Knoxville Hospital Malpractice Attorney
In a given year, anywhere from a third to a half of all deaths in the U.S. occur in hospitals. This is not surprising given that hospitals treat the terminally ill and traumatically injured. What is surprising is how many of those deaths turn out to be due to preventable medical errors, also known as medical malpractice. It took a complex research study published in the British Medical Journal to bring this fact to light, because hospital administrators don’t record “medical mistake” as a cause of death, and doctors don’t tell the families of the patients that they messed up.
You could lose a loved one or suffer injury in a hospital and never learn that someone’s negligence was to blame. It takes skilled investigation from medical and legal experts to find out if something went wrong, determine who was responsible, and most importantly, hold them accountable to the people they harmed. Michael Brezina regularly works with physician/attorney Dr. Tucker Montgomery to closely review and litigate cases. At Atkins Brezina, PLLC, our Knoxville hospital malpractice attorneys take on every type of medical error and bring meritorious health care liability actions against doctors, hospitals and other medical providers responsible for a mistake that caused needless injury or death to a patient. Our goals are compensation for your suffering, justice for your loved one, and accountability for the medical profession. If you think you or a family member were harmed by a medical mistake in an East Tennessee hospital, call Atkins Brezina, PLLC, for a free consultation.
What is Hospital Malpractice?
Hospital malpractice refers to medical negligence that occurs in a hospital because of a mistake by a hospital employee, whether a doctor, nurse, orderly, radiologist, lab technician or some other staffer. Hospitals could also be held liable for mistakes that happen because the hospital did not have adequate procedures or protocols in place, such as a standardized way to prep patients for surgery or transfer patients between beds, or a standardized code so that staff members from different departments can communicate effectively. The following are some of the most common types of medical errors that happen in East Tennessee hospitals:
Doctors perform the wrong surgery on the patient, or they operate on the wrong side of the body. These mess-ups can happen when nursing staff mixes up patients’ charts, when orderlies transfer patients to the wrong OR, or when the patient is improperly prepped for surgery. Mistakes like these can be easily prevented with simple measures, and there is no excuse for not taking them.
Surgery mistakes also occur due to negligence or incompetence on the part of the surgeon, such as nicking an organ or artery or even leaving a medical instrument in the patient’s body. When the doctor is responsible for the error, the hospital may or may not not be liable depending on the doctor’s employment relationship with the hospital. Part of bringing a successful health care liability claim in Tennessee involves identifying the proper party; failing to do so can waste valuable time and jeopardize your case. This is just one reason why hiring an experienced and successful medical malpractice attorney is critical to your case.
Hospitals should be especially alert for serious infections that could develop in their patients who are already sick and susceptible or recovering from surgery in a weakened condition. Yet hospitals may be lax when it comes to sterilizing medical instruments, cleaning surfaces appropriately, or even regular hand washing, putting patients at risk of urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and superbugs such as C. diff. and MRSA.
Hospital administrators and clerical staff can harm patients as well by discharging patients too early, sending a new baby home with the wrong parents, mixing up patients’ charts or test results, failing to institute procedures for dispensing medications or updating patients’ conditions during shift changes, etc.
Radiologists, lab technicians and doctors could perform a test wrong or misinterpret lab or test results, or doctors and nurses in a busy ER could fail to take the time to perform a differential diagnosis, going with the most common or likely diagnosis and missing a much more serious condition.
Obstetric nurses have been known to delay too long in calling the obstetrician, and obstetricians have been known to delay too long in calling for an operating room to perform a c-section. Complicated births are not uncommon, and well-functioning ERs and obstetrics departments should be prepared to handle emergencies and complications that arise.
Hospital medication errors occur when the hospital pharmacy misfills a prescription, when a nurse administers the wrong medicine or wrong dosage, when a doctor prescribes the wrong medicine, when a nurse negligently gives an intravenous injection instead of an intramuscular one or neglects to sterilize the injection site, and on and on.
Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists play critical roles in surgery and other invasive procedures. Failing to check a patient’s medical records beforehand, delivering too much or too little anesthesia, keeping a patient sedated too long, and failing to closely monitor the patient’s vital signs are all examples of serious or deadly anesthesia errors that could occur in an East Tennessee hospital.
Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Malpractice
Also known as physician extender malpractice or mid-level malpractice, mistakes by NPs and PAs can seriously harm a patient’s health. Hospitals and/or medical groups are responsible to see that their NPs and PAs are adequately trained and supervised and that quality of care is not hampered by inadequate staffing.
Help With the Full Range of Hospital Negligence in East Tennessee
If you believe that you or a family member has been harmed by hospital malpractice in Knoxville or East Tennessee, call Atkins Brezina, PLLC, at 865-500-3121 for a no-cost consultation. We take cases on a contingency basis and only charge a fee if we are successful on your behalf.