When Negligence Becomes Wrongful Death

talking with doctor, workers' comp lawyer

At some point in our lives we will rely upon the care and treatment of the medical establishment to improve our health. Whether undergoing a major operation or picking up a prescription for cold medicine, the public expects physicians and other medical professionals to perform their duties in accordance with established guidelines for care.

With over 35 million hospital visits taking place in 2015, it’s not surprising to discover that quality care isn’t always provided. When doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others in the medical community deliberately choose to ignore established guidelines while attending to their patient’s medical needs, it can result in the wrongful death of a patient. It’s an alarmingly common problem wherein even individuals being treated for minor medical conditions are dying simply because doctors aren’t performing their due diligence when providing treatment.

Patient Safety America estimates that there were over 440,000 wrongful deaths in America’s hospitals throughout 2014. The causes of these deaths are varied and include prescribing the wrong medication, not checking dosages, failure to diagnose underlying medical conditions, deliberately providing the wrong treatment, and even failing to remove surgical implements post-surgery. These negligent actions can be lethal and patients are paying with their lives as a result.

When gross negligence leads to wrongful death, the surviving family can pursue a claim against the physicians, nurses, and healthcare facilities charged with caring for the deceased. In Illinois, plaintiffs seeking to prove gross negligence and/or willful misconduct must show that the actions of the defendant were conducted with utter indifference and conscious disregard for patient safety. This means that they performed their duties in a manner contrary to established guidelines and procedure.

In Illinois, a Lake County wrongful death attorney must prove this using expert testimony to show the care administered was either inadequate or inappropriate. In wrongful death cases it is often not the actions of one individual, but rather the actions of many that lead to wrongful death. It’s frequently a chain of events that lead to a patient’s death which is why it’s imperative to review the deceased’s care from start to finish. Whether it’s a simple knee operation or a quadruple bypass, wrongful death cases frequently uncover a pattern of neglect on the part of physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, and healthcare facilities that is putting patient life in jeopardy.