When you need hospital care, it’s because you need help. Whether you go to a hospital for a sudden injury or illness, help with a longstanding condition, or to be screened for potential problems, you expect that you will receive proper care from your medical team.
Unfortunately, not every hospital patient receives the care they expect. When hospital staff are negligent, serious harm can result to patients. One study by Johns Hopkins estimated that more than 250,000 people in the US die each year as a result of medical errors. Other sources indicate the number may be as high as 440,000.
It can be overwhelming to wonder whether you should pursue a medical malpractice claim when you are already struggling to heal – or when your family is grieving the death of a loved one. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we understand how hard medical negligence can be. That’s why we’re here to provide advice and help you make the best choice for you and your family.
What is Medical Malpractice?
In the US, medical care must meet a certain level of proficiency. This level is known as the “standard of care,” and it is based on what a reasonably prudent medical professional would do in the same situation.
Failing to meet the standard of care is also called “medical negligence.” When the care a health professional provides falls below the standard of care, that professional or their employer – such as a hospital – may be liable.
In a hospital, medical malpractice can occur in many different ways. Some common forms of hospital malpractice include:
- Charting errors that result in inaccurate information being recorded about a patient or crucial information being left out of the chart. Hospital teams rely on a patient’s chart to understand what that patient needs. When information is wrong or left out, the patient may suffer.
- Medication errors, such as receiving the wrong type of medication, receiving the wrong dose, or receiving medications that interact in ways that harm the patient. Medication errors can be harmful or even deadly.
- Safety errors include failing to take steps to protect patient safety. For instance, when a hospital knows that a patient is a fall risk but does not work to prevent falls, a safety error may occur. Using safety items like bed rails and monitoring equipment are also part of patient safety – and failing to use them can have serious consequences.
- Testing and lab errors can cause serious harm to patients. When the proper tests are not ordered, a patient may not be diagnosed correctly – or at all. Preventable lab errors can result in patients receiving the wrong treatment or no treatment at all, even when they have a serious medical condition.
These are not the only way someone may be injured by medical negligence while in a hospital’s care. If you suspect that a violation of the standard of care resulted in harm to you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced Illinois hospital malpractice lawyer.
Understanding MacNeal Hospital Medical Malpractice
MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital associated with Loyola University. Like many hospitals, MacNeal Hospital receives oversight from several different organizations. These include the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), a private professional organization that monitors hospital and healthcare office operations.
The Leapfrog Group is another independent organization that rates hospital safety. In late 2021, The Leapfrog Group gave MacNeal Hospital an overall grade of A for hospital safety.
Leapfrog found that MacNeal Hospital meets or exceeds Leapfrog’s standards for many patient safety measures. These include encouraging staff to work together to prevent errors, having rules to reduce medication errors, and even protocols for handwashing.
Although MacNeal Hospital is doing well by Leapfrog’s standards, the organization found that MacNeal still has room for improvement in some areas. As of mid-2022, The Leapfrog Organization identified areas for improvement at MacNeal Hospital that include:
- Further improving leadership on preventing medical errors,
- Improving medication reconciliation procedures and statistics,
- Documenting medications for elective outpatient surgery recipients,
- Reducing central-line associated blood infections.
Protecting patient safety is a constant concern for hospitals. Hospitals that rate highly for patient safety often do so because they take this concern seriously. The risk that a patient will receive care that falls below the standard of care always exists.
When a patient receives substandard care, that patient may suffer an injury caused by the negligent care or failure to provide care. Many times, these injuries cause damages that a court can address.
A patient who receives negligent care in a hospital, for instance, may experience added pain and suffering. They may lose wages from time they must take off work to deal with the impact of the negligence. Medical bills to fix what went wrong may leave the patient and their family with a large financial burden. If a patient suffers the ultimate price for medical negligence, the family may scramble to cover funeral expenses while also carrying the enormous grief of their sudden loss.
These types of damages can be addressed in a medical malpractice claim. A court cannot restore you or a loved one to health – but a medical malpractice case can seek compensation for losses related to the illness or injury, and it can fight to hold a hospital accountable for providing substandard care.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help?
If you suspect medical negligence caused harm to you or a family member, contact us today. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, you’ll speak to an experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyer right from the start.
We’ll help you understand your rights. We’ll answer your questions about how the law applies to your case and what you can do next. And we’ll support you as you decide on a course of action for yourself and your family.