Everybody’s human. We all make mistakes — even doctors. And, yes, sometimes even the best ones.
The medical profession requires years of training, so many, in fact, that it’s easy to assume errors are rare. But that’s not the case. According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. More than 250,000 people die every year from them.
A pharmacy technician’s mistake took a one-year-old’s life.
As a medical malpractice lawyer Memphis TN has turned to for 40 years, I have seen how even small mistakes can take lives. Here’s a recent story that’s particularly painful to read about. A little girl named Emily, just a year and a half, was diagnosed with a significant tumor on her abdomen. Her final day of chemotherapy turned out to be one of the last days of her short life. As the article states:
She endured numerous surgeries and rigorous chemotherapy before finally being declared cancer-free. But just to be sure, doctors encouraged Chris and his wife to continue with Emily’s last scheduled chemotherapy session, a three-day treatment that would begin on her second birthday.
On the morning of her final day of treatment, a pharmacy technician prepared the intravenous bag, filling it with more than 20 times the recommended dose of sodium chloride. Within hours Emily was on life support and declared brain dead.
Three days later she was gone.
Medical errors aren’t always the kind that Emily experienced.
Something I’ve seen a lot is how the wrong diagnosis leads to the wrong treatment or procedure, which in turn can be fatal. Here are some factors in a misdiagnosis, some of which could be considered negligence.
Errors in diagnostic tests.
Sometimes, doctors misdiagnose because the diagnosis was grounded in inaccurate results from tests or radiology films. There may be a technical factor for the inaccuracy, like faulty equipment or technology. There could also be a human error at play, such as contaminated or swapped samples, or even just an incorrect read of the results.
Shorter, or rushed, time with patients.
Many of us have experienced it firsthand. The increasingly rushed pace of doctor’s appointments, that is. In a survey of more than a thousand doctors on the Athena Health network in 2017, 6 of 10 claimed that the time spent with patients was insufficient for effective treatment.
When there is limited time with individual patients, doctors are often unable to accurately assess symptoms. The quality of time spent with patients is also at play; many doctors are frequently interrupted, depending of their area of practice, which also makes it difficult to get an accurate read.
Get help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney Memphis TN trusts.
As I said before, errors, including misdiagnoses, are serious. They can be fatal. And when doctors make mistakes, patients could be entitled to compensation for the damages.
Even good doctors make errors. But if the physician failed to live up to the standard of care, you could have a case. Medical malpractice cases are almost always complicated. It’s important to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney Memphis TN trusts.
If you or a loved one experienced medical malpractice, we can help. Call (901) 327-2100 or contact us here.