Currently, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is behind only heart disease and cancer as the top killer of Americans. Reading this statistic can make you wary about seeking medical treatment, but do not use it as a reason to forego the treatment you need. It is in your best interest to always seek medical attention for the symptoms you experience. You can reduce your chance of suffering from malpractice by educating yourself about common medical errors and acting as an advocate for yourself during interactions with healthcare providers.

How Can an Act of Malpractice Kill a Patient?

There are numerous ways a healthcare provider’s error can cause a patient’s death. These include:

  • Incorrect and delayed diagnoses. When a patient is diagnosed incorrectly or not diagnosed at all, he or she can go without treatment while his or her actual condition worsens, eventually leading to the patient’s death;

  • Poor follow-up care. Following surgery, it is critical for healthcare providers to take steps to prevent infection. An untreated infection can cause a patient’s death;

  • Surgical errors. When a surgeon operates on the wrong area of the body or leaves surgical equipment inside a patient after surgery is complete, the patient can suffer complications that can ultimately lead to his or her death;

  • Medication errors. Giving the patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the correct medication can cause his or her death, either through an overdose or by failing to treat the patient’s actual condition; and

  • Improper use of equipment. Unsanitary and unsafe medical equipment puts patients at risk of injury, infection, and death. Similarly, certain pieces of equipment require extensive training for safe use on the physician’s part. A lack of proper training with these can result in injury and death to a patient.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for an Act of Malpractice

It is possible to file a medical malpractice claim against a negligent healthcare provider after losing a loved one to malpractice. This is known as a wrongful death claim. It is somewhat different from a personal injury claim regarding who can recover compensation and the damages that can be recovered, but follows the same principle: the claimant must demonstrate that the negligent party’s error directly caused the victim’s death and the death, in turn, caused the specific financial damages for which the claimant seeks compensation. The victim’s loved ones can seek compensation for their own damages as well as damages on behalf of the victim’s estate. These damages include the victim’s funeral expenses, the victim’s medical care expenses preceding his or her death, and the family’s loss of the victim’s income, employment benefits, and companionship.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered an injury or worsened condition because of a healthcare provider’s negligence or if you have lost a loved one to a negligent act, you can seek compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about this process, speak with one of the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Baizer Kolar, P.C. We are a tight-knit team of advocates for victims of medical negligence who can help you seek the compensation you deserve.