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Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

Category Archives: Medical Malpractice

woman grieving

Can I Sue a Hospital for a Wrongful Death?

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. Most patients admitted to hospitals have expectations of recovering from the injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient who enters a hospital with a fair prognosis can meet an unexpected and untimely death. When this happens, the family left behind undoubtedly has questions about what happened. In some cases, the investigation into the matter turns up evidence of possible medical malpractice.

When the circumstances of the patient’s death points to a health care provider’s mistake or equipment malfunction, the patient’s surviving family may try to hold the hospital liable for the loss of their loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A lawsuit alleging a wrongful death is similar to a personal injury claim, the difference being that the injured person has died from the encounter. There are many kinds of defendants in wrongful death cases. For example, a person responsible for a fatal car accident can be sued for a wrongful death, or a company that manufactured a lethal product can be held liable for a wrongful death.

In accidental deaths of patients that occur in hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are sometimes named in wrongful death lawsuits that allege medical malpractice. The hospitals where the patients died may also be sued.

When is a Hospital Liable for a Wrongful Death?

The hospital can be held responsible for a wrongful death if staff or the hospital acted negligently. As mentioned, the malpractice of a hospital employee can be cause for a claim against the hospital. Examples of negligence that may be demonstrated by the hospital itself may have to do with negligence in hiring or managing its employees, supervising the medical care provided on site, or maintaining safe and effective hospital equipment.

A hospital can be on the hook for failing to ensure that its employees are properly licensed and safe to work with patients. Hospitals must be attentive during the hiring process as well as with the ongoing supervision of employees. The hospital can also be sued for failing to enact safety protocols, such as instituting appropriate handwashing practices, sanitation guidelines, and proper labeling and administration procedures for medications. The hospital may also be liable if they neglected to have enough staff on hand to handle the day’s workload.

A hospital may also be liable for medical equipment that they neglected to keep in working order.

What Types of Mistakes Constitute Medical Malpractice?

Doctors can be charged with malpractice if they misdiagnose patients, prescribe the wrong doses of medications, or make mistakes in surgeries. Nurses can be sued for malpractice if they make mistakes or omissions when taking patients’ vital signs, notating medical records, administering medications, or noticing worrisome symptoms.

Is the Hospital Liable for Having Negligent Independent Contractors?

Sometimes, doctors and specialists who are not employees of the hospital will see patients and even perform surgeries at the hospital. These non-employee caretakers have arrangements with the hospital to use the facility, but they are considered independent contractors. In general, hospitals bear no liability for the malpractice of independent contractors.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. A hospital may be held liable for allowing hospital privileges to a provider who is known to be unsafe. It may also be a problem if the hospital obscures the fact that the doctor is not an employee. The provider-hospital relationship is often laid out in the patient’s admissions documents.

How Can I Determine if the Negligent Practitioner is an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

If the provider has an employment contact with the hospital, the provider-hospital relationship is clear. However, there are some instances where the term independent contractor is used erroneously. Even if both the provider and the hospital maintain that no employment relationship exists, the circumstances of the arrangement may counter their understanding.

Things like how much control the hospital has over the provider’s schedule or service fees can determine if the arrangement fits the legally understood definition of an employee-employer relationship.

Who Can Bring Suit in a Wrongful Death Case?

In a wrongful death case, the patient’s surviving family members may bring suit, alleging medical malpractice against a provider or hospital involved in the death of their loved one.

In some states, the case can be brought by the estate for the benefit of the heirs, but in Delaware, only surviving family members may sue for damages. Such family members include the spouse, parents, children, and siblings of the deceased person, or any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage.

What Types of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Suit?

Survivors can seek monetary damages, including reimbursement of medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of the companionship of their loved one.

Are There Any Deadlines to Keep in Mind When Considering a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A claim of wrongful death must be filed within two years of the death of a loved one. If a bereaved family attempts to file a lawsuit after two years have passed, it is unlikely that the suit will be successful.

Should I Obtain a Lawyer?

In order to pursue a wrongful death suit against a hospital, a lawyer must be acquired. A lawyer will review the facts of the case and determine if a wrongful death suit is possible. Since there are deadlines, it is important to seek legal representation right away.

Delaware Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Hold Negligent Hospitals Accountable in Wrongful Death Cases

If you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent actions of a hospital or its staff, you may have a wrongful death case against the hospital. Contact one of our Delaware wrongful death lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow if you suspect a hospital’s negligence led to a loved one’s death. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

prescription drug errors

Machine Identifies Medication Errors

Despite having extensive medical knowledge, doctors can make mistakes. Even if the mistakes are unintentional, it can lead to disastrous consequences and medical malpractice suits. If a doctor prescribes the wrong drugs, it can lead to a multitude of medical issues for the patient or even death.

Fortunately, advanced technology helped create a machine learning system. The system uses outpatient data and former clinical decision support systems to generate medical alerts.

According to data, the system made strides in alerting doctors of the medical errors. In fact, the system identified 68.2 percent more medical errors than former machines.

Ultimately, the machine learning system helps promote patient safety and helps to prevent the losses that stem from drug errors. Machine learning technology is becoming more common in the medical field, leading to a brighter future for both doctors and patients.

Current Clinical Decision Support Systems

There are similar technologies already in use. Although these technologies can help doctors avoid mistakes, they are not always perfect. The data it uses to identify medical errors often gives false positives. This can lead physicians to make critical mistakes.

The Dangers of Prescription Drug Errors

According to the FDA, there are around 100,000 prescription drug error reports each year; this is a huge concern. Medication errors can put patients’ lives at risk and put doctors in a difficult position as well. It can even lead to higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

Tips to Avoid Prescription Drug Errors

Although it is ultimately the doctor’s job, there are a few ways to avoid being the victim of a drug error. Safety tips include asking questions, doing research, and inspecting the prescription bottle.

Ask Questions

Ask medical professional a lot of questions about the prescribed drug, including questions regarding dosage, side effects, and whether the drug could interact with other medications. This helps to ensure that the patient and the doctor are on the same page.

Research Prescribed Drugs

Patients should research prescribed drugs before consumption. Patients are encouraged to research online and talk to their pharmacist. This helps patients be informed about the drugs they are taking.

Inspect Prescription Bottles

Patients should look at prescription bottles after receiving medications. It is important that the drug’s name is the one expected. Similarly, patients should ensure that the dosage is the same amount that the doctor prescribed. This helps avoid any mistakes that a medical practitioner might make.

Milford Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Affected by Medical Malpractice

If you are injured or suffering an illness due to medical malpractice, contact one of our experienced lawyers today. Our dedicated Milford medical malpractice lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow hold responsible parties accountable for medical negligence. Contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484 for a free consultation about your case. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we also proudly serve clients in Elsmere and Seaford.

surgical errors

Research Shows Surgery on Intersex Infants Unnecessary

Bear medical malpractice lawyers discuss report finding surgery on intersex infants my be unnecessaryIn a report released last month, social justice advocacy groups Human Rights Watch and interAct found that surgery performed on intersex infants is often unnecessary and causes intersex children permanent physical and emotional harm. Intersex people are not biologically or physically strictly male or female. There are more than 30 potential reasons why this occurs, all having something to do with sex development.

Intersex people are born with genitalia, gonads, sex organs, or chromosomes that differ from what are typical for boys and girls. Parents of intersex babies often feel pressure to subject their children to surgery early on – even if it is not medically necessary. The report highlights the misinformation and inconsistencies within the medical community in addressing intersex births along with the stigma many parents face in raising intersex children.

What Intersex Means

Intersex children are not rare. Nearly 2 percent of all babies differ from what is typically known as male or female. Some intersex traits are obvious at birth. Some intersex babies are born with atypical external genitalia. For other intersex people, unexpected patterns in the X and Y chromosomes or variations in the gonads – which make the sperm and eggs – are not apparent until the onset of puberty.

Surgery and Intersex Individuals

In the 1960’s the medical community encouraged surgery on intersex babies, offering that surgery improved their chances at leading “normal” lives. The recent report found that rarely do intersex infants require immediate and permanent surgical intervention. The study also found that most of these surgeries are medically unnecessary and often have devastating physical and emotional consequences for the recipients.

For some intersex people, early surgery to remove their gonads renders them sterile and requires them to take hormone replacement medication for their entire lives. For other intersex people, cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of their genitals can reduce function, sensation, and leave them incontinent. These surgeries are irreversible. For many intersex people, having surgery as babies without their consent leaves them feeling victimized and causes lasting psychological trauma.

Changes in Intersex Care

As intersex adults voice the trauma and pain of experiencing needless and unwanted surgery, the medical community has begun to change their approach to intersex care. The benefits of surgery on intersex babies have not been proven, yet some doctors still encourage them. As part of the study, three former US surgeons spoke out against cosmetic infant genitoplasty, stating that there is no current evidence that having atypical genitalia leads to psychological problems. The report urges parents of intersex children to reach out to other parents and intersex adults for guidance and support before making any major medical decisions on behalf of their children. Both Human Rights Watch and interACT also call on the U.S. government to ban cosmetic surgery on intersex infants until research is available to show that the benefits of surgery outweigh the possible mental and physical consequences.

Bear Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Victims of Medical Mistakes

We trust our physicians – but sometimes they make decisions or mistakes that cause more harm than good. Bear medical malpractice lawyers at the law firm Rhoades & Morrow hold careless or negligent doctors responsible. If you have been harmed by a doctor’s poor decision, schedule a free consultation with a Bear medical malpractice lawyer at 302-834-8484 to discuss your options. You can also reach Rhoades & Morrow by completing the simple online contact form. We have offices in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford to serve the residents in both upstate and downstate Delaware.

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