How Does Medical Malpractice Happen in DC Area Hospitals?Holding Hospitals Accountable for Malpractice in DC

Medical malpractice is more common than you think. You go into the hospital in D.C., either for a routine procedure, or maybe because you are seriously ill or were seriously injured in an accident. And then what happens? Does the hospital follow up on your condition? Do they perform the right tests and then follow up to get the results? Do they discharge you after 5 minutes with the doctor?  Do you see the right specialist for your condition and symptoms? How do you know?

We've seen hospitals in D.C. ignoring a patient, not ordering standard tests, not following up to get test results, discharging patients before the test results are back. Hospitals are supposed to have what are called "Patient Safety Rules" which are standard procedures and checklists that are followed every day to make sure that patients are kept safe from hospital error. This means that charts reflect orders, tests are followed up on, and surgical instruments are counted. When a hospital or doctor fails to follow Patient Safety Rules, medical malpractice can happen. 

Here's a True Story That Happened At A D.C. Hospital Recently.

The hospital emergency room took in a patient who had just fallen 25 feet onto a concrete surface at work and his foreman took him to the closest hospital ER.  There are medical conditions that are immediate, life-threatening, very serious, and some that are not so bad.  After telling the doctor he fell on his back and side and showing the doctor where it hurt (they did a pain diagram in the ER), the ER doctor didn't consider the most serious or urgent medical conditions in the differential diagnosis.

He ordered x-rays of the patient's ribs, but no other testing.  The x-rays did not show fractured ribs so the doctor sent the patient home without any further testing.  He was in a rush and focused on one type of injury (and one that isn't that serious). Within a few days, the back and flank pain was getting worse and the bruising seemed to be spreading and getting worse too.  Even though the ER doctor hasd just told the patient to follow up with his primary care physician, the patient went to another hospital.

At the second hospital, after the doctors learned he had fallen 25 feet at work, they ordered a CT scan, found he had a damaged spleen from the fall, and transferred him by Med-Evac helicopter to a large D.C. hopital for admission to their ICU.  The patients spleen later ruptured, and he had emergency surgery, but not before a number of serious complications.  He was hospitalized for two weeks and couldn't return to work as a construction worker.

Several treating physicians have told the patient that the protocol after a 25-foot fall like that requires the Emergency Room order a CT scan.  That's a standard patient safety rule and this doctor didnt follow it.

If they had, this injured worker would have been able to get the medical care and treatment he needed a lot sooner - before his condition became life threatening. Doctors have to take their time and rule out the serious life threatening conditions first - it would have made a big difference for this construction worker.

Do You Believe Patient Safety Rules Have Been Violated By a DC Area Hospital Or Physician?

If you have experienced a serious injury as a result of mistreatment in a DC area hospital, you should get the information you need today and find out how to move forward with a medical malpractice investigation. Contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers today at 202-393-3320.  Our guarantee to you is that you will get information you can use right away, and we will be able to help you with concrete recommended next steps (which usually entails requesting your medical records). Call us today at 202-393-3320- we looking forward to helping you.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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