If you go to an emergency room (ER) or take a loved one there, you likely aren't expecting the same level of personalized care that you receive in your doctor's office or if you checked in for a scheduled hospital stay. However, emergency room patients are entitled to a specific standard of care. When that doesn't occur and a patient is further injured or sickened as a result, legal action may be warranted.
Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in this country. People who are fortunate enough to survive a stroke are often left paralyzed -- typically on one side of their body. Many stroke survivors' ability to speak is impaired.
As patients, it's ultimately our responsibility to make the decision about whether or how a medical condition will be treated. However, we have to be able to give "informed consent." That's where the doctor's responsibility comes in.
One of the many fears that patients have before surgery is that the anesthesia might wear off too soon, and they'll wake up during the procedure. The phenomenon of "anesthetic awareness" is relatively rare (although exact numbers vary widely depending on which study you look at). Not surprisingly, it's more common in surgeries where smaller amounts of anesthesia are used -- such as in emergency C-sections.
Babies who are twins, triplets and quadruplets sometimes have to spend time in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) because they are underweight or have other health issues. If they're born prematurely, their parents may not have chosen names for them yet. In some religions, such as Judaism, parents don't announce a child's name for a specific period after they're born.
One Army sergeant who was wounded while serving in Iraq is using what are likely his final months of life to fight for the right of active duty service members to sue the government for medical malpractice. They are currently prohibited from suing for malpractice or negligence of any kind because of the Feres Doctrine. It's named for a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1950.
Most of us don't have medical training, so we rely on our doctors to give us clear, complete, honest information about any condition we have. We also rely on them to explain all treatment options. We typically ask our doctors (or they just tell us) what treatment they would recommend. However, ultimately, the decision is ours to make.
Just as the world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, word of a previously confidential $6 million settlement by Neil Armstrong's family and the hospital where he died in 2012. Documents regarding the settlement, which was reached two years later, were leaked to various news organizations.
We know that most physicians are caring, capable professionals and that incidents of malpractice are not the norm. However, it may surprise many people to learn that just 2% of physicians are responsible for nearly 40% of all malpractice claims. That's the finding of a study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This month, the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear a case that challenged the legal precedent that prohibits military personnel from filing medical malpractice lawsuits against the military. The decision was not unanimous. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas -- who often aren't on the same side of Court decisions -- both voted to let the case move forward.