Hospital Error Leads to Many Deaths

You might think the safest place to be if you become sick or are seriously injured is a hospital or its emergency room (ER). Sadly, that is not always the case. If you don’t get the correct medical care, going to a hospital can be very dangerous to your health.

In fact, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States annually. According to Johns Hopkins, more than 200,000 people die each year as a result of medical mistakes.(1) A study published in the Journal of Patient Safety says that number is even higher — more than 400,000 deaths each year.(2)
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Hospital Error Lawsuits

If you or a loved one was harmed rather than helped while seeking treatment at a hospital, we encourage you to call Weitz & Luxenberg for more information. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation.

Our hospital error lawyers have helped many people. We would be happy to speak with you if you have experienced any of the following types of harm while seeking treatment at a hospital:

  • Hospital medication or pharmacy errors.
  • Hospital infection errors.
  • Emergency room errors.
  • Medical errors affecting you or your child while giving birth.

We are currently looking into situations in which a health care professional at a hospital was negligent or incompetent in some way or lacked adequate guidelines to offer appropriate assistance. 

Our hospital error lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg have been handling complex hospital error lawsuits for more than 30 years.

In addition, Weitz & Luxenberg has a solid history of winning cases. We can provide you with the information and guidance you need to evaluate your legal options.

For a free initial consultation, we encourage you to contact us by phone at (800) 476-6070 or through the form provided on this web page. One of our representatives will reach out to you shortly.

Hospital Error Results in Settlements for Our Clients

It is very distressing that staff members at hospitals can make medical errors and those errors can seriously hurt people. We regularly work with clients who are faced with this difficult situation.

As people, we suffer along with our clients as they go through these terrible journeys.

As attorneys, we do our best to pursue legal options for our clients. We have success in getting them the justice and the compensation that they deserve for their suffering.

Image of a woman holding her stomach

Irreparably Damaged Uterus

When a young mother had her uterus irreparably damaged, our attorneys were able to negotiate a $500,000 settlement for her.

If you or a loved one was harmed during a hospital visit, contact us now for a free consultation.

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Our client initially experienced bloating and pain. She received misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, at one hospital after another.

She suffered not only pelvic inflammatory disease but also a severe infection and blood clots in her lungs. Now she needs to take blood thinners to prevent further blood clots.

In addition, one surgeon damaged one of her ureters — the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. Ultimately, our client needed to wear a urine bag outside of her body. She then needed to undergo corrective surgery to repair her damaged ureter.

“No one should ever have to go through such an ordeal,” said Allan Zelikovic, senior attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg. “These hospital mistakes are horrendous, and we took whatever legal actions were necessary to bring an appropriate resolution for this young mother.”

Botched Brain Surgery Destroys Life

When a man is unable to talk or walk after surgery, he deserves compensation. The attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg were able to get our client the financial settlement that he deserved.

"Situations such as this are incomprehensible. We may not be able to give this man back his quality of life, but we did everything legally possible to hold the responsible parties accountable," said Mr. Zelikovic.

Our client underwent brain surgery. At some point during the operation, something went terribly wrong, and the hospital personnel never said what.

Following the surgery, the man experienced violent seizures, developed a severe infection, and suffered a heart attack. Today, he is permanently debilitated.

“Situations such as this are incomprehensible. We may not be able to give this man back his quality of life, but we did everything legally possible to hold the responsible parties accountable,” said Mr. Zelikovic. 

Although it cannot restore his quality of life, the settlement Mr. Zelikovic was able to negotiate provided funds for medical and living expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Nearly Died from Misdiagnosis

Another one of our W&L clients received significant compensation for what turned out to be an almost fatal infection. She visited three hospitals seeking treatment. Our client initially just felt ill and didn’t know what was causing it. She faced one misdiagnosis after another.

Meanwhile, she underwent surgery to have a mass removed from her stomach. Afterward, she experienced numerous complications, including blood clots in her lungs and damage to her internal organs.

“I can’t imagine the pain and suffering this woman was forced to endure. In the United States, we expect quality hospital care,” Mr. Zelikovic emphasized. “At the very least, we must hold incompetent, negligent health care providers responsible for their actions and hope we can prevent future harm.”

Our client received a significant settlement, due to negotiations that Mr. Zelikovic led. He could not prevent what happened. But he did his best to get her the compensation she deserved after what she went through, due to hospital error.

Patient lying in hospital bed

Hospital Harm to Patients

According to the Journal of Patient Safety study, there are at least three major types of preventable hospital mistakes, also called adverse events. A patient may suffer harm right away, days or months after leaving the hospital, or even years later.(3)

Immediate harm may be caused by a hospital medication error. For example, a patient may develop excessive bleeding because she was given an overdose of a blood-thinning medication.(4)

A patient may develop a hospital infection that does not become apparent for weeks or months. An example of this is the hepatitis C virus. A patient may come into contact with contaminated medical equipment at a hospital. The patient was exposed to hepatitis C but not diagnosed until weeks or months later.(5)

An example of harm uncovered years later occurred when years after undergoing surgery and then being released, a patient developed a nearly lethal pneumococcal infection from exposure during surgery. Guidelines required administering the available vaccine, to prevent such an occurrence.(6)

Hospital Medication or Pharmacy Errors

Hospital medication mistakes are one of the most common types of inpatient hospital errors.(7) Sometimes something as simple as trying to figure out a doctor’s handwriting can lead to a mistake in dosage or medication.(8)

Some medications sound similar or are spelled similarly but are used to treat totally different conditions. For example, Celebrex versus Celexa.

Celebrex is an NSAID, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to reduce inflammation and pain. Celebrex may be prescribed to treat arthritis, some types of severe pain, and menstrual pain.(9)

Celexa is an SSRI, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Celexa is used to treat depression, not arthritis.(10)

Giving a patient the wrong drug can be catastrophic. Alternatively, giving the patient the wrong dose can be deadly.(11)

Too much of a medication can lead to complications. Giving too little can also lead to complications.(12)

Hospital Infection Errors

Patients in hospitals also face the possibility of infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in 25 patients in a hospital setting develops an infection related to the care he receives on any given day.(13)

Patients can get infections through their veins, through catheters, from medical instruments and devices, and from the hospital environment itself. Infections include:(14)

  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Surgical site and wound infections.
  • Blood infections.
  • Hospital-onset Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia.

Emergency Room Errors

Mistakes are also possible when people visit the ER. For example, overcrowding can lead to mix-ups between patients, their medical conditions, and lab tests.(15)

In fact, overcrowding can be a major problem for patients. Quality of care in general tends to degrade when overcrowding occurs.(16)

Horror stories about emergency room misdiagnoses can be found everywhere. According to The Wall Street Journal, a young man went to the ER with a fever and chills. Hospital personnel sent him home and advised him to take Tylenol. This man ultimately died of a blood infection called sepsis.(17)

A woman in her 40s went to the ER with chest pain and was released. Just two hours later, she suffered a heart attack.(18)

A young girl went to the ER and the doctor diagnosed a stomachache. Shortly afterward, her appendix ruptured.(19)

illustration of a building

Mistakes are also possible when people visit the ER. For example, overcrowding can lead to mix-ups between patients, their medical conditions, and lab tests.

Hospital Errors During Birth

If you or your baby suffered any type of damage while you were giving birth, or shortly afterward, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Knowledgeable, well-trained, and experienced doctors take precautions when facing a difficult delivery.

A number of conditions pose challenges:(20) (21) (22) (23)

  • Premature delivery.
  • Labor that takes a long time.
  • A baby positioned to come through the birth canal with the feet, shoulder, or buttocks first.
  • An umbilical cord that blocks the baby’s movement through the birth canal or wraps itself around the baby.
  • A mother with high blood pressure.
  • Excessive bleeding during or following birth.

Sometimes the mother suffers life-threatening complications, even death.(24) Sometimes her baby does.(25)

Hospital Negligence

You may have grounds for a lawsuit if doctors and others who treated you at a hospital were negligent.

In legal terms, negligence means “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).”(26)

In other words, health care providers may have been negligent if they provided inappropriate treatment or failed to provide appropriate treatment.

In determining if a health care provider acted in a way that lacked reasonable care, the following criteria are considered:(27)

  • Did it seem likely the provider’s conduct would result in harm?
  • Did the potential harm from that provider’s actions seem like it would be severe?
  • Would taking precautions to prevent that harm have placed an undue burden on the health care provider?

Medical malpractice attorneys need to consider four criteria to establish a prima facie case of hospital error negligence:(28)

  • The existence of a legal duty that the health care provider owed to the patient.
  • The health care provider’s breach of that duty.
  • The patient’s sufferance of an injury.
  • Proof that the health care provider’s breach caused the patient’s injury (typically defined through proximate cause).

As a patient in a hospital, you should be able to expect a trained health care provider to provide reasonable care based on training and expertise. For example, nurses’ aides may be able to provide certain types of care, while physicians, surgeons, and specialists such as gynecologists and others are expected to provide reasonable care based on their training and expertise.(29)

Doctor typing on keyboard

Medical Incompetence

According to USA Today, “Thousands of doctors are able to continue practicing despite records of serious misconduct that puts patients at risk.” Many are no longer allowed to practice in hospitals or other medical facilities, but the state medical boards haven’t punished them.(30)

In some cases, people have died because incompetent doctors have been allowed to continue practicing medicine.(31)

In one instance, a woman was “prescribed a high dose of oxycodone, a narcotic more potent than morphine, plus an added prescription for hydrocodone … as well as a mix of thyroid medicine, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers” for a variety of medical conditions.(32)

One night, she told family members she felt weird. They went off to bed, and the woman stayed up to watch television. The next morning, family members found her dead. The cause of death was mixed drug intoxication. Even then, the physician was allowed to continue treating patients.(33)

Pain and Suffering

Attorneys often seek compensation for clients who are victims of pain and suffering.

According to a professor at the University of California, Berkley School of Law, “this is money meant to compensate for things like the physical pain and suffering that goes along with a physical trauma, the emotional harm that can come from an injury to one’s self or a loved one, the disappointment or embarrassment arising from one’s changed appearance or altered abilities to engage in pleasurable activities and favorite pastimes as a result of an injury, the harm to one’s dignity or one’s health from being wrongly injured by another, and so on.(34)

Were you or a loved one injured during a hospital visit? Speak to an experienced attorney today.

(800) 476-6070

“These injuries are widely acknowledged by Western democracies by ordering legally liable defendants to pay money to their victims in recognition of these harms.”(35)

If you or a loved one experienced pain and suffering due to a hospital physician’s carelessness, incompetence, or negligence, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Lack of Adequate Hospital Staff Guidelines

Hospitals, like other corporations and businesses, have restructured departments in an effort to reduce costs. Some cuts have led to heavier workloads for nurses and other staff members.(36)

Some researchers have expressed concern about the possibility that patient care is declining. Patient safety is also a concern.(37)

Hospital staff may not always be able to keep up with the new demands placed on them. Inadequate guidelines may place patients at risk for hospital error.(38)

If you or a loved one received inadequate or incompetent care from health care providers at a hospital, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Hospital Error Lawyers

Weitz & Luxenberg has been handling complex hospital error lawsuits for more than three decades. As a national firm, we have attorneys available across the country.

Whatever your personal circumstances are, one of our hospital error lawyers is available to speak with you. Even if you are in the hospital right now or you are at home and unable to leave because of medical reasons, our attorneys are there for you.

You can count on us to put you first. Over the years, we have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a free consultation and can provide you with the legal guidance you need.

Our phone number is (800) 476-6070. Or you can use the form on this page to reach one of our representatives.

Although having successful lawsuits in the past does not guarantee that future lawsuits will be as successful, Weitz & Luxenberg has been having successes for 30 years.

Our firm has the experience and resources necessary to stand up to the large hospitals and the doctors who work there. We can work with you to get you the compensation you deserve.

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2016, May 3). News and Publications. Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us
  2. James, J.T. (2013, September). A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid
  7. PSNet. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, June). Patient Safety Primer. Medication Errors. Retrieved from https://psnet.ahrq.gov/primers/primer/23/medication-errors
  8. ISMP Canada. Pharmacy Connection. (2014, Spring). Preventable Medication Errors – Look-alike/Sound-alike Drug Names. Retrieved from https://www.ismp-canada.org/download/PharmacyConnection/PC2014-02-Spring_LookalikeSoundalike.pdf
  9. WebMD. (2017). Celebrex. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-16849/celebrex-oral/details
  10. WebMD. (2017). Celexa. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8603/celexa-oral/details
  11. PSNet. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, June). Patient Safety Primer. Medication Errors. Retrieved from https://psnet.ahrq.gov/primers/primer/23/medication-errors
  12. Ibid.
  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, October 25). Healthcare-associated Infections. HAI Data and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hai/surveillance/index.html
  14. Ibid.
  15. Erenler, A.K., et al. (2016, February 26). Reasons for Overcrowding in the Emergency Department: Experiences and Suggestions of an Education and Research Hospital. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4909875/
  16. Ibid.
  17. Landro, L. (2011, May 10). Hospitals Overhaul ERs to Reduce Mistakes. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703859304576307060330715004
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. WebMD. (2017). Understanding Labor and Delivery Complications — the Basics. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/baby/understanding-labor-delivery-complications-basics#1
  21. WebMD. (2017). Understanding Labor and Delivery Complications — the Basics. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/baby/understanding-labor-delivery-complications-basics#2
  22. WebMD. (2017). Understanding Labor and Delivery Complications — the Basics. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/baby/understanding-labor-delivery-complications-basics#3
  23. WebMD. (2017). Understanding Labor and Delivery Complications — the Basics. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/baby/understanding-labor-delivery-complications-basics#4
  24. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, November 9). Reproductive Health. Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pmss.html
  25. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. (2011, September). Newborn death and illness. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/press_materials/fs/fs_newborndealth_illness/en/
  26. Cornell Law School. Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Negligence. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence
  27. Ibid.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Eisler, P., & Hansen, B. (2013, August 20). Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/doctors-licenses-medical-boards/2655513/
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Sugarman, S.D. (2005, January 1). Comparative Law Look at Pain and Suffering Awards, A. Retrieved from https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=2194&context=facpubs
  35. Ibid.
  36. Clarke, S.P., & Donaldson, N.E. (2008, April). Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Chapter 25. Nurse Staffing and Patient Care Quality and Safety. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2676/
  37. Ibid.
  38. Ibid.

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