Reasons for Wrongful Death Suits Against Doctors and Hospitals

Wrongful Death Attorney

If a loved one dies due to negligent treatment that he or she received at a hospital, family members may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the treating physician and, in some instances, the facility itself. However, it is important to remember that just because a death occurs at a hospital doesn’t mean that negligence or malpractice took place or that the death was wrongful. Sometimes death is the outcome of even the most comprehensive care by the most conscientious medical staff. However, if you have reason to believe that a health care professional made a mistake in treating a loved one that resulted in his or her death, you may have grounds to bring a wrongful death action.

Difference Between Wrongful Death and Malpractice

Medical malpractice means that a health care professional, whether a doctor, nurse, radiologist, pharmacist, etc., made a mistake or acted negligently in the care of a patient, and the patient suffered harm as a result. However, the harm does not necessarily have to be fatal to qualify as malpractice. If the harm a patient suffered as a result of malpractice caused his or her death, then a wrongful death suit is a legal option available to the survivors.

Causes of Wrongful Death Related to Health Care

There’s no limit to the potential mistakes that could lead to a patient’s death at the hands of a doctor or hospital, but some may be more common than others:

  1. Wrong Diagnoses

Sometimes a doctor may fail to recognize a disease or diagnose it incorrectly as something else. An example would be a malignant tumor that the physician diagnoses as benign. If a doctor fails to diagnosis a life-threatening condition in time, the disease could progress too far for treatment before he or she makes the correct diagnosis.

  1. Surgical Errors

Sometimes a surgeon performs the wrong procedure, or the right procedure in the wrong location. If the surgery affects an otherwise healthy vital organ, death can result. These mistakes are known as “never events” because they should never happen at all. Though rare, however, these mistakes happen much more often than they should.

  1. Medication Errors

Medication errors can take several forms. A doctor may prescribe an incorrect dose of medication, a nurse may administer an incorrect dose, or a pharmacist may fill the prescription incorrectly. In any case, excessive amounts of the medication can lead to overdose, while insufficient doses will not be effective at treating the disease.

While doctors’ liability may be fairly straightforward, certain conditions must be met before hospitals can be held liable. For more information, contact our office.

Resource: Charlottesville, VA Wrongful Death Attorney, MartinWren, P.C.

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