides a list of some of the most common medical errors that are preventable.
- Treating the wrong patient
- Leaving objects within a patient during surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors – too much or wrong kind
- Wrong side/site operation
- Birth injuries
- Post-surgical monitoring errors
All of the above errors can be fatal, depending upon the patient and the nature of the error. When an error is not fatal, it may lead to long-term adverse conditions for the patient. Some might suffer brain damage, for example.
Why are medical errors so prevalent?
One of the most common causes of medical errors is a simple lack of communication among healthcare providers. Poor communication with the patients they’re responsible for treating can also lead to errors. Using a “timeout” before a surgery, for example, could provide surgeons and their team the opportunity to review the patient chart and surgical needs prior to operating. This could prevent a surgical error like performing the operation on the wrong body part.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality names other factors that can contribute to medical errors.
- Inadequate information flow
- Human problems (poor labeling, sub-optimal documentation)
- Problems with patients like improper patient identification
- Lack of inconsistent training and education
- Staffing patterns
- Technical failures
- Inadequate policies and procedures
Whatever the case, if you want to file a wrongful death claim, you must present evidence that the negligence occurred, that it led to your loved one’s death, and that you and other survivors suffered damages.
When Medical Errors are Fatal, File a Wrongful Death Case
When a medical error related to healthcare provider negligence is fatal, the deceased’s survivors may take legal action to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Pennsylvania law, only the personal representative of the deceased is allowed to file an action for wrongful death. However, the personal representative will file the action on the behalf of the deceased’s descendants.
Below are some of the types of damages that the plaintiff may be able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Compensation for all expenses incurred (medical, burial, estate, etc.)
- Loss of contributions
- Loss of support
- Pecuniary value of services
- Loss of guidance
A lawyer can help you evaluate all of the damages you and other survivors suffered so your claim fully accounts for all of them. This may require certain evidence like financial records or expert testimony, which your attorney can help you secure.
Take Legal Action, Call Cordisco & Saile LLC
Losing a loved one to a medical error is a tragic and unexpected experience. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our wrongful death attorneys can assist you in recovering the damages listed above and will provide you with a legal support system that you can count on throughout the entire process. To speak with us at no cost, call us now at 215-642-2335 or use our contact form.