If you or someone you love has received inadequate care from a staff member at Bridgeport Hospital or another medical facility in Connecticut, you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a hospital malpractice claim. To find out if you qualify to file a claim, contact a Bridgeport hospital malpractice lawyer at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today.
In a February 2011 report, the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) published a report entitled “Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights.” In its section on Civil Justice and Patient Safety, the report says that “Hospitals, such as Connecticut’s Bridgeport Hospital, have reformed dangerous practices because of litigation. In some cases, entire medical fields have been transformed.”
Regarding Bridgeport Hospital, the report said that in the late 1990s hospital administrators, partly to save money, ignored a “rash of infections caused by unsanitary conditions.” An outbreak of staphylococcus caused a number of deaths. Lawsuits were filed that revealed numerous dangerous hospital practices, including:
The lawsuits and the discoveries of unsafe practices prompted Bridgeport Hospital to begin a transformation. A few of the improvements that reduced a 22 percent infection rate in cardiac patients to almost zero included:
In its conclusion the report said that, “The accountability promoted by the civil justice system is the engine of patient safety.” The report held that accountability is central to increasing patient safety and lowering health care costs.
Our legal team offers years of experience in virtually every aspect of hospital malpractice litigation. We routinely represent clients with respect to “common” types of malpractice claims; yet, we also handle many unique and rare cases. Below are some things to consider regarding some of the more prevalent instances of hospital malpractice.
When doctors and medical care providers treat patients, they undertake an enormous medical, ethical, and legal responsibility to adhere to an appropriate “medical standard of care.” Essentially, this means that the medical community as a whole has concluded what medical measures and treatment are appropriate (i.e., reasonable) for a given medical condition. This does not mean that each and every doctor must treat every single patient with the same condition in the exact same way. It does mean, however, that in order to avoid potential malpractice claims, medical personnel must act and treat their patients with reasonable skill and care.
In other words, this is a complicated way of saying that doctors within the same general geographic location should treat patients with similar conditions in a similar manner.
This duty is critically important for surgeons and surgical staff. A patient’s life is literally in the hands of the surgeon performing an operation, no matter how minor the procedure. Therefore, when a surgical provider fails to act in accordance with the appropriate medical standard of care and injury results, hospital malpractice may have taken place.
Some diseases and conditions are very difficult to diagnose – regardless of the specialized training and experience of the treating physician. Further complicating the diagnosis process is the fact that many signs and symptoms are common to a number of different conditions (i.e., abnormal blood test results could mean any number of issues).
It is important to note, therefore, that no doctor is absolutely perfect; nor is perfection expected in order to avoid a malpractice lawsuit. Doctors are, however, expected to adhere to the proper medical standard of care. And it is when doctors and healthcare providers fail to meet those standards that medical errors may result.
While a doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition or a wrongful diagnosis does not necessarily rise to the level of medical malpractice, the resulting aftermath might be cause for action. Specifically, if an improper or missed diagnosis results in lack of medical treatment, delayed treatment, or improper treatment which then directly results in the worsening of a patient’s disease or condition, a lawsuit may be appropriate.
A doctor may be liable for malpractice if he or she commits a medication or prescription error that results in medical negligence. Examples of this type of mistake include the prescription or administration of incompatible or inappropriate drugs to patients (e.g., ordering drugs that negatively interact with each other; prescribing drugs that the doctor knows or should know the patient is allergic to, etc.) Like all malpractice cases, a medication prescriber’s decisions are measured against healthcare providers in a similarly situated scenario.
Pharmacies may also be subject to medication error lawsuits.
In addition to identifying the appropriate standard of medical care that applies, plaintiffs also must demonstrate successfully that the prescriber failed to adhere to that standard of care. Moreover, in any malpractice case, a plaintiff must show that the medication/prescription error directly caused injuries (such as new health problems or the worsening of existing health problems).
Hospital malpractice resulting from anesthesia errors is essentially a subset of surgical negligence. Almost all medical procedures – from a simple stitch to an organ transplant, and everything in between – require the administration of some form of anesthesia. Whether a simple numbing spray, a spinal epidural, or an IV anesthetic lasting several hours, the administration of anesthesia comes with inherent risks. Highly trained medical specialists must administer and monitor patients under anesthesia extremely closely. These patients may experience dangerously low blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and shallow breathing.
Unfortunately, anesthesia errors occur all too often. Chaotic operating rooms, stressful situations, and medical complications may create environments where mistakes are made and hospital malpractice results.
A large percentage of hospital malpractice claims arise from injuries that occur during pregnancies and births. These birth-related malpractice cases occur when treating physicians or other medical staff (or the hospital itself): 1) fail to use reasonable care, or 2) the mother is injured during pregnancy or delivery; the child is injured during gestation or delivery; a “wrongful birth” happens (when termination of a pregnancy would have taken place had the parents known of birth defects); or a “wrongful pregnancy” happens (failed attempts to prevent or end a pregnancy).
There are many causes for these types of injuries; and, it should come as no surprise that hospital malpractice insurance rates for obstetricians is exorbitantly expensive. The delivery process alone is physically traumatic to both mother and baby on a number of levels. If the hospital, doctors, and staff do not adhere to a reasonably acceptable standard of medical care, physical and emotional suffering may ensue.
Similar to children, our elders and seniors are some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. In many cases, those in nursing homes are unable to speak for themselves or make their own decisions. They must rely on others to take care of them physically, mentally, and medically. When the actions or inactions of nursing home professionals constitute negligence and even abuse, it may be possible to bring a claim – either individually or on behalf of a family member.
As with other personal injury claims, wrongful death actions may be brought in medical malpractice cases. And, like other types of wrongful death lawsuits, claims based on medical malpractice are often lengthy, complex, and grueling legal battles. With so much riding on the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit, both sides typically go “all in” to try and reach a favorable settlement agreement or court order.
When choosing a Bridgeport hospital malpractice attorney, there is no substitute for experience. The Bridgeport hospital malpractice lawyers and legal team at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC have the experience and resources necessary to go toe to toe the insurance companies of the defendant(s). We have an incredible track record in successfully initiating and resolving these extremely challenging and painful matters for our clients.
To speak with a Bridgeport hospital malpractice lawyer about a possible case of hospital negligence, contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today. Our attorneys are experienced not only in hospital malpractice claims but also with personal injury claims. Call today and schedule a free evaluation of your case.