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IL malpractice lawyerPatients put a great deal of trust in doctors and medical professionals. They expect to receive quality care, including proper evaluation of their symptoms and effective treatment to address any concerns that may affect their health. Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes, and when medical malpractice occurs, patients can suffer serious injuries that impact their health and well-being. Diagnostic errors are some of the most common forms of medical negligence, and a failure to diagnose a disease, illness, or health condition can result in a patient not receiving the necessary treatment. In these cases, patients will need to work with an attorney to determine their options for receiving compensation for the damages they have suffered due to these diagnostic errors.

Reasons Doctors May Fail to Diagnose an Illness

Diagnostic errors are among the most common forms of medical negligence, affecting more than 12 million people in the United States every year. Around four million patients per year suffer serious injuries due to diagnostic errors, and these cases result in over 40,000 wrongful deaths. There are many reasons why a medical professional may fail to diagnose a serious illness that could affect a patient, including:

  • Lack of experience - A doctor may not be familiar with the unique issues that affect a patient, or they may not have received the proper training to identify certain symptoms or address some types of conditions. To avoid these issues, a doctor should consult with other professionals or refer a patient to a specialist who will be able to provide the proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Testing errors - Medical tests are often necessary to properly diagnose an illness, but if these tests are not performed correctly, a person’s condition may go undiagnosed. In some cases, a doctor may fail to order the proper tests, or they may misinterpret the test results or fail to recognize that results indicate a certain illness. Errors may also occur during the testing process, such as accidentally switching samples from different patients or incorrect reporting of test results.
  • Dismissing or minimizing patient-reported symptoms - In some cases, a doctor may believe that a patient is exaggerating their symptoms, or they may fail to fully consider how an illness has affected a person. This is a major concern for patients who are minorities, who are more likely to have doctors fail to take their self-reported symptoms seriously. When a doctor does not properly respond to a person’s symptoms, a serious illness may not be diagnosed in time to receive the proper treatment.

Contact Our Cook County Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you have suffered harm because a doctor failed to diagnose a serious medical condition, you may be able to receive financial compensation that addresses the ways you and your family have been affected by these issues. At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we can help you demonstrate that you suffered harm due to medical negligence, and we will fight to make sure you will be properly compensated. Contact our Chicago misdiagnosis injury attorneys at 312-236-6324 to set up your free consultation today.

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chicago birth injury lawyerThere are multiple ways that birth injuries can cause harm to both children and mothers. While some injuries are unavoidable, others occur due to medical malpractice. Meconium aspiration syndrome is one issue that can cause serious injuries to children, and if it is not addressed correctly, it can lead to ongoing health concerns or permanent disabilities. Parents of children who have been harmed by meconium aspiration will need to work with an attorney to determine how they can recover financial compensation for the harm done to their child and their family.

Effects of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

The first stool that a child passes after being born consists of meconium, a thick, tar-like substance. In some cases, a child may pass meconium before being born, and it may become mixed in with the amniotic fluid in the mother’s uterus. This may occur because the child experiences fetal distress due to the use of Pitocin to induce labor, prolonged labor, or difficulty passing through the birth canal. 

During the process of delivery, the child may breathe meconium into their lungs. Because meconium is so thick, it can coat the surface of the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing and processing oxygen. A lack of oxygen can result in multiple types of health issues, including brain damage that may lead to developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. 

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Chicago spine surgery error lawyerPatients who undergo surgery expect surgeons and other medical professionals who are involved in the procedure to take the proper care to protect their health and safety. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur during a surgical procedure that may cause a person to suffer additional harm on top of their existing medical conditions. In some cases, surgeons may perform procedures on the wrong part of a patient’s body. This is especially common in spinal procedures where surgery is performed at the wrong level of the spine. In these cases, patients may be able to hold a medical provider responsible for their negligence through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How Can Wrong-Level Spinal Surgery Errors Occur?

Studies have found that as many as half of all neurosurgeons have performed surgeries at the wrong level of the spine at some point in their careers. While it may seem unthinkable that a medical professional would accidentally operate on the wrong part of the body, these types of mistakes are more common in spinal surgeries. Wrong-level surgeries most often occur due to issues with intraoperative imaging or confusion about counting techniques used to identify the vertebrae where surgery should occur.

Imaging methods such as X-rays or MRIs will usually be used before performing surgery to identify the area of the spine where the procedure will be performed. Imaging will also be used during a procedure, but these images may not always match up with the pre-operative images, leading to confusion about where the surgery should be performed. Separate images will usually need to be taken of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back, and the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back, and there can be some overlap between images, making them difficult to read.

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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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