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Illinois failure to diagnose breast cancer lawyerBreast cancer is the type of cancer that most commonly affects women. Fortunately, when breast cancer is detected in time, a person can receive the proper treatment, and there is a 91% survival rate within five years after breast cancer is diagnosed. However, if breast cancer is not diagnosed properly, a patient may not be able to receive treatment to prevent the spread of cancer, and they can suffer serious harm as a result. Failure to diagnose breast cancer may occur because doctors failed to order the proper tests or because test results were not interpreted correctly. In these cases, patients will want to work with a medical malpractice attorney to determine their options.

Diagnostic Mammograms and Targeted Breast Ultrasounds

Imaging tests are the methods that are most commonly used to detect breast cancer. Women routinely receive screening mammograms, which are used to look for signs of breast cancer in patients who do not have any symptoms. A diagnostic mammogram may be ordered based on the results of a screening mammogram or because a patient has experienced other symptoms indicating breast cancer, such as lumps or pain in the breast, changes in breast size or shape, or discharge from the nipple.

Diagnostic mammograms take detailed X-rays of the breast from multiple angles to examine abnormalities and look for tumors that may be too small to detect using other methods. These mammograms can also detect ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which involve abnormalities in the breast ducts that may progress into cancer.

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Illinois birth injury attorneysEven though thousands of children are born every day, labor and delivery can be risky, and children can suffer birth injuries due to negligence by doctors, nurses, or other hospital staff. Brain injuries are some of the most serious types of birth injuries, and they can lead to cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments, loss of vision or hearing, and other permanent disabilities. In many cases, brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery, and cooling is one form of treatment that can be effective in preventing further brain damage.

How Is Cooling Used to Treat Birth Injuries?

There are a variety of issues that can occur during birth that may cut off the supply of oxygen to an infant. These include placental abruption, umbilical cord prolapse, uterine rupture, or any other conditions that affect the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the child’s body. Asphyxia during birth can cause a condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). In these cases, a lack of oxygen to the brain can cause brain cells to die, and when blood flow resumes, toxins released by dead cells can cause additional brain damage, leading to a chain reaction that can cause extensive brain injuries or death.

To reduce brain damage, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may use therapeutic hypothermia, or total body cooling. This treatment involves placing the child on a blanket which circulates cool water near the child’s body, lowering their body temperature to around 92 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will be maintained for 72 hours before the child’s body is allowed to return to its normal temperature. Cooling therapy can limit the spread of toxins and reduce the chances of additional brain injuries.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysDuring the process of labor and delivery, a child’s condition should be monitored closely, and medical personnel should respond quickly to any issues that could lead to birth injuries. Electronic fetal monitoring is often used to view and record an infant’s heart rate during labor, and doctors and nurses are trained to recognize the signs of fetal distress. If personnel do not properly interpret fetal heart rate tracings, or if they do not respond correctly to issues that could threaten the health of the child, this may be considered medical malpractice.

Category II vs. Category III Fetal Heart Rate Tracings

When electronic fetal monitoring is used, fetal heart rate (FHR) tracings will typically fall into one of three categories. Category I tracings are considered normal, and they are usually a sign that labor can proceed without risks or complications. Category II or III tracings, however, may indicate that a child is experiencing distress, and action may need to be taken to protect the child’s safety or ensure that delivery can be completed while minimizing the risk of injury.

Category II tracings are considered “indeterminate,” and they may include a slower heart rate than normal (bradycardia) or a rapid heart rate (tachycardia). Category III tracings are more serious, and they may involve rapid acceleration or deceleration of heart rate or repetitive changes that fall outside of normal FHR patterns. Both category II and category III tracings may indicate that a child is experiencing problems that may affect their ability to deliver oxygen to the brain, and lack of oxygen may lead to permanent brain injuries.

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Chicago medical negligence attorney for misdiagnosisWhen you receive medical care, you place a great deal of trust in your doctor and other medical personnel. Because of their medical expertise, you expect them to be able to identify your needs and determine the best treatments. Unfortunately, doctors do not always meet these expectations, and if they fail to provide the proper level of medical care, you can suffer serious harm. Misdiagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice that can result in serious injuries to patients, and it occurs far too regularly.

A recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that around 12 million people experience diagnostic errors each year in the United States, and in around one third of these cases, misdiagnosis results in permanent injuries or wrongful death. The study also estimated that between 40,000 and 80,000 people die each year because of misdiagnosis.

What Are the Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions?

The study identified three areas in which misdiagnosis occurs most often:

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Chicago VA medical malpractice lawyerVeterans make huge sacrifices to serve our country, and they deserve to be cared for in the years following their military service. Unfortunately, hospitals operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs often provide substandard care, and veterans may suffer serious injuries because of medical malpractice. In fact, investigations performed in recent years have found that hundreds of veterans have died and thousands more suffered injuries because of medical mistakes by the VA, and in many cases, the VA failed to properly address medical errors or discipline healthcare providers who harmed patients. If you are a veteran who has been injured by medical errors at a VA facility, you should be sure to understand your legal options for pursuing compensation. 

Medical Errors at VA Hospitals

Investigations have uncovered a wide variety of medical negligence resulting in injuries to veterans, including:

  • Surgical errors - In addition to failure to complete surgical procedures correctly, VA surgeons have been found to leave objects inside patients’ bodies during surgery, which can cause serious health risks.
  • Medication errors - Veterans may be harmed by the prescription of improper medications, improper doses, or failure to consider side effects or interactions between multiple medications.
  • Delayed care - VA hospitals are often plagued by lengthy wait times and delays in providing treatment. Failure to treat conditions such as cancer in a timely manner can be fatal for veterans.
  • Failure to recognize suicide risks - Many veterans experience conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and VA medical staff should be aware of the risks of suicide for these patients. Unfortunately, failure to perform risk assessments, delays in responding to mental health concerns, or failure to prescribe the proper medication has resulted in the deaths of multiple veterans.

Contact a Cook County Medical Malpractice Attorney

At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we work with veterans to address injuries caused by VA medical negligence, and we have obtained multiple verdicts and settlements for clients in these types of cases, including a $900,000 verdict in a case where a veteran committed suicide after being refused treatment at a VA hospital. In another notable case, we assisted a Vietnam veteran who was injured by errors made during oral surgery, and we secured a $12 million settlement to address his ongoing medical care and disability.

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