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When medical malpractice results in wrongful death

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When you check into a California hospital, you expect your doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to have the education, training and skill necessary to competently treat whatever illness or injury you face. The last thing you expect is that one or more of them will make a mistake that could worsen your condition or even kill you. 

Unfortunately, some of your health care professionals may fail to live up to your expectations. Every year, approximately 100,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors. In fact, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death. Although medical malpractice can take many forms, most mistakes consist of emergency room errors, diagnostic errors or surgical errors.

Emergency room errors

ERs tend to be somewhat frantic places. Numerous doctors, nurses, lab techs and other hospital employees rush from you to other patients, often in overcrowded rooms. Not surprisingly, medical errors can happen. Sometimes your ER physician fails to order your necessary tests. Other times the lab incorrectly reads your test results or mixes up your tests and/or their results with those of another patient. In addition, your ER physician may fail or delay to provide the care you need, decline to admit you to the hospital and/or send you home prematurely.

Diagnostic errors

Although diagnostic errors can occur in the ER, most of them occur in your doctor’s office. If he or she fails to properly diagnose your condition, you could die from:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Hypertension
  • Bacterial meningitis

Surgical errors

If your surgeon, anesthesiologist or operating room nurse makes a mistake, the consequences could be catastrophic. Some of the more common surgical errors include:

  • Administering the wrong anesthesia to you or the wrong dosage of it
  • Operating on the wrong part of your body
  • Using improper surgical methods and techniques that could result in your developing a blood clot or sustaining internal organ damage
  • Leaving a piece of medical equipment inside your body such as a clamp or sponge
  • Failing to properly monitor you in the recovery room after your surgery

Any of the above listed medical errors can result in your wrongful death, leaving your family to grieve your untimely loss.

If you suspect that the death of a loved one resulted from medical malpractice, speak with an attorney to learn about your legal options.

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