Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, other medical professional, or institution fails to provide proper treatment to a patient, resulting in serious injury, illness, or death. The majority of medical malpractice cases are based in negligence with an alarming number of people killed or injured due to hospital and doctor negligence each year. Research conducted by Harvard University has estimated that about 800,000 patients are affected by misdiagnosis annually.
Data from the 2021 Medscape Malpractice Report identified that the leading cause of malpractice claims was misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose at 31% of surveyed cases, followed closely by surgical errors at 29%.
What are Examples of Medical Malpractice?
While medical malpractice can take place at any point during a patient’s diagnosis or treatment, some forms of negligence are more common than others. Some errors also have the potential to pose greater threats to a patient’s well-being or cause more significant injury.
The team of record-setting top medical malpractice attorneys at Clifford Law Offices has experience handling a wide range of cases and is recognized for securing record verdicts and settlements for patients and their families who have suffered injury or loss of life. Below are some examples of medical malpractice cases that the firm has handled.
Birth injuries occur when a doctor or another practitioner fails to provide the proper level of care during the childbirth process, injuring or killing the infant. Common birth injuries involve misuse of forceps, delayed C-section, oxygen deprivation, or failure to recognize fetal distress. These forms of procedural negligence can lead to cerebral palsy, brain damage, brachial plexus injuries, and head trauma, among other conditions.
Birth injuries are not limited to the infant. The Wall Street Journal revealed a significant rise in the number of maternal deaths during or after pregnancy despite twenty-first-century medical advances in women’s health. Deaths rose 40% from 861 in 2020 to 1,205 in 2021. The number of deaths in 2019 was 754, according to the CDC, and are typically related to the quality of care women receive before, during, and after the birth process.
In November 2019, Keith A. Hebeisen, Bradley M. Cosgrove, Sarah F. King, and Charles R. Haskins of Clifford Law Offices’ medical malpractice team achieved a record $101 million verdict on behalf of a baby boy who was brain-damaged at birth when his external fetal monitoring strips were ignored for six hours. Experts on behalf of the plaintiff testified that he would have been born a normal baby if hospital nurses and other medical personnel had delivered him by an emergency C-section before he experienced a severe loss of oxygen.
In November 2022, partners Robert A. Clifford, Keith A. Hebeisen, Susan A. Capra, and Sarah F. King obtained a $27M settlement for the family of a newborn who suffered permanent injuries, including a skull fracture and brain bleeding during an emergency C-section delivery. In 2023, the same partners obtained a $14.5M settlement for the family of a newborn who suffered permanent injuries, including a skull fracture and brain bleeding as a result of a vaginal forceps delivery.
Missed, Delayed, or Incorrect Diagnosis
As reported above, many misdiagnosis cases involve delayed or incorrect diagnoses. When a medical practitioner fails to recognize key symptoms, misinterprets test results, fails to communicate accurate information in a medical history, or fails to initiate proper treatment they can be held liable in the event of serious injury.
Serious medical conditions that are not treated quickly and effectively can potentially cause significant pain, physical injury, emotional suffering, or even death.
Chicago Law Offices has a track record of success representing victims of missed, delayed, or incorrectly diagnosed medical conditions. In October 2022, partners Bradley M. Cosgrove and Sarah F. King recovered $25 million on behalf of a woman suffering from “Locked-In Syndrome” as a result of negligent treatment by a resident physician and a hospital’s failure to recognize and treat a stroke. That same year, Cosgrove and King, along with attorney Charles R. Haskins, obtained a $20 million settlement on behalf of a 42-year-old man and his spouse for a radiologist’s alleged failure to diagnose a brain aneurysm.
Doctors are responsible for the appropriate care of their patients from preoperative stages throughout surgery and postoperative care. There are a great number of ways that negligence occurs during surgery, including anesthesia errors, operating on the wrong body part, failure to monitor and act in a timely manner to manage vital signs, cutting an artery or nerve, or causing infection.
While some surgical errors involve immediate malpractice such as the amputation of the wrong limb, other negligence and its consequences can often go undetected for a significant amount of time. In cases of infection or untreated illness due to surgery negligence, the longer an issue is left untreated, the more life-threatening it can become.
In 2023, Sarah King obtained a $1.6 million settlement with a central Illinois physician and practice group on behalf of a 68-year-old man for an injury that allegedly occurred during surgery. King also worked alongside partner Keith A. Hebeisen to obtain a $7.4 million settlement on behalf of a 38-year-old man paralyzed from the waist down following a neurosurgeon’s decision to deviate from a spinal cyst drainage procedure without the patient’s consent.
Medical providers are responsible for providing patients with the proper dosage and medication when anesthesia is provided for surgery or ordering other medication. Medication negligence can further medical complications, addiction, and even death.
In July 2023, attorneys Patrick Bradley and Nicholas T. Motherway achieved a $6 million verdict on behalf of a 41-year-old woman who died as a result of opioid addiction from a prescription by a pain management physician.
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, along with partner Shannon P. McNulty, obtained a $16.5 million settlement on behalf of a 69-year-old former coach and high school teacher who was erroneously prescribed an incorrect dosage of long-acting insulin following a heart transplant and suffered hypoglycemia-induced encephalopathy and cognitive diminishment requiring life-long care.
Contact Our Top Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical professionals hold a great responsibility to their patients during all forms of treatment. There are a great number of variables in medical malpractice cases including various forms of negligence, the severity of the injury, and specific laws applying medical malpractice claims. If you believe you or a family member has been severely injured or killed due to medical negligence, the best course of action is to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately.
Clifford Law Offices is home to one of Chicago’s top Medical Malpractice teams that have collectively represented hundreds of individuals and families seeking justice when injured or killed by medical negligence. To learn more about the firm or to schedule a consultation, click here.