Table of Contents
What No Family Should Experience
Every day in the Houston area, children run and tumble on school playgrounds. Recess is a time for kids to be kids. Releasing their pent up energy, kicking around a ball or two, or maybe even playing make believe. Every once in a while though, things get out of hand and accidents occur. Most of the time it’s a minor scrape or cut. At times though, things such as a broken bone or more serious injury occur. A recess romp rarely turns into a fatal accident, but occasionally the unthinkable occurs.
Last spring at John W. Carpenter elementary school, a 6-year-old boy from Dallas collided with a playground pole. His parents took him to the hospital. While there hospital staff performed x-rays and diagnosed him with constipation. They said it was okay to go home. Several hours later, the boy lost consciousness. His parents called 911, but the boy died before the ambulance could even arrive at the hospital.
Was there a medical mistake or a misdiagnosis of a fatal condition? According to the family, the negligence that took place was deliberate. The hospital, however, denies this accusation. The family claims that the hospital staff misused an enema and tried to cover up the internal damage that was caused.
No parent wants to ponder the idea of wrongful death amidst tragedy, but legal action is one way that parents can hold negligent professionals accountable. In hospitals, misdiagnosis errors can come about in many ways, from rushed lab work to bad communication between staff. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can find the source of negligence in a misdiagnosis incident. They help families in moving forward in the process.
According to a new study published in the BMJ — formerly the British Medical Journal — researchers have discovered that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States*, trailing only heart disease and cancer.
Based on the results of the study, medical errors result in the wrongful death of roughly 251,000 people each year. That is over 100,000 more than the next highest leading causes of death, respiratory disease (147,000), accidents (136,000), and stroke (133,000).
These statistics are alarming. The 250,000 death-toll number means that about 700 deaths occur each day— which is 9.5% of all annual deaths in the nation. Did you know that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t have any standards in place that require medical professionals to specify medical errors that may have contributed to a patient’s cause of death? Things need to change.
*The study was led by Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, whose investigation included communication breakdowns, system errors, surgical errors, emergency room errors, medication errors, anesthesia errors, and more. The study also includes medical “never events.” Events where staff operate on the wrong person, perform surgery on the the wrong body part, or even leave a foreign object in a patient, after surgery.
Who can speak for victims most effectively in a wrongful death?
Families of a deceased victim often present a strong voice for their loved one’s interests, but holding the guilty staff member or hospital accountable can be difficult.
Medical malpractice lawsuits require experts in the medical field. These professionals can confirm whether you have a case or not. Even the smallest details can be the difference between getting compensation or not.
In addition, medically-related lawsuits are often against relatively powerful opponents, such as hospitals, medical device manufacturers, or respected physicians. With several decades of experience going up against these tough adversaries in court, the law firm of Hampton & King repeatedly fights and wins – to hold those guilty, accountable for wrongful deaths. Our firm has handled countless types of medical negligence cases over the years, from fatal diagnostic errors to deadly surgical mistakes. This wide range of cases has given the attorneys at our firm the winning edge. Successfully advocating for a victim’s interests in court, and seeking justice.
Following the loss of a loved one in a medical sitting, it can be hard to consider legal action. Still, getting the right information about the available options after a fatal accident is often a necessary and helpful step.
What we need to prove in a wrongful death suit?
When families experience the loss of a loved one in a medical sitting, countless questions are likely to arise if wrongful death is suspected.
There are several key components that add up to a wrongful death. First, we figure out if the reason for death was another person’s negligence, or something else. In healthcare, this can be very complex. Especially if the deceased had existing health conditions or if they have had numerous treatments by medical professionals. Frequently, expert opinions from those with proven medical knowledge must be introduced in order to explain the cause of death.
Another crucial element is the damage of death inflicted on family members. Of course, the death of a loved one is always emotionally traumatic, there’s no question about that. But there’s often financial damages, and other damages as well. If the deceased was a wage-earner, for example, that person’s death can throw a family’s financial situation into turmoil. All harm must be considered.
While these important factors must be met in order to bring forth a wrongful
death suit, there are countless aspects of successful lawsuits. In addition to the complex nature of wrongful death suits, there also are important deadlines for filing such suits; a Houston medical malpractice attorney can help a family understand the timeline for their case.
At Hampton & King, we know the devastation that medical errors causes victims and their families. It is important to have dedicated and committed representation on their side. To help hold health care providers accountable for their actions. Call our Houston medical malpractice attorneys and discuss your potential claim with our devoted team today. We may be able to help you seek the compensation you deserve and obtain justice on your behalf.