Archive for the ‘Medical Malpractice Cases’ Category

The Complex Challenges of “Failure to Diagnose” Medical Malpractice Claims

Monday, July 9th, 2012

When a medical professional makes a diagnostic error, the mistake can result in a less optimistic prognosis or even result in shortening of one’s life.  Diagnostic errors by healthcare professionals can lead to ineffective treatment, inappropriate medication and even wrongful death.  Medical malpractice claims based on diagnostic mistakes require an experienced medical malpractice attorney supported by knowledgeable medical experts. These cases typically involve extensive review of medical records including analysis of diagnostic tests.

Although not every misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness necessarily constitutes medical malpractice, this type of omission may be the subject of a medical malpractice lawsuit if your doctor should have reached a proper diagnosis by complying with the standard of care of other similar medical professionals in the community.  More than 120,000 people per year die because of the failure of a medical professional to properly diagnose a medical condition or illness.

These cases require extensive medical knowledge to determine if proper diagnostic procedures were conducted and to identify faulty interpretations of these procedures.  Expert medical opinions also are necessary to establish “causation,” meaning that the delay in diagnosis affected the medical outcome.  The typical harm or injury caused by failure to diagnose a serious illness is either a less positive long-term prognosis or even a reduction in life expectancy.  For example, the failure to properly diagnose a form of cancer may result in a reduced life expectancy for the cancer victim.  We understand that this type of negligent medical care can literally rob a patient of their future and deprive a family of a loved one. Our dedicated and compassionate team works diligently to develop the strongest possible medical malpractice litigation strategy on behalf of those who had a medical condition misdiagnosed, diagnosed in untimely fashion or not diagnosed at all.

Medical malpractice claims based on wrongful diagnosis are extremely complex to litigate.  These cases often depend on highly technical interpretation of various diagnostic procedures, including x-rays, MRIs, CT scans and lab results.  Our Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys work with medical experts, including oncologists, hematologists, cardiologists, pathologists and other medical forensic experts so that we can develop the most persuasive case possible to establish a departure from the appropriate standard of medical care and that the failure caused a worse outcome.

While many types of cancer are highly treatable if detected early, failure to diagnose cancer cases are complicated by the fact that cancer is often fatal even when properly treated.  Sometimes cancer can be diagnosed at very early stages with relatively simple and inexpensive diagnostic procedures including a mammogram for breast cancer or a colonoscopy for colon cancer.  Even if it is established that the a doctor failed to conduct appropriate tests that would have revealed cancer at an earlier stage, medical malpractice carriers will typically argue that the delay in diagnosis did not impact the medical outcome.  This defense essentially amounts to the position that the patient died from the cancer and that the delayed diagnosis did not impact the life expectancy or medical outcome for the cancer victim.

While our experienced Mississippi failure to diagnose medical malpractice attorneys know that we cannot give you back your health or the life of a loved one that has been lost, we can help you obtain compensation so that you can obtain the best possible medical care and provide for the future of your family.  It is tragic when a medical diagnostic mistake is made because a medical professional fails to order appropriate diagnostic screening or misinterprets test results.  Our committed team of Mississippi wrongful diagnosis attorneys along with our knowledgeable team of medical experts engages in thorough analysis of medical records and diagnostic tests so that we can prepare a compelling and clear legal position and provide the most persuasive presentation to a judge or jury.



Surgical Errors and Hospital Errors Can Have Life-Changing Consequences

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Many people throughout Mississippi place their faith in surgical teams and hospitals on a daily basis.  Surgical patients presume that their surgeon and the rest of their medical team will exercise a high level of skill and expertise.  However, surgical mistakes and infections are much more common than most surgical patients realize.  Although there have  been focused efforts to reduce  the number of surgical errors in recent years, surgical mistakes and infections in and out of the operating room remain a serious problem.  According to the Archives of Surgery, there are 5 to 10 surgical errors throughout the United States every day.

When you or someone you love is the victim of a surgical error or surgical infection, the surgical mistake can have a devastating impact on the quality of your life.  Serious medical errors can result in permanent debilitating injuries or even wrongful death.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys understand the potentially devastating impact of suffering a serious injury caused by surgical errors and provide innovative litigation strategies and persuasive courtroom advocacy on behalf of the victims of negligent surgical procedures.  If the surgeon or other member of the surgical team causes your injury because of medical negligence, you may have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.

Because there are usually multiple members of the surgical team, there are many types of negligent conduct that may be the basis for medical malpractice claims during a surgical procedure. Some of the most common types of surgical mistakes include the following:

  • Anesthesia Mistakes: Most surgical procedures require some form of anesthesia.  When general anesthesia is used, the process of administering anesthesia can be the most dangerous aspect of a surgical procedure.  An anesthesiologist is charged with carefully monitoring a patient to ensure that the patient is not given too much or insufficient anesthesia.
  • Wrong Site/Patient Surgery: This occurs when surgery is performed on the wrong part of the body or the wrong patient.  This type of error is not nearly as rare as many might presume with recent industry data indicating that this type of error accounts for 13 percent of all medical mistakes.
  • Improper Delegation: When a surgeon assigns or delegates a portion of the surgery to another member of the medical team, the surgeon remains responsible for any surgical errors or mistakes.
  • Unnecessary Surgical Procedures: These involve billing and performing surgeries for which there is no legitimate medical basis.  An example might include a surgical removal of the colon when there has been no diagnostic result justifying such a procedure.
  • Lack of Prompt Recognition of Errors: Although any surgical mistake poses potential dangers to the patient, sometimes promptly addresses the mistake can prevent or mitigate any serious damage.  When the surgeon fails to promptly identify and correct the mistake, this failure can result in even more serious injuries.
  • Substandard Medical Techniques: This may involve inadvertently severing an artery or leaving behind a sponge when closing up a surgical incision.
  • Surgical Infection: When a sponge or other items is left in the body following a surgical procedure or a surgical incision site is not treated properly, it can result in potentially fatal infection.
  • Failure to Perform Surgery: Surgery often is essential to treat a particular medical condition but attending nurses will fail to let the surgeon know about critical changes in a patient’s condition, or the surgeon is unavailable when summoned to perform the surgery.

When you need a surgical procedure, you must rely on the professional skill and expertise of your surgeon and surgical team.  Sometimes surgical mistakes are a product of the failure of members of the surgical team to communicate effectively in the operating room.  The surgeon sets the tone for communication in an operating room and is responsible for promoting open communication that reduces the likelihood of surgical mistakes.  When a surgical team makes a critical mistake like amputating the wrong limb or subjecting you to an unnecessary surgery, it can mean excruciating unnecessary pain, revisionary surgery, disability from employment and impairment of a patient’s enjoyment of life along with other potential costs.

If you or your loved one suffers serious injury or a close family member dies because of a surgical errors, you may be entitled to the compensation necessary to move past your injuries.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Medical Malpractice a Common Cause of Cerebral Palsy

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

There is no greater tragedy for a parent than having one’s child suffer a significant debilitating injury.  If this serious injury occurs at birth, it can mean a lifetime of physical, financial and emotional obstacles for the child and enormous medical and long-term care costs for the parents of the child.  If a child suffers a serious mentally or physically debilitating birth injury, the immediate concern of parents is typically for the medical and rehabilitative needs of their child.  However, an injury suffered in birth can result in a lifetime of astronomical medical expenses because lifetime supportive care may be necessary.  The estimated average cost of medical expenses and supportive care for a child with cerebral palsy over the child’s lifetime exceeds $3,000,000.

At the Mississippi cerebral palsy law firm of Barrett Law, we understand the tragic consequences when a child suffers a serous birth injury like cerebral palsy.  We are committed to seeking the substantial recovery necessary for families to care for a child with cerebral palsy and to provide for the highest standard of living and greatest independence for a cerebral palsy victim.  Our experienced Mississippi medical malpractice birth injury team works closely with medical experts to provide a thorough analysis and explanation of medical errors and their relationship to long-term serious injuries like cerebral palsy

It is estimated that there are currently in excess of 800,000 people afflicted with cerebral palsy in the United States.  Another 10,000 babies per year are born with cerebral palsy.  Cerebral palsy is often caused by damage to the cerebrum area of the brain.  The cerebrum controls higher level mental functioning, sensation and motor skills.  Damage suffered to the cerebrum may cause impairment of the brain’s control of posture and movement and can also impact nerve functioning throughout the body.  Approximately 66 percent of babies born with cerebral palsy will suffer diminished mental functioning.

A common cause of cerebral palsy is trauma or injury to the brain that may occur during child birth or immediately before or after child birth.  While medical negligence is not the exclusive cause of this debilitating condition, many times it is caused by negligence by a health care provider or hospital.  A common situation that causes cerebral palsy involves disruption of oxygen to the brain, which is called “hypoxia,” and is sometimes caused by the umbilical cord becoming wrapped around the baby’ s neck.  Cerebral palsy may also be caused by the baby suffering head trauma during the delivery process.  An expectant mother also should carefully read all drug labeling and consult her physician because some drugs can also cause cerebral palsy.  Other causes that have been linked to the development of cerebral palsy include jaundice and infection during pregnancy.   Approximately, fifty percent of all cerebral palsy cases are caused by medical malpractice.

Many cerebral palsy victims require medical devices for mobility including wheel chairs or braces to assist with walking.  Approximately seventy percent of those afflicted with cerebral palsy suffer some form of disability often including impairment of mental functions.  The emotional and financial challenges that confront a child born with cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice can be overwhelming.  Tragically, birth injuries like cerebral palsy are often the result of preventable medical errors committed by physicians and other medical professionals.

Our tenacious Mississippi cerebral palsy attorneys offer effective medical malpractice representation to those who suffer serious birth injuries throughout Mississippi.  Given the enormous damages that are common when a child suffers a birth injury like cerebral palsy, medical malpractice carriers vigorously defend these cases.  Our experienced cerebral palsy lawyers carefully investigate the medical evidence, including medical records to develop the strongest position for negotiation and litigation of your Mississippi cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim.

If your child suffers a serious birth injury like cerebral palsy, you and your child may be entitled to the compensation necessary to provide your child with the highest quality of life despite your child’s injuries.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Medical Errors Are a Common Cause of Wrongful Death

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Although most patients believe medical malpractice is a relatively rare event, it is a leading cause of wrongful death. It has been estimated that medical malpractice claims the lives of a quarter of a million people per year.  When you lose a loved one to wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, you must cope with your grief while also feeling the financial pressure from medical, funeral and burial costs combined with the potential of lost household income.  A family that is dealing with the emotional and financial challenges of the loss of a family breadwinner may find the prospect of dealing with the legal obstacles associated with a medical malpractice wrongful death case overwhelming.

The experienced Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers at Barrett Law understand the unique challenges associated with a wrongful death lawsuit that arises out of medical malpractice committed by a doctor, surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist or other health care professional.  Our experienced team of Mississippi wrongful death medical malpractice attorneys works with nationally regarded medical experts and investigators to build persuasive and effective medical malpractice wrongful death cases.  These medical experts along with effective litigation technology allow us to construct and present compelling cases to establish substandard medical care by a doctor or other health care professional and a causal link between the negligent care and your injuries.

Some of the most common forms of medical negligence that may result in a wrongful death include the following:

  • Birth injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Errors involving medications
  • Failure to diagnose life-threatening conditions
  • Mistakes in emergency rooms
  • Failure to properly prevent or treat infection
  • Anesthesia errors

When your loved one seeks the care of medical professionals, you normally expect that they will receive competent medical care based on established standards of medical professionalism.  When a loved one receives substandard medical care that actually results in the death of a loved one, the emotional toll can be devastating.  While we handle malpractice associated with many types of medical procedures and medical conditions, some of the common types of malpractice claims we handle include:

  • Gastric bypass malpractice
  • Orthopedic malpractice
  • Neurosurgical malpractice
  • Aortic aneurysm malpractice
  • Nursing home malpractice
  • Emergency room malpractice
  • Prescription drug malpractice
  • Kaiser medical malpractice
  • Deep vein thrombosis malpractice
  • Treatment or diagnosis of cancer malpractice
  • Cardiac or heart attack malpractice

These are merely a few types of medical malpractice cases that our experienced Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers handle for patients who suffer wrongful death caused by medical negligence. A Mississippi medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit is comprised of two separate claims: (1) a survival action brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate and (2) a wrongful death claim for your damages suffered as a relative of the decedent.   If your loved one has died as a result of medical malpractice, we may be able to help you seek a wide range of damages.

Damages for Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim

  • Financial support lost
  • Loss of intimate sexual relationship
  • Loss of training and guidance
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Reasonable value of lost household services
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, care and moral support

Damages for Medical Malpractice Survival Action Claim

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Punitive damages (e.g. doctor botches operation while intoxicated)

Our experienced and compassionate team of Mississippi medical malpractice wrongful death attorneys carefully analyze  medical records, locate appropriate medical experts and deal effectively with the lawyers and medical malpractice carriers that represent medical professionals including doctors and hospitals.  Our experienced Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys have spent many years developing a network of medical experts that we can use to verify standards of treatment and confirm the causal connection between a medical error and a wrongful death.   At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Anesthesia Error Resulting in Serious Injury Often the Basis of Mississippi Medical Malpractice Claims

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

When one seeks medical services from any professional medical service provider, it is reasonable to expect a high quality of care.  Tragically, over 200,000 patients per year are the victim of a medical error or omission by an anesthesiologist.  A medical error involving anesthesia can result in serious injuries including brain damage and even wrongful death.  Injuries caused by anesthesia errors typically involve administering an incorrect dose or an overdose.

When a person undergoes a surgical procedure, the process will often entail one of several forms of anesthesia.  The type of anesthesia that poses the greatest risk is general anesthesia.  When general anesthesia is employed, the patient typically will be unconscious or semi-conscious and will not remember what occurred during the procedure.  The use of general anesthesia always involves a certain degree or risk and as many as 1 in 200,000 patients are killed by general anesthesia each year.  Many times during a surgical procedure the surgical team needs the patient to remain conscious so regional or local anesthesia is utilized.  Regional anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia and usually numbs an entire portion of the patient’s body.  Local anesthesia is used when only a small area needs to be numbed.

While anesthesia errors can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common cause is some form of professional negligence.  If serious injury or wrongful death that is caused by anesthesia could have been prevented by conforming to the standard of care that would be ordinarily exercised by other anesthesiologist in the region, patients that suffer serious injury or death caused by an anesthesia error or omission may have the right to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice to recover damages, including medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, impairment of quality of life and marital relationship and other damages depending on the specific circumstances of your medical malpractice claim.

The most common forms of medical malpractice involving anesthesia include the following:

Dosage Errors:  This type of error involves administering too much or not enough anesthesia.  Sometimes these errors are a result of improper labeling of the anesthesia.

Failure to Adequately Review Medical History: Some patients have specific issues in their medical background that must be evaluated when using anesthesia, such as past heart conditions including heart attacks.  An anesthesiologist must be aware of this type of medical issue when administering anesthesia.

Lack of Monitoring: Because there is inherent risk associated with the administering of anesthesia, it is imperative that patients who are receiving anesthesia be constantly monitored.  The anesthesiologist is expected to monitor a patient’s level of consciousness and watch for any distress.

Failure to Properly Intubate: Intubation is necessary when general anesthesia is used because anesthesia paralyzes the diaphragm, which makes it necessary to use a ventilator for breathing.  When mistakes are made during the intubation procedure or the anesthesiologist fails to intubate the patient, serious damage can occur including brain damage or death due to oxygen deprivation.

Anesthesia Awareness: This is a particularly horrific form of medical malpractice where the patient is not given sufficient anesthesia.  The patient may be aware of pain but unable to communicate during the procedure.  A patient who is subjected to this type of medical malpractice may suffer the excruciating pain of surgery without the benefit of being numb or unconscious.

Other errors or omissions that may form a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit against an anesthesiologist include:

  • Improper administration of oxygen during surgery
  • Administering anesthesia while under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Use of medical equipment that is defective or improperly maintained
  • Permitting inappropriate proximity between hot  medical equipment and oxygen

These are a few of the types of medical mistakes that an anesthesiologist may make, which may provide a basis to pursue a legal claim for medical malpractice in Mississippi.  Litigation of a medical malpractice case involving anesthesia error requires use of medical experts and extensive resources.  Our Mississippi anesthesia error lawyers will carefully evaluate your medical history, the details of the medical procedure, potential issues involving those on the medical team and other facts to develop the most persuasive anesthesia malpractice litigation strategy on behalf of our clients.

There are many types of mishaps and injuries that can occur when anesthesia is being administered during a medical procedure.  Some of the most common or serious types of injuries include:

  • Cardiovascular injuries (heart attack/stroke)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI) that may impair sensation and movement
  • Other impairment of bodily functions
  • Coma
  • Asphyxia
  • Injury to the trachea caused by intubation
  • Wrongful death

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Communication Technology in Operating Rooms: Useful Tool or Dangerous Distraction

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

While there has been substantial media coverage regarding distracted driving, there is another dangerous activity that can result in serious injury when someone is not paying full attention that has received far less publicity.  The activity is distracted surgery.  Although you may find it hard to believe that a surgeon in a hospital operating room would permit oneself to be distracted while performing surgery, this is an increasing problem resulting in both serious injury and even wrongful death according to a growing number of studies and pending lawsuits.

One recent example involves a Colorado surgeon who settled a medical malpractice lawsuit that involved serious injuries caused by a distracted physician.  The lawsuit alleged that the neurosurgeon made ten personal and business cell phone calls during the surgical procedure.  The patient was partially paralyzed during the operation.  The lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount.  There are an increasing number of medical professionals that are multi-tasking, such as emailing, texting and posting to social networks while performing medical examinations and procedures.  Some of the reports of this dangerous form of multi-tasking come from doctors and other medical staff.

Although portable electronic devices may serve legitimate functions during a medical procedure, including performing medical research like access to information about drugs or case studies, the presence of these devices creates a temptation to use them for illegitimate purposes that leads to doctors and support staff having their attention divided.  Fifty percent of all heart monitoring technicians engaged in monitoring heart bypass machines admitted to talking on cell phones during heart bypass surgery according to a study published in the heart surgery medical journal Perfusion.  The results are even more concerning because forty percent of those who engaged in this practice admit knowing it is wrong.

The problem is expected to get worse before it gets better.  Doctors are increasingly using communication technology, which can improve access to information and patient care that may also lead to distractions that can result in medical mistakes.  If a doctor fails to provide medical care that meets established professional standards for the medical specialty and geographic location, an injured patient may have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim to obtain reasonable compensation.  While hospitals that employ doctors may also be liable for such injuries, the doctor may only have privileges in the hospital complicating attempts to obtain fair compensation for one’s injuries.

If you or someone close to you have been injured by medical malpractice by a distracted surgeon or other medical professional, our experienced Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers at Barrett Law may be able to represent you in a Mississippi medical malpractice lawsuit.  The experienced Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to medical malpractice victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.