There are several common kinds of medical negligence cases, but they all have one thing in common. Doctors and other medical professionals usually have a fiduciary duty toward their patients. That’s the highest duty of care in the law. Since the responsibility is so great, it’s easier to establish medical negligence, which is essentially a lack of care.
This high duty also means that a Kansas City personal injury attorney can obtain substantial compensation for these victims. Families need this money to carry on with life in the wake of the serious incidents described below. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available as well.
Confidence is an admirable quality in a doctor, but overconfidence is not. Overconfidence is at the root of many medical misdiagnosis issues. Doctors often approach complex cases with an “I’ve got this” mentality. So, they use their instincts, instead of test-related evidence, to diagnose illnesses.
Cancer is a good example. Many physicians view cancer as a genetic or lifestyle condition. They seldom diagnose lung cancer in nonsmokers or any kind of cancer in people with no family history of this disease.
According to some estimates, the cancer misdiagnosis rate is twice as high as the overall misdiagnosis rate.
A different kind of overconfidence often causes birth injuries. When things go wrong in the delivery room, some doctors hesitate to ask for help. They view such pleas as a sign of weakness. Instead, they rely on dangerous birth assistance devices or methods, such as:
- Episiotomy: Doctors sometimes cut the mother’s perineum (area between the genitals and anus) to widen the birth canal. These incisions often cause uncontrollable bleeding during the delivery and intense pain afterward.
- Vacuum Extractor: The doctor attaches a metal cap to a partially-born baby’s head, hooks that cap to a surgical vacuum, and tries to suck the baby out of the mother’s body. Tiny newborns are not strong enough to withstand that kind of force.
- Forceps: Before vacuum extractors came along, doctors used these surgical salad tongs to pry babies out of their mother’s bodies. Doctors still use forceps today. Indeed, the ones in modern delivery rooms aren’t much different from the ones doctors used in the 1700s.
Doctors use risky methods like these because if a baby is too large to drift down the mother’s birth canal, permanent brain damage is just five minutes away.
Misdiagnosis and birth injuries are among the most common medical negligence cases. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Kansas City, contact the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm. After-hours visits are available.
How common is medical misdiagnosis?
Doctors misdiagnose about one in five patients. They either miss a disease the patient has or erroneously tell the patient that she or he is sick.
What’s the biggest delivery room emergency?
Shoulder dystocia, which is the biggest delivery room emergency, means the baby’s head and shoulders are so large the baby becomes lodged in the mother’s birth canal.
Why are punitive damages so high in medical negligence cases?
Unless punitive damages are large, doctors will not change the way they do business.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.