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Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Be aware of ambulance diversion

When people have a medical emergency, they would expect an ambulance to take them to the nearest hospital for treatment. However, in the biggest cities in the country, including Chicago, that does not always happen. There is a practice hospitals implement called ambulance diversion. It occurs when a hospital is at capacity, and people at the hospital tell ambulance drivers to take patients elsewhere. It is completely legal, and it can have devastating results. 

A 37-year-old woman who worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin cafeteria began to feel unwell early one morning. She began slurring her words, and her face drooped. She experienced a stroke, and she was only about 350 feet from one of the best stroke centers in the country. However, the ambulance did not take her there. Instead, the ambulance took her to a different hospital three miles away that offered limited stroke services. She died, and it was completely preventable. 

Woman discovers needle left in her spine 15 years later

After surgery, most people expect their bodies to be clear of the problem that triggered the need for surgery. However, when one problem goes away, another may develop when a surgeon leaves behind a foreign object inside the patient's body. This is what happened to one Illinois woman when she discovered she had a piece of a broken needle inside her spine leftover from a C-section 15 years ago.

The woman resides in De Soto, Illinois. She recently filed a lawsuit against the hospital in question. The lawsuit alleges the hospital knew of the error and merely covered it up all these years. The lawsuit states the woman needed to receive spinal anesthesia, but part of the needle broke off. The woman has had to deal with back and leg pain for over a decade, until a CT scan revealed the cause. The problem has only worsened because the needle touches a nerve in the vertebrae leading to the left leg, causing her numbness and distress. The woman seeks out compensation for pain and suffering, because surgery to remove the needle part is too risky now. Any attempt to remove it today could destabilize her entire spine or paralyze her. It is vital for anyone who believes they have suffered medical malpractice to come forward to try to recover damage. 

How often are surgical sponges left inside patients?

When doctors perform surgery, the goal is to fix or repair organs. Occasionally, a transplant is necessary, and surgeons take great care to ensure no unhealthy foreign substances go into the body. However, it is actually quite common for surgeons to leave behind medical tools, particularly surgical sponges, inside patients' bodies. 

One Illinois man discovered this firsthand. He received surgery in 2014, and it was not until much later that he discovered the doctor had left behind a sponge. The man began experiencing symptoms similar to having a fever, such as shortness of breath. There are many other stories similar to this one. It is rare, but it is important to be aware of the dangers so you can take prompt action should it ever happen to you. You should also pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Electronic health records and medical errors

As experts have long argued, communication is a key factor in providing proper medical care. When provider communication breaks down, medical errors ensue, causing injury, and even death.

The advent and increasingly widespread use of electronic health records by providers in Illinois and nationwide has a great potential to improve communication and record-keeping, with a corresponding decrease in medical errors. However, several factors contribute to a situation where EHR implementation has not reached its potential and has even created errors of its own.

Failure to notify physicians of dialysis solution adjustment leads to wrongful death

In a recently reported wrongful death case, one of America's largest kidney dialysis clinics, DaVita, Inc., was found liable for compensatory and punitive damages arising out of the wrongful deaths of patients who suffered fatal cardiac arrests or ischemic strokes after undergoing dialysis with GranuFlo. DaVita used that dialysis solution which has an increased concentration of acetate that converts to bicarbonate in the body. Even though GranuFlo's manufacturer advised DaVita to notify physicians to adjust patient's bicarbonate prescriptions downward when they were undergoing dialysis with GranuFlo, DaVita did not provide the notification, and many physicians did not make necessary adjustments. This case is yet another example of how poor communication inflicts needless injury and death upon patients. Our office has substantial experience with companies that provide dialysis and in issues similar to this. We seek accountability from those whose negligence or recklessness has caused injury or death of your loved one. We are here to help you navigate a difficult time, please contact us at 872-225-0195 or send us a message online for a free consultation. 

Do you drive a Ford or Toyota? Be aware of these recalls

Anyone in Illinois who drivers a Ford F-150 should be aware of a recent recall the manufacturer put out. The company has issued a recall of nearly two million of its pickup trucks due to a seat belt defect. The recall impacts F-150 models produced between 2015 and 2018. The issue at hand relates to a problem with the seat belt pretensioner, which can trigger sparks when deployed. The presence of sparks, in addition to gas emanating from the B-pillar, can result in ignition. As of now, there have been 23 instances of fires breaking out in Ford vehicles, although, thankfully, there are no reports of injuries yet. 

This recall is a result of a nearly year-long investigation after some F-150 owners reported experiencing small interior fires after collisions. It is only recently that the company was able to identify the root cause of the problem. Owners of Ford F-150s should take their vehicles to a local dealership for repairs. Professionals at the dealership will remove the truck's insulation to put heat-resistant tape inside the vehicle. 

Many health care professionals suffering from addiction

One aspect of medical negligence and malpractice involves substance abuse. With the nation trying to recover from the grips of an opioid crisis, many people in Chicago do not realize some of the victims could be the very people they trust for medical care.

Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have high-stress job duties and easy access to medications. The official name for theft of these drugs by medical professionals is "drug diversion." Not only may patients receive inadequate treatment at the hands of drug or alcohol addicted medical staff, they may even become infected by used or compromised needles.

Many recalled vehicles remain on the road

Vehicle recalls happen all the time. One of the most recent and prominent examples is the Takata airbag recall, which impacted around 37 million cars in the United States. This defect has resulted in at least 20 deaths from 2009 to 2017. 

While this recall made headlines, there are plenty of other recalls that go under the radar. It is possible your vehicle was part of a recall, but you have not even realized it yet. It is vital to check in with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from time to time to make sure your automobile was not part of any recalls recently. The organization's website will also contain information about what steps you can take if your vehicle does, in fact, have a defect. 

2 ways to prevent medication errors

You, like many patients in the Chicago area, trust doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals to keep you healthy. When you have ailments or medical conditions that require treatment, prescription meds are one of many medical treatment options that can help you recover and maintain your standard of living. Many people use prescription meds to treat their ailments and for pain relief. 

As much as you trust these professionals, one thing you might not realize is they make mistakes, and they may not inform you of those mistakes until it is too late. If you do not want to end up dealing with the consequences of medication errors, take the following pointers under advisement: 

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