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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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Chicago, IL car accident lawyer for subsequent medical negligenceMany personal injury cases are relatively straightforward. When a person or organization is directly responsible for someone else’s injuries, they may be held liable for the damages the victim has suffered. For example, a driver who is at fault in a car accident may be held responsible for the damages experienced by those who were injured in the crash, including the costs of medical treatment, the income they lost, the damage to their vehicle or other property, and their pain and suffering. However, additional factors can sometimes complicate these types of cases. What if a person was injured in a car accident, and when receiving treatment, they suffered further injuries due to medical malpractice? In these cases, victims will want to work with an attorney who can help them determine who was liable and hold those parties responsible for all of their damages.

Successive Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Most of the time, injuries from car accidents or medical malpractice are two separate issues. A negligent driver may be held responsible for injuries caused in a car crash, and a negligent medical professional may be liable for injuries caused to patients. However, these types of cases may become combined if additional medical malpractice injuries occur during treatment for car accident injuries or if a person’s injuries are aggravated because of medical negligence.

Even though it may seem that these are two separate types of cases, Illinois courts have found that if a person is found liable for someone’s injuries, they are also liable for any subsequent injuries that occurred when the victim was receiving medical treatment. This is true even in medical malpractice cases where additional injuries occurred because of the negligence of a health care provider. However, courts have also found that a defendant may only be held liable for injuries that were a “reasonably foreseeable” result of their negligence.

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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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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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Chicago medical malpractice lawyer orthopedic procedure errorPeople in the United States who receive medical treatment expect their doctors to provide high-quality care that properly addresses their concerns, including any complications that arise from treatment. Unfortunately, medical errors often occur, and these can lead to serious injuries. Orthopedic procedures are one area of medicine in which medical professionals must take extra care, and when doctors fail to address vascular complications following these procedures, patients may suffer a great deal of harm.

Common Vascular Issues in Orthopedic Procedures

Orthopedic procedures involve surgeries or treatments to the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Some common procedures include treatment of joints with an arthroscope (arthroscopy), joint replacement (arthroplasty), correction of deformed bones (osteotomy), repair of bone fractures, treatment of herniated disks in the spine, and repair of torn tendons or ligaments.

Due to the complexity of orthopedic procedures, various complications can arise, especially in cases involving joint replacement, such as complete knee or hip arthroplasty. Issues involving the vascular system, or blood vessels, are one of the most serious complications, and they can include:

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Cook County surgical error injury lawyerIn the United States, we have some of the best doctors and healthcare facilities in the world, and we expect to receive quality medical care when we need it. We place a great deal of trust in medical professionals, but unfortunately, these people are only human, and mistakes are often made that can lead to serious injuries, drastically affecting a person’s quality of life and a family’s finances.

While medical malpractice can take a variety of forms, surgical errors are one type of medical negligence that can be especially devastating. These errors are much more common than one would expect; in fact, studies have found that more than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur every year during surgical procedures across the U.S. 60% of these errors cause temporary injuries, 33% cause permanent harm, and nearly 7% of cases lead to the death of a patient.

Common Types of Surgical Errors

Surgical malpractice can take a variety of forms, but some of the most common errors committed during surgery include:

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DuPage County birth injury lawyer medical negligenceIn the United States, we have access to the best healthcare in the world. Sadly, even with this level of care, people are often injured due to medical negligence on the part of doctors, nurses, or hospital staff. Any type of medical malpractice injury can have long-lasting negative effects, but birth injuries are especially devastating, and they can have a huge emotional and financial impact on a family.  

Common Birth Injuries

If the medical personnel in a hospital do not take the proper steps before, during, and after a child’s delivery, serious harm can come to the infant or the mother. Some of the most common birth injuries that occur due to medical negligence include:

  • Hypoxia - An infant who suffers from a lack of oxygen during birth can experience serious injuries, including brain damage or organ failure. Hypoxia can occur if medical staff do not properly monitor fetal heart rate or fail to address issues such as a prolapsed umbilical cord or placental abruption.
  • Infections - Newborns are highly susceptible to communicable diseases, and doctors and nurses should take steps to ensure a child’s safety. Failure to maintain proper hygiene during birth or properly treat infections can lead to serious, life-threatening complications.
  • Cerebral palsy - Injury to the brain during birth can lead to this life-long condition, which affects a person’s ability to control their muscles. Brain damage leading to CP can be caused by improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction, hypoxia, failure to treat jaundice, or certain types of infections.
  • Fractures - A child may experience broken bones if a doctor does not properly monitor the position of the child during delivery or uses too much force when extracting the child. Broken collarbones are the most common type of fracture, but a baby’s arms or legs can also be broken during birth, and skull fractures can also occur, leading to hemorrhaging and brain damage.  
  • Brachial plexus injuries - A child may experience injuries to the brachial plexus nerves which control the arms and hands during delivery. Shoulder dystocia, which occurs when a child’s shoulders are not moved through the birth canal correctly, can lead to conditions such as Erb’s palsy or paralysis.

Contact a Cook County Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Thousands of births happen every day, and mistakes made during these procedures can have serious, life-long effects for a family. At Winters Salzetta O'Brien & Richardson, LLC, we understand how birth injuries can impact a family, and we are highly experienced in helping our clients receive the compensation that addresses the physical, emotional, and financial harm done by medical malpractice. In one notable case, we obtained a $2.9 million verdict for a couple whose baby girl died during delivery when nurses failed to identify signs of uterine rupture.

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DuPage County misdiagnosis injury attorneyDuring the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pink ribbons are a common sight as many people join in the effort to make the dangers of this disease known. Acitivists have spent decades working to increase awareness and encourage women to participate in regular screenings, and as a result, many lives have been saved. However, due to the unfortunate prevalence of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, many families continue to suffer serious physical, emotional, and financial harm because of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Statistics and Risks

Every year, more than 250,000 women in the United States contract breast cancer, and the disease results in around 40,000 deaths. More than three million people in the U.S. have a history of breast cancer, including those who are participating in or have completed treatment. While breast cancer is most common in women over the age of 50, it also affects many younger women, with around 10% of newly-diagnosed cases occurring in women under the age of 45.

Some factors that increase the risks of breast cancer include:

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