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Chicago Illinois medical malpractice lawyersEarlier this year, the BMJ published a frightening and ground-breaking report – medical error, or medical mistakes made during the course of treatment, cause more deaths than traffic accidents, construction accidents, diabetes, and even obesity. In fact, the only cancer and heart disease kill more people each year. Of course, we knew that death caused by medical error was an issue; back in 1998, the Institute of Medicine revealed that as many as 98,000 people died from medical mistakes.

Unfortunately, it would seem that the first report did little to remedy the problem. Now found to be responsible for as many as 251,000 deaths per year – about 700 deaths per day, and around 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States – it would seem that the death toll has been steadily rising by about 15,000 extra deaths each and every year. That should be enough to scare anyone.

Hospitals Talk About Change

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Chicago IL medical malpractice attorneysEach year, more than 200,000 patients die from a preventable medical mistake and as many as four million more experience non-fatal errors that can delay treatment, compromise care, or otherwise put the patient at risk for serious injury or illness. And then there are those who experience willfully malicious acts (such as sexual abuse at the hands of their physician) that may or may not affect treatment or diagnosis but can cause great harm. 

Some incidents may be fairly clear-cut, with substantial evidence indicating negligence or medical malpractice. However, many may lack such evidence and, in some cases, the mistake (or its consequence) may not be immediately evident. For example, a patient who has cancer but is misdiagnosed may not learn until long after the fact. Either way, patients should know when and how to file a complaint against their doctor, should the need arise. 

When to File a Complaint 

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Chicago medical malpractice attorneysSavvy patients might know they need to research their doctor’s history. They may even know where to look. But what they may not realize is that the information provided on bad doctoring practices and the disciplinary actions taken against poor-performing physicians can vary greatly from one state to the next. Consumer Reports and the Informed Patient Institute – both nonprofit organizations dedicated to safety and advocacy – recently examined each state’s medical board website to determine just how complete the information was on the doctors they oversee. Each site was also graded on its ease of use. The results might surprise you. 

Best and Worst State Medical Board Websites 

A good state medical board website will provide patients with clear information regarding whether or not a physician has a complaint pending against them. Other information – such as the nature of that complaint, information indicating a history of drug abuse, and action taken against the physician – should also be included. The site should also be easy to navigate, regardless of whether a patient is looking to file a complaint or simply searching for information about a physician’s disciplinary history. 

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Chicago medical malpractice attorneysThere is a growing problem inside of hospitals, one that most people do not know about and hospitals do not like talking about. It kills more individuals than car accidents, strokes, respiratory disease, diabetes, and suicide. In fact, the only two causes of deaths that trump this issue are cancer and heart disease. This killer is known as the preventable medical error.

Killer Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals

Most people go to the hospital to get better, but each year, 251,000 U.S. citizens die at the hands of the doctors, nurses, and hospitals that are meant to heal them. It is not because their injuries are too severe to treat, or because they are simply too far gone. In fact, a large majority of these patients walk in with relatively minor problems, but because of substandard care, as many as 700 patients per day will never walk out again.  

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Chicago IL medical malpractice attorneysWhen absolutely necessary, amputations can save lives. Then there are other circumstances - a physician removes the wrong limb, performs an amputation on the wrong patient, or creates the need for amputation by failing to treat a patient in a timely manner.  These situations, along with many others, are considered wrongful amputations. If it has happened to you or someone you love, you may be due compensation. Know your rights and what steps you should take to pursue a claim.

Determining if Your Amputation Was Medically Necessary

Though a part of you was taken, and something feels “off” about the situation, you need evidence of a mistake to pursue a wrongful amputation case. Unfortunately, this can often be difficult to obtain. Even if a nurse, physician, surgeon, or other hospital staff was responsible – maybe by incorrectly inserting an IV catheter, accidentally cutting off circulation to a working limb, or failing to notice a loss of blood flow after a trauma – your amputation may be deemed “medically necessary.” Clues held within your medical records may show otherwise. 

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