When we go to a hospital or medical center, we are very reliant upon the expertise of the staff to provide us with safe care. While physicians may orchestrate the medical care, it is incumbent upon the support staff to carry out the physicians’ orders and provide patients with assistance throughout the course of their admission.
Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice and Negligence? When it’s Time to Talk to a Hospital Injury Lawyer
Every patient deserves to receive medical care in a clean and well-run hospital. However, at some hospitals, there simply is a broken system where errors result in harm to the patient. Examples of systematic hospital errors include:
- Administering the wrong medication
- Performing the wrong medical procedure on a patient
- Allowing bedsores (pressure sores) to develop during an admission
- Failing to follow physician orders
- Using outdated or broken equipment (wheelchairs, beds, tables, etc.)
- Failing to protect patients from physical harm from intruders or staff
- Giving patients the wrong food
If your injuries were a result of systematic errors, you can sue a facility for hospital negligence, which differs from filing a lawsuit against a doctor for medical malpractice for the errors they made.
When can You sue the Hospital? A Hospital Negligence Attorney can Help
In addition to errors due to inadequate hospital policy, the negligence of individual staff members such as nurses and orderlies may cause or contribute to a patient injury. Examples of individual staff negligence that commonly translate into serious injury or death of the patient include:
- Dropping patients
- Failing to provide assistance during transfers into and out of bed
- Improperly drawing blood
- Pushing patients in wheelchairs into walls and elevator doors
Patient Falls in Hospitals and Medical Centers
One of the largest safety issues that hospitals have is preventing patient falls. A study done by the Flex Monitoring Team showed that falls account for 84% of all inpatient incidents, and 30% of these hospital falls are thought to result in serious injuries. These falls happen often due to negligence on the part of the hospital including:
- Inadequate assistance devices for the patient
- Not preparing for medication side effects
- Inattentive or understaffed medical team
Patients who are fall victims in the hospital tend to have longer stays and larger medical bills. The total medical costs are 60% higher for those who have a fall in the hospital, and it is expected that these costs will reach more than $54 billion nationwide!
Hospital Malpractice Awards
$4,250,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This lawsuit illustrates the peril of a busy hospital. Minutes can mean a lifetime and staff need to be on alert at all times. Unfortunately, that was not the case here. The parents of a little boy took him to see the doctors. He was two years old. The hospital was in Palos Park, Illinois. The staff diagnosed him with Croup and discharged him. Yet, a few days, his parents brought him back because he was not getting better. While in the care of the hospital staff, he slipped out of consciousness, stopped breathing, and experienced cardiac arrest. The nurses tried to help but they could not. The doctor did not see the boy for nearly a half hour. He died the next day. His parents sued the hospital and doctor for malpractice. They alleged that their oversight and inadequate service caused his death. They damages for their pain, his pain, and the loss that accompanied all of that. In a private settlement, the family received $4.25 million. The bulk of that came from the hospital. Roughly $750,000 came from the doctor.
$7,000,000 Verdict; Hospital Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The facts of this case were clear. However, fault was much harder to determine and, in the end, had to be decided by a jury. The patient involved was an elderly man with PTSD from prior military service. He was receiving treatment at a local hospital for an unrelated injury. Then, he was discharged and sent via an ambulance back to the nursing home where he was living. The trouble arose during that trip. When the ambulance stopped, he broke out of his restraints and attempted to escape. However, he fell out of the vehicle and sustained a massive brain injury that took his life just hours later. The man’s estate claimed that the hospital did not inform the ambulance staff of his mental state. He was suicidal and suffered other mental conditions which made him dangerous to himself and others. Had they known this, the paramedics could have treated him differently and prevented his death. The hospital claimed that they did tell the ambulance staff about the man’s mental status, but they took no action. In this he-said, she-said, the hospital ultimately lost. They jury forced them to pay a $7 million verdict for the grief, suffering, and lost society that his death caused.
$965,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This case involved the combined malpractice of a nursing home and hospital. The victim was a male in his early sixties. He entered a nursing home in the summer of 2014. At that time, he had no bed sores on his body (also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers). However, it did not take long before they emerged on his body while he stayed at the nursing facility. They got so bad in fact that he had to be taken to the hospital. They formed along the sacral region of his spine. Then, at the hospital, things got worse. Evidently, hospital staff did not heed the warnings or admittance documents from the nursing home. The bed sores reached Stage IV. They needed debridements and reconstructive surgery. The man sued both the nursing home and hospital. He claimed their combined malpractice caused his damages including pain, disfigurement, disability, and large medical bills. The two defendants were able to settle with the man. The nursing home gave him $870,000 in compensation. The hospital gave him $95,000 in compensation.
$6,450,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The hospital in this dispute severely injured one of its patients. The woman was fifty-five when she was admitted for surgery. She needed a pacemaker. After that procedure, she suffering bleeding and other complications. Hospital staff decided to keep her for almost one month for monitoring. Yet, she returned just a few days after they discharged her. She had problems breathing and other troubling symptoms. Then, right after that, she went into shock, had a heart attack, and died. Later, her attorneys discovered that malpractice from the original pacemaker procedure caused all of these issues. She was survived by her husband and four kids. They brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital. They pointed to all of the errors the hospital made and then the ultimate consequence their mom and loved one paid because of them. In a settlement not long after that, the family received $6.45 million in damages from the hospital.
Choose Hospital Negligence Lawyers who Understand Illinois Law
Even if the circumstances regarding a patient’s injury during a hospitalization are unclear, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will investigate the matter and provide you with answers surrounding the incident. Once there is some clarity regarding the facts, we can then work with the hospital’s risk manager on a settlement or proceed to a lawsuit against the medical institution and its employees.
Hospital Injury Lawyers in Chicago who Aren’t Afraid to Fight for Your Rights
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handles hospital negligence cases on a contingency basis in Chicago and other cities within Illinois. While many attorneys understandably shy away from Illinois medical malpractice cases as simply being too difficult and time-consuming, every lawyer in our office has experience both settling and trying medical negligence cases. We are not afraid to go the distance for your case.