Indianapolis Hospital Malpractice Lawyer

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When you go to a hospital, you expect that the medical care you receive will make you better. But with multiple health care professionals in hospitals involved in your treatment, the risk of medical error increases. Sometimes, inadequate patient safety procedures cause hospitals to commit serious medical errors and patients are seriously or fatally injured.

A recent report by the Indiana Department of Health said hospitals and surgical centers in Indiana committed

114 serious medical errors in 2014.

It is the highest number of hospital medical errors since the state began reporting the data in 2006.

When the error involves a failure to follow the recognized standard of care, the hospital staff may have committed medical malpractice. But don’t expect a hospital to admit to you that your treatment was substandard, your surgery botched or your diagnosis delayed.

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hospital-malpractice_10The Indianapolis hospital malpractice attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist help families whose loved ones have been injured during hospital visits in Indiana. We work with medical professionals to evaluate instances of hospital malpractice so families may receive answers they can trust.

Unlike many firms, Baker & Gilchrist does not charge for having medical experts review your medical records to identify hospital errors.

Contact Baker & Gilchrist today for a free consultation.With more than 60 years of combined litigation experience, Rex Baker and Caroline A. Gilchrist have the knowledge and skill to hold accountable hospitals that have harmed patients through preventable errors.

 

Can I Sue a Hospital?

Pursuing a hospital malpractice claim in Indiana is challenging and complex and requires an experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorney. It is a time-consuming process that requires commitment to seek justice as well as perseverance, and any lawyer that says otherwise is inexperienced.

As stated in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, a panel of health care providers must review proposed hospital malpractice claims before they can be filed in court.

hospital-malpractice_17The health care panel issues an opinion as to whether the evidence supports the conclusion that the hospital or medical staff failed to follow the appropriate standard of care. This panel’s opinion will be influential in the outcome of pursuing a hospital malpractice lawsuit.

What is Hospital Negligence?

Hospitals and hospital staffs in Indiana are expected to follow the recognized standard of care when treating patients. When a hospital delivers substandard care and a patient suffers a serious injury, that incident may constitute hospital negligence.

While some medical errors are readily apparent, many times a serious hospital error is not immediately obvious. You may have a suspicion that you or your loved one has been harmed by a hospital’s substandard care. In most instances, you will need to have your medical records reviewed by independent medical experts to determine whether a preventable hospital error occurred.

Who Can be Held Liable For Patient Injuries in Hospitals?

Medical errors frequently occur as a result of failures in hospital systems or a lack of safety protocols as much as individual mistakes. Under the legal doctrine Respondeat Superior, a hospital may be held legally liable for a hospital staff member or employee’s negligence in the course of performing their job duties.

hospital-malpractice_21A hospital may be liable for errors committed by a hospital surgeon, emergency room doctors and staff, operating room nurses, hospital x-ray technicians, nurses who make medication administration errors, laboratory technicians, a hospital pharmacist and others.

Common Types of Hospital Negligence

Diagnostic Errors

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Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis represent a significant portion of hospital errors. The failure to order the proper tests may cause a misdiagnosis or delays in making an accurate diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis of Cancer

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Malpractice in the misdiagnosis of cancer may involve failure to order proper tests, failure to evaluate test results, failure to refer the patient to a specialist and failure to identify obvious physical symptoms. The most common types of cancer that are misdiagnosed include colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer. A delay in the diagnosis of cancer may allow the disease to advance and make the condition more difficult to manage.

Never Events

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Certain types of serious hospital errors are totally preventable and should never occur, hence the name. Examples of never events include operating on the wrong body part, performing the wrong procedure on a patient, leaving a surgical tool in a patient or allowing a patient to develop pressure ulcers. Medicare has adopted a policy of refusing to pay for treatment that involves never events to put pressure of hospitals to do more to improve patient safety.

Surgical Errors

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Numerous factors can cause surgical errors including lack of safety protocols before surgery, communication problems between the surgeon and operating room nurses, having more than one surgeon involved, time pressure to finish a surgery and failure to monitor a patient adequately during and after surgery and respond to changes in the patient’s condition.

Wrong Operation

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Surgery on the wrong body part or the wrong person happens all too often because of breakdowns in communication between members of the surgical team. Nearly half of the serious medical errors reported at Indiana hospitals in 2014 involved surgery.
The report by the Indiana Department of Health identified 21 surgeries on the wrong body parts and 4 wrong surgical procedures performed on patients in 2014. The problem is common enough that the federal Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations published a protocol for healthcare providers to follow that includes a “timeout process” to prevent wrong operations and wrong-site surgery. Unfortunately, a fifth of our hospitals have not adopted the protocol.

Retained Surgical Items

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Surgical teams may inadvertently leave a sponge or other surgical tool in a patient, leading to infections that can be serious or fatal. The errors are more common in emergency surgery, unexpected changes in surgical procedure and when surgical teams do not follow the safety protocol of doing item counts.
Retention of foreign objects is one of four most commonly reported serious medical errors, according to the Indiana Department of Health.  Some items are designed and intended to be left during surgery, such as surgical clips, staples, etc.  However, sponges and surgical instruments are not intended to be left.

Emergency Room Errors

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ER errors may be caused by unreasonable delays in seeing a patient, failure to order proper tests, failure to diagnose, lack of monitoring of a patient, or communication breakdowns among staff.

Medication Errors

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Medication errors are among the most common type of malpractice error and a significant cause of preventable injuries and deaths.

Anesthesia Complications

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Any mistake in the dosage or type of anesthesia or the failure to monitor a patient when sedated can cause serious injury and wrongful death. An anesthesiologist may fail to check if a patient has known allergies to a medication or fail to determine if anesthesia will adversely interact with other medications the patient is taking.

Birth Injuries

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The most common preventable errors during delivery are failure to control blood pressure in women who have high blood pressure, failure to monitor vital signs after Cesarean section, hemorrhage after Cesarean section and failure to react to a change in the vital signs of the fetus prior to delivery.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by hospital malpractice, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable Indiana medical malpractice lawyer. Prevention is key in dealing with hospital negligence if you have an upcoming procedure; be sure to check out our resources, including important questions to ask before surgery.

How Hospital Injuries Occur

hospital-malpractice_57Hospital errors frequently occur as a result of failures in hospital systems or lack of safety protocols rather than individual mistakes.

Hospitals may have conditions that contribute to serious errors such as issues with medicine storage, a lack of timeout procedures in operating rooms, inadequate communication and documentation, high staff workloads, or problems with inadequately maintained medical equipment.

How to Seek Justice in an Indiana Hospital Malpractice Case

The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act spells out the procedures to follow if you suspect that you have a hospital malpractice claim or any type of medical malpractice lawsuit. The first step is to obtain your medical records and have medical experts review them and determine whether the hospital or hospital staff involved in your treatment provided substandard care that caused your injury.

hospital-malpractice_61Read further about the steps to file a medical malpractice case in Indiana.

Call an Indianapolis Hospital Negligence Attorney

hospital-malpractice_65The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist stand ready to assist families whose loved one have been harmed during hospital treatment.

We understand Indiana’s complex hospital malpractice laws and the lengthy process to file a medical malpractice lawsuit via the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act and the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. We work in collaboration with doctors and experienced health professionals to evaluate your malpractice injury and build a compelling case.

hospital-malpractice_69Call us today or use our online contact form to have us review your case free of charge.