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Chicago medical negligence lawyersBeing honest, transparent, and accountable for a medical mistake might be the ethical approach - in fact, this behavior is encouraged by the Code of Medical Ethics, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Unfortunately, not all physicians follow this ethical guideline. Even more concerning the data from a recent study, which revealed that more doctors are willing to cover up a mistake. Why is this becoming a trend, and what does it mean for some of the most vulnerable members of society? The following explains further, and provides some important information for victims of medical error.

Nearly One-Fourth of Doctors Willing to Cover Up a Mistake

More than 7,500 doctors from over 25 specialties were asked one simple question: is it ever okay to cover up a medical mistake. The majority of doctors said no (78 percent), which is a good thing, but seven percent said they would most definitely cover up an error. Another 14 percent said “it depends.” Their stance was often based on the level of harm that the patient had or could experience. This was across all specialties, which includes doctors who treat some of society’s most vulnerable members.

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Chicago medical malpractice lawyersIn a perfect world, patients would be guaranteed high quality medical care. They would not have to worry about receiving the wrong medication or being subjected to the wrong treatment. Conditions would be diagnosed as early as humanly possible, and it would be the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, we do not live in this perfect world. Medical mistakes happen, and the very care that is supposed to heal a patient ends up killing them instead. Cancer and heart disease are missed, causing unnecessary death.

Thankfully, there are things that patients can do to protect themselves. They can be informed and aware of the problems that exist in healthcare industry. They can do research their doctors and care providers to ensure they are being treated by someone who is competent. They can empower themselves and actively participate in the care they receive. The following information can help you do just that.

Understand Your Risk

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Chicago medical malpractice lawyersWhen it comes to strokes, research indicates that the outcome of a patient can improve by as much as 80 percent if they are given prompt and early treatment. Unfortunately, for anywhere between 15,000 and 165,000 Americans per year, such treatment is not received because they are misdiagnosed - often with a condition that is benign in nature. Women, minorities, and younger patients may be at an especially high risk for this potentially deadly medical mistake.

Risk of Misdiagnosis Higher for Certain Stroke Sufferers

Conducted by Johns Hopkins University, one study found that emergency room doctors are as much as 30 percent more likely to overlook the symptoms of a stroke in women and minorities. That risk jumps even higher for patients under the age of 45 who, though less likely to suffer from stroke, are far from immune (about 34 percent of strokes occur in those under age 65).

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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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medical mistakes, doctor malpractice, Chicago personal injury lawyerWhen, in any given city, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of doctors to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one to trust. Most people turn to family or friends for help. Others peruse online reviews and forums. Unfortunately, both methods can put unsuspecting people at risk for serious illness and medical malpractice injury. A recent study provides valuable information how to choose the right doctor and why it matters so much.

Dangerous Doctors and the Damage They Do

Unbeknownst to the general public, there are doctors who are allowed to continue practicing, despite major and sometimes deadly mistakes. Intoxication on the job, removing the wrong body parts during surgery, and physical or sexual abuse are just some of their infractions. Some may be reprimanded through probation or a temporary suspension of their medical license, but after their disciplinary period, many are permitted to return to regular practice. Their patients – who are unable to look up this information because of “privacy rights” – are none the wiser.

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medical malpractice, Chicago personal injury lawyersSince the mid-seventies, tort reformers have put a lot of effort into getting the public to believe that the justice system is broken and that physicians and hospitals are innocent victims who must settle with patients to resolve unfounded claims to avoid ruin. But when you look at the facts, including those recently presented by the Center for Justice & Democracy, it is clear they are anything but. If anything, the evidence indicates that it is patients who are being treated unfairly by the courts.

The Human Impact of Medical Mistakes

Preventable medical errors are now considered to be the third leading cause of death in America, just after heart disease and cancer. Even more patients are seriously injured to the point that their lives are substantially and often irrevocably altered. The problem is so pervasive, in fact, that most Americans will experience a diagnostic error at least once in their life (which is twice as likely to result in death than other medical mistakes), and around half of all surgeries involve an adverse drug event or other medication error.

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high deductible, Chicago medical mistake attorneysThanks to recent U.S. policy changes, more people than ever have affordable health care coverage. Unfortunately, that benefit is extremely limited since many are still stuck on high deductible plans, emergency care only plans, or subpar employer-provided insurance. So, even though many Americans are now protected in the event of an emergency, many still do not have the coverage they need to prevent serious illness. Even more concerning is that, despite the changes, many Americans may still lack the coverage they need to catch a serious condition before it gets out of hand.

What High Deductible Plans Can Mean for Your Health

While most healthy individuals do not have to worry too much about their healthcare coverage, anyone can suddenly find themselves in a situation where quality insurance is necessary. Moreover, many Americans are needing regular medical care for conditions like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart complications much sooner than previous generations. Unfortunately, most people are less likely to seek treatment when they have high deductible insurance coverage. Or, if they do seek treatment, they may be less likely to probe the doctor further if no immediate cause for their symptoms is found.

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America medical errors, Chicago medical malpractice lawyerThe risk of medical errors is a concern for a majority of patients in the United States. According to a Wolters Kluwer Health survey conducted in 2012, 73 percent of patients expressed concern about potential medical errors. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed reported either they or a family member had been a victim of a medical mistake.

Common causes of negligent medical care include:

  • Miscommunication among hospital staff;
  • Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel being in a hurry;
  • Staff fatigue; and
  • Staffing shortages at hospital.

People seeking medical care should feel confidence in doctors and hospitals and their capabilities to provide care in the patient’s best interest. This occurrence of medical misconduct is not acceptable and it is causing Americans to delay necessary medical procedures.  The survey lists almost one in five people rescheduling a procedure to avoid the weekend or end of the week, so that the doctor may be better rested.

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