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What Are the Leading Causes of Wrongful Death in Hospitals?

When you go to the hospital, you expect that you’ll receive a high standard of care. With all the medical equipment, cutting-edge technology, and trained staff, you expect to be treated to the best of their ability. Yet some who check into the hospital for major and minor illnesses alike never go home.

There are no words for the feeling of losing a loved one to medical negligence. However, it is important that those staying at the hospital and their families know the warning signs and the leading causes of wrongful death in hospitals.

Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis

In some circumstances, a doctor will fail to run tests on a patient presenting symptoms of a serious illness. Without a diagnosis, the condition goes untreated and potentially worsens. This can be especially dangerous after surgery as a doctor might stand back and wait as a patient deteriorates rather than take action and perform diagnostics.

Similarly, a patient could be the victim of a misdiagnosis. This is potentially worse during a hospital stay because treating an incorrect diagnosis not only allows the primary illness to worsen, but the treatment may inadvertently exacerbate symptoms and make the patient’s condition worse. If doctors fail to verify that the condition they are treating exists, they could harm the patient’s health, potentially leading to wrongful death.

Medication Errors

Medication errors can be deadly, especially in hospitals. When you receive a prescription from your primary doctor, it has to be reviewed by your pharmacist who informs you on how to take it and warns of possible side effects. In the hospital, nurses may be responsible for collecting the medication and administering it.

As we described previously, the problem is that many hospital staff have trouble differentiating “look-alike” and “sound-alike” drugs. As with a misdiagnosis, receiving the wrong medication can negatively interact with your illness, potentially making your condition worse. In other cases, an allergic reaction to the incorrect medication can be life-threatening, especially if staff aren’t prepared to respond.

Maternal Birth Injuries

There’s a huge problem in the United States, especially in southern states. Women are dying at an alarming rate due to an increasingly high rate of maternal mortality. At present, Florida has a maternal mortality rate on par with Albania or Iran. New mothers are dying, and the answer why lies with medical negligence.

When doctors fail to monitor the mother’s blood pressure and provide a high standard of prenatal and postnatal care, the mother’s life is at risk. More and more women are dying in childbirth because doctors aren’t monitoring their vitals and taking care of them after delivery. Moreover, this issue disproportionately affects black women, who are twice as likely to die in childbirth as their white neighbors.

Surgical Errors

These are some of the most traumatic causes of wrongful death in a hospital. Even a routine surgery can lead to wrongful death if doctors don’t meet their standard of care in the operating room and aftercare.

Among some of the more common causes of surgical-related deaths are anesthetic errors, unnecessary knicks or improper suturing that lead to leakage or internal bleeding, and postoperative complications.

Any surgery can lead to an inflammation of the whole body, which can exacerbate preexisting conditions. Likewise, infection is a constant concern and has the capacity to be deadlier than the actual surgery, especially if hospital staff fail to identify an infection and the patient becomes septic.

Pursuing Justice

When you go to the hospital, you should receive the best possible medical care. When doctors and hospital staff are negligent, your family has a right to hold them accountable for medical malpractice. However, proving that your loved one died as a direct result of medical negligence is extremely difficult, which is why it’s wise to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

The sooner you hire an attorney, the better your chances of earning justice for the loss of a loved one. While a successful claim can’t undo the damage and heartbreak, it can help you move forward and know that those responsible have been held accountable.

To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney from Gunn Law Group P.A., please call (813) 993-1448 or send us an email.