Health care institutions have one primary goal, inherent in their name: to care for the health of others. Typically, hospitals and other such institutions do a fine job at upholding this duty. However, it still is too often that they fail to do so — causing serious trauma and even death. When you go to a hospital, you should feel confident that you will be receiving the best care available. Unfortunately, this is naturally not always the case. Human error, hospital negligence, and improper staffing can lead to major problems in healthcare institutions.
Common Causes Of Hospital Negligence
Negligence is defined as any instance in which a person acts in a careless manner, that ultimately ends up with someone else getting injured or property being damaged. There are different types of negligence, some of which can be more difficult to prove than others. In the case of hospital negligence, it can most often be narrowed down to facility negligence. In other words, when staff neglects to properly maintain the hospital’s facilities, injuries can and will happen. Unfortunately, people frequently neglect to do their jobs in full, and thus hospital negligence is bound to occur.
Hospital negligence can lead to serious injury or death and includes malpractice by doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, physician’s assistants and technicians who are employed by the hospital. Most often, these cases of negligence result from human oversight and failure to fully perform on the job. Unfortunately, the negligence of a hospital employee can have very serious consequences for a patient, including infections, pressure sores, birth issues, death and more.
Types Of Hospital Negligence
There are a wide variety of hospital negligence cases, many relating to issues with staff. Sometimes, this can happen when the HR department fails to adequately perform a background check on a new employee. If this occurs, someone with a criminal record can be hired accidentally. Although this does not immediately pose a problem, it is possible that they may be prone to acting more negligently in the future. Other hospital negligence issues include:
- Understaffing – This occurs when the hospital does not hire enough staff and thus is shorthanded. This can result in a poor patient to staff ratio, and lead to negligence issues such as failing to routinely check in on patients as expected.
- Lack of supervision – Another extremely problematic issue, as in a hospital setting, when lives are at stake, every action counts. Thus, when nobody is there to supervise such actions, accidents happen.
- Failure to monitor patients after surgery – Often, when a patient comes out of surgery, he or she is in a very fragile state. It is important that hospital staff routinely monitor them, making sure that they are stable. Thus, a failure to monitor patients can certainly have serious repercussions.
- Medication errors – Medication errors are, unfortunately, far too common in hospital settings. Essentially, the doctor prescribes an incorrect medication, either by mistake or due to negligence. In the former scenario, the doctor prescribes one medicine that he or she believes will help the patient, when in actuality it does, sometimes even harming them. In the latter, the doctor may not have taken the time to carefully look over the patient’s file — ultimately prescribing them medication that will trigger an allergic reaction.
- Nursing negligence – A nurse is often the primary caretaker for a patient in the hospital. Thus, it is their duty to diligently check up on and provide the patient with medical care. If a nurse does not do so or fails to do so as often as any prudent nurse would, this is considered to be nursing negligence.
- Physician negligence – A physician is tasked with providing crucial medical care to patients, including operating on patients, prescribing them medication, diagnosing their medical issues, and much more. However, any of these procedures can go severely wrong if the proper attention isn’t given.
- Clerical Errors – Sometimes, due to clerical errors and lack of sophisticated medical systems, incredibly grave mistakes can be made. Perhaps the worst injuries can occur when a surgeon operates on the wrong patient as the result of a clerical error.
- Emergency room errors – Most often, such errors result in the doctor “breaching the standard.” In other words, there is usually a standard procedure that is carried out depending on the emergency. If the doctor fails to adhere to this standard and thus causes harm, you can likely recover damages.
How We Prove Hospital Negligence
For medical malpractice cases, it can be complex to prove negligence on behalf of the hospital. A skilled hospital negligence lawyer will investigate the conditions under which you were injured. They will review your records in order to prove that the medical professional breached the standard duty of care and because of that breach of the duty of care, you suffered additional injuries, prolonged pain, and suffering or a permanent disability. It is mandatory for an expert witness to also confirm that the healthcare professional breached the duty of care. This expert will also testify on your behalf that your injuries could only have been sustained due to the negligence of the healthcare professional.
If negligence on behalf of the hospital can be proven, you will likely be able to receive compensation for your injuries and suffering. Further, money is often allotted for time spent away from work due to your injury. Although collecting money for damages cannot reverse an injury and time lost, it can help to alleviate some of the medical costs and other stressors. Thus, it is important to seek compensation if you or a loved one believe they are a victim of hospital negligence.
Contact Our Hospital Negligence Attorneys
If you feel that you suffered from an additional injury due to a hospital error or if your loved one suffered a wrongful death due to the negligence actions of a staff member at a hospital, then contact our hospital negligence attorneys for a free case evaluation.