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Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Hospital errors often lead to death or serious health issues

A surgeon from one of the leading research university hospitals has presented data that lists medical mistakes as the third largest cause of death in this country. He reports that hospital errors and other medical blunders in Illinois and throughout the nation have caused the deaths of 250,000 annually. The surgeon has petitioned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add medical errors to the leading causes of death list. However, the CDC contends that these types of errors are not consistently named on death certificates.

Another board-certified doctor has written a book on malpractice issues and the ways patients are at risk in the health care system. He cites several common errors that patients experience when they have a hospital stay. One error that occurs frequently is having a foreign object remain in a patient's body following a surgical procedure. Items often left inside someone's body include surgical sponges, scissors, clamps and needles. This most often occurs during abdominal surgeries.

Failure to diagnose led to catastrophic results

Many Illinois residents look to their doctors for answers regarding unexplained symptoms. In some cases, a doctor may dismiss a patient's complaints and make a quick diagnosis based on a cursory examination. A patient may challenge that diagnosis when he or she strongly believes there is something else causing the problem. Unfortunately, a young woman in another state was recently correct in her assumption that she had a more serious complication. The doctor's failure to diagnose her condition led to tragic results.

The woman went to a doctor with symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks and crying spells. The doctor diagnosed her with anxiety and did not schedule further testing. After several months, the patient and her mother insisted on more tests. At that time, the woman was diagnosed with Wilson's disease, a condition caused by too much copper accumulating in the body's organs.

Pfaff Admitted to American College of Trial Lawyers

Bruce R. Pfaff, the founding shareholder of Pfaff, Gill & Ports, Ltd., was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers at the 2017 Spring Meeting of the College in Boca Raton, Florida. Fellowship in the College is an invitation-only honor extended to the best the trial bar in the United States and Canada. 

Family member input affects reports of hospital errors

Having a child in the hospital is a traumatic experience for Illinois parents and other family members. Most children's stays are uneventful and patients are released to complete their recoveries at home. However, there are instances when hospital errors are made and patients suffer as a result of the hospital's negligence. Recent research shows that many errors are not documented in hospital records, but have been identified by the parents of the patients.

The parents of hospitalized children were surveyed and asked specifically about adverse events and mistakes. Some examples include adverse reactions to medication or treatment, safety concerns and quality issues. The doctors and nurses who cared for the children were also surveyed, and medical records and incident reports were reviewed. Data showed that the overall rates for adverse events and errors were significantly higher with family members reports.

Experts want to prevent deaths from hospital errors

Hospitals in Illinois and throughout the country serve thousands of patients each day. The majority of patients are treated and released when medical conditions improve. However, some patients die in the hospital due to a variety of reasons. A recent article in a medical journal addresses those deaths that occur as the result of preventable hospital errors.

The number of deaths from medical errors is disputed among experts in the field, with estimates from 25,000 to 200,000 per year. However, patient advocates believe that the number of incidents is underreported and that centralized data is needed. They contend that even the lower number of preventable deaths is not acceptable and steps should be taken to improve the situation.

A Very Nice Settlement and Why Its Terms are Confidential

We recently settled a difficult liability case against a hospital, a medical corporation that employed a neurologist, and other parties. Our client suffered a spinal cord injury. Her future needs will be provided for and she is well pleased with the settlement. Bruce Pfaff, Matt Ports, and the firm's staff worked very hard on the case for years.

Pfaff, Gill & Ports to Chair ABOTA Masters in Trial® Program

Please join us for the ABOTA Masters in Trial program on March 10, 2017 at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. The program includes excellent lawyers, CLE credit,and cocktails to follow. Register online at ABOTAMastersInTrial.org. Online registration is open to new and experienced lawyers until March 6, 2017.

More surgical errors occur with rude or disrespectful doctors

During an operation in Illinois or elsewhere around the country, a surgeon must often make decisions that affect a patient's life. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur during surgery which could result in severe injury or death. Mistakes may occur because a doctor is distracted or debilitated in some way. However, a recent study suggests that a doctor's attitude and personality can affect the number of his or her surgical errors.

The study evaluated the correlation between reports of unprofessional behaviors and surgical outcomes at hospitals throughout the United States. Data showed that surgeons with a higher level of complaints also had 14 percent more patients experience complications after surgery. The study, conducted by a well-known university medical center, included such complications as sepsis, heart problems and stroke in their definition.

Pfaff, Gill & Ports, Ltd.

One East Wacker Drive | Suite 3310 | Chicago, IL 60601 | Phone: 872-225-0195 | Toll Free: 800-721-8055 | Chicago Law Office Map

Latest Awards:

  1. Bruce Pfaff was named one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers Network, 2013. Read More
  2. Matthew Ports was recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer in 2016. Read More
  3. Bruce Pfaff is once again rated among the Top 100 Illinois Lawyers by Super Lawyers. Read More
  4. Bruce Pfaff honored with the 2015 Pursuit of Justice Award by the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section. Read More
  5. Bruce Pfaff honored with the William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award for 2015 for his service and efforts on behalf of the Illinois Trial Lawyer Association's Amicus Curiae Committee. Read More
  6. Michael Gill was recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer for the 8th consecutive year in following practice areas: Plaintiff Medical Malpractice, Products Liability, and Personal Injury. Read More
  7. Super Lawyers named Bruce Pfaff one of Illinois's Top 100 Lawyers for 2015. Read More