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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Doctor allegedly mistakes heart attack for stomach illness

When hearing about medical malpractice cases, Providence residents probably notice the term “standard of care” being thrown around quite a bit. The standard of care represents universally-accepted protocols in place that have been proven to help doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers to accurately diagnose and treat their patients. These standards have typically been reaffirmed through clinical trials, and providers are expected to adhere to those which apply to their areas of practice. A failure to do so can open a provider up to accusations of negligence.

Such is the charge being thrown at an ER doctor at an Alabama hospital by the wife of a patient that he treated. In a lawsuit filed against the doctor, the woman claims that her husband presented to the ER complaining of chest pain. Yet rather than follow the protocols to rule out a cardiac-related event, the doctor instead diagnosed the man with a stomach illness and sent him home. Her attorneys argue that had the doctor ordered the necessary tests demanded by the standard of care, he would have discovered the man’s heart problems. Instead, his condition went undiagnosed, and he died just four days later.

The reasons behind wrong-site surgeries

Doctors and surgeons are among the most respected working professionals in America, due in large part to dedication they have in mastering their craft. Yet despite all of their education and experience, these men and women are still human, and thus subject to the same errors as anyone else in Providence. Yet that fact still makes it no less shocking to hear of the mistakes made by doctors when treating patients. Among the most difficult to comprehend are cases when doctors perform surgery on the wrong body part.

Those who think such cases are few and far between would be surprised to learn how frequently such errors happen in America’s operating rooms. According to a 2012 study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, cases were surgeons operate on a wrong limb or other body parts occur around 20 times a week, Medical News Today reports. That’s over 1000 events every year.

Surgeon accused of leaving open-heart surgery before it was over

Most people in Providence probably aren’t overly familiar with the healthcare provider hierarchy. Typically, their main concern is that the most qualified provider in the room at the time of their care is the one who is administering treatment. Providers, on the other hand, are well-versed in the standards of care for those areas in which they practice. Thus, they know exactly who and how many need be present at the time of a patient’s procedure in order to be able to respond to sudden changes in the patient’s condition. A failure to meet those staffing requirements could be viewed as surgical malpractice.

The family of a California man is making just such an accusation in a lawsuit they recently filed on his behalf. In their lawsuit, they allege that the doctor who was performing the man’s open-heart surgery left the operating room with the man’s chest still open and while he was still under anesthesia. This left the physician’s assistant assisting with the procedure to close up the opening in the man’s chest without supervision. The man subsequently went into cardiac arrest and was left living in a vegetative state.

Prescription error leads to patient's fatal overdose

Thanks to advances in pharmacological science, people in Providence can combat pain, illness, and infection with remarkable effectiveness. Yet prescription drugs also carry with them the potential to cause untold harm if given in wrong amounts or in combination with other medications. Patients look to their doctors to know what’s best for them when it comes to prescribing them their drugs. Doctors are required to communicate clearly with pharmacists to ensure that their patients are given the right drugs in the right doses. When that chain of communication breaks down, patients pay a high price.

A Texas woman had to pay such a price following a dosage mistake that occurred during her recovery from a routine surgical procedure. After completing her surgery, her doctor wrote out a prescription for 10 mm of potassium phosphate, yet later changed his mind and changed the dosage to 20 mm. Yet instead or writing out a new prescription, he simply wrote over the dosage amount already on the order. When it came time to administer the dosage to the woman during her recovery, the nurse read the dosage as 120 mm, an amount that could easily kill someone. Yet that’s how much the woman was given, and less than five hours later, she died.

Man claims doctors failed to recognize signs of his spinal injury

Often, the accidents that leave Providence residents with severe injuries are the result of their own negligence. Should such injuries require medical treatment, the healthcare providers who provide that treatment are still expected to do so to the best of their abilities. If that expectation is not met, both sides are often left blaming the other for the resulting consequences that accident victims are left to deal with.

A Louisiana man is currently arguing with a local hospital over claims that his delayed treatment resulted in partial paralysis in both his arms and legs. The man was discovered by his neighbors in a ditch after he had crashed his bicycle on the way home after an evening or drinking. He was taken to local hospital for treatment, where he says he complained of a feeling of numbness in his extremities. Despite his complaints, he was discharged from the hospital after the doctors treating him found no evidence of an acute post-traumatic injury. Doctors at another hospital later discovered that he had spinal fracture. In his lawsuit, he claims that the failure to diagnose his injury initially led to his paralysis. The defendants, for their part, claim that the man’s own negligence led to his condition, and furthermore that they advised him to remain at the hospital for observation, but he himself chose to leave.

Multiple defendants named in parent's malpractice lawsuit

Most in Providence hope that when they present to a local hospital or clinic, they’ll receive top-flight care delivered by highly-qualified and competent clinicians. In many cases, those expectations are met. Yet if a medical or surgical error were to occur, people also hope that it would be isolated to only one aspect of their care, and that it wouldn’t be life-threatening. However, sometimes one medical mistake can lead to another, and pretty soon those mistakes start getting compounded to the point of producing a tragic result.

Such is the claim being made by a Pennsylvania couple that is currently suing the providers whose ante- and postpartum negligence led to their baby son’s death. Named in the suit are the initial emergency room doctor who treated her, the two hospitals where she and the baby were treated, and the infusion center that inadvertently administered a tainted blood infusion to the newborn. The family’s alleged ordeal began with the wife was seen in her local emergency room, where it was revealed that her blood pressure was alarmingly high. Yet despite this fact, the ER doctor failed to treat her symptoms, and it took an order from her obstetrician to have her admitted. She was later rushed to the second hospital, where the baby was delivered prematurely via emergency C-section. It was then during his time in that hospital’s NICU that he received the tainted blood infusion, which his parents claim led to his death.

Delayed heart attack treatment allegedly leads to woman's death

While every patient in Providence is different and the way that one responds to the manifestation of an ailment may be unique, there are established standards of care that healthcare providers are expected to follow when patients present to a hospital or clinic. Depending upon the symptoms that patients are showing, providers are expected to assess and prioritize their needs for treatment accordingly. There are some symptoms that could potentially indicate very serious problems. Patients complaining of such symptoms often need to be seen immediately to see if these problems are actually occurring within them.

An alleged heart attack misdiagnosis by a Louisiana hospital’s staff has led a man to sue for medical malpractice following the death of his wife. He contends that she presented to the hospital’s emergency room complaining of severe chest pain. Yet rather than being rushed back to rule out a possible heart attack, she was simply given aspirin and told that she’d have to wait to be treated. In actuality, she was indeed experiencing a heart attack, but was still made to wait for almost six hours before being treated. The lawsuit contends that she ultimately died because she was delayed treatment.

Man loses vision after being given ear drops instead of eye drops

People in Providence rely on the assumption that doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and others operating within the healthcare industry are not only qualified but also competent to perform the work that they are engaged in. After all, these providers are required to certify to the highest degree of safety standards before being allowed to practice. Unfortunately, no amount of schooling, training, or certifications can completely eliminate human error from healthcare. However, there is often a fine line between human error and gross negligence. When a patient’s health hangs in the balance, negligence cannot be tolerated.

Such is the argument being made in a lawsuit filed by a Texas man against a local pharmacy. Documentation shows that when the pharmacy filled the man’s prescription for eye drops, the pharmacist gave him ear drops instead. The man claims that after applying the ear drops to his eyes as he was instructed to do per the directions given by the pharmacy, he felt immediate irritation and pain. Ultimately, the use of the ear drops as eye drops caused him to completely lose vision in his left eye, causing his overall health to further deteriorate.

Lawsuit claims doctors missed signs and symptoms of man's cancer

For many in Providence, finding proof that they or their loves ones were the victims of medical malpractice may seem to be relatively easy. After all, they have the results of the malpractice to show as evidence of its occurrence, and they may also have recollections of even documented proof of the doctor errors that contributed it. Yet actually using that evidence to prove that negligence occurred is another matter entirely. Doctors aren’t often keen on fessing up for their mistakes, and the healthcare industry as a whole is often very protective of its own. Should one choose to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, he or she may find him or herself fighting not just an individual provider, but an entire hospital or clinical network.

A New Mexico woman currently finds herself embroiled in such a fight. Her husband, a renowned Native American activist and former movie actor, died of cancer in 2012. In her lawsuit, the woman alleges that doctors failed to recognize the presence of esophageal cancer in her husband despite his obvious signs of distress, including coughing up blood. Instead, the providers who saw him attributed the symptoms to an enlarged tonsil, apparently ignoring the fact that the man has allegedly had his tonsils removed as a boy. The failure to diagnose the cancer initially led to the disease spreading throughout the rest of his body before it was finally detected.

Long-delayed lawsuit results in multi-million dollar settlement

Medical malpractice lawsuits in Providence can often be very complex. Any number of different factors may cause them to be thrown out, leaving those who were the victims of the alleged malpractice without the means to deal with its consequences. Yet the dismissal of a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean that the matter can’t be revisited. In certain circumstances, a plaintiff may be able to re-file a lawsuit later on should the circumstances surrounding the case change.

Such was the case involving a lawsuit filed by an Ohio woman seeking compensation for the birth injury sustained by her son that left him with lifelong disabilities. In her lawsuit, the woman alleged that while hospitalized during the 24th week of her pregnancy, she expressed to the attending clinicians that she wanted to have the baby delivered via caesarian section. The response she got back was that the baby was healthy and didn’t need to be delivered. Shortly thereafter, however, the baby began to show signs of distress and had to be delivered anyway. It was later revealed that the baby had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage due largely to the delayed delivery.

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Cases of Interest

  • $15.7+ Million - Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
  • $10 Million Settlement - Brain Injury
  • $8.7 Million Verdict - Loss of Limb
  • $5,200,000. - Infant Brain Injury
  • $4,700,000. - Failed Spinal Surgery
  • $4.5 Million - Birth Injury Settlement
  • $4,000,000. - Wrongful Death Verdict For Failure to Diagnose Cancer
  • $3.6 Million Settlement - School Bus Negligence
  • $3,500,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $3,000,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $2,900,000. Settlement - Failure To Properly Treat Eye Cancer
  • $2.65 Million Settlement - Failure to Diagnose Brain Swelling
  • $1,607,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,500,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Treat Infection
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Diagnose Fracture In Cervical Spine
  • $1.2 Million Settlement - Emergency Room Negligence/Wrongful Death
  • $900,000. - Physician Failure To Transfer Child With Life-Threatening Condition to Proper Hospital
  • $850,000. Settlement - Birth Injury
  • $700,000. Settlement - Failure to Advise Patient of Medical Finding
  • $300,000. Verdict - Slip and Fall
  • $375,000 Settlement - Auto Accident
  • $375,000 Settlement - Premises Liability
See all Cases of Interest

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, LTD.

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd. | 199 North Main Street | Providence, RI 02903 | Phone: 401-354-7233 | Toll-Free: 888-876-9415 | Providence Law Office Map

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