D.C. Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, accidents and work injuries questions answered by D.C. injury attorneys.
Here are some of the questions people have when they first contact us about D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, serious car accidents or workers compensation.
We try to provide as much information as we can based on our experience as medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and based on representing many hundreds of people who have been injured in accidents or at work in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Here are the basics:
Patients permanently injured by medical malpractice, or the families of patients killed because of medical negligence, when a hospital, HMO or healthcare corporation doesn't follow basic patient safety rules deserve justice - resources to help with the harms and losses due to the injuries or death of their loved one.
Drivers who don't follow the rules of the road, driving recklessly, driving drunk, speeding, and texting should be accountable for the harm they cause when their actions cause a car accident or wreck.
Workers hurt on the job deserve workers compensation benefits for lost wages, medical treatment and permanent injuries. If a worker is killed on the job, his family deserves workers compensation death benefits - to at least help with the financial loss of a loved one.
But since every person is unique, if you have questions or need information about an injury or death in your family, please contact us to talk it through. We'll talk to you, schedule a free initial meeting and give you all the information we can.
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How Do I Know If It's Medical Malpractice?
At Donahoe Kearney we like to say "trust your gut." If you feel a serious injury or medical condition was caused by a medical mistake in a hospital, HMO or doctor's office, it is at least worth checking into it. There are common factors we see in medical malpractice cases, and you should know about these.
Most of the time your gut will tell you if a medical mistake was preventable. But just in case you need some confirmation, we recommend that you read our free report 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice.
Here's the digest:
1). No system for following up on test results;
2). Doctors not evaluating the patient;
3). Hospitals, HMOs and Doctors not telling the patient about alternative diagnoses, treatment, and therapies;
4). Doctors not having available all of the information because they aren't asking questions, reviewing your medical records, or listening to you;
6). Doctors not consulting the right specialists; and
7). None of these situations apply but your gut tells you something is wrong.
Do you think you may have been affected by a major medical mistake, or a preventable medical mistake? If you have a serious injury or medical condition and, call us today to get information you need and determine whether we can help. You will speak with a live person here in Washington, D.C.: no cost and no obligation. You can reach a real person today to discuss your case in full confidence at 202-393-3320.
My Child is Profoundly Disabled Due to Medical Malpractice. How Do I Find A Good Home Health Aide for Her?
Choosing a home health aide is an extremely important decision. You and your disabled child rely on the aide for feeding, bathing, and turning her; all of the things she needs when you can't do them.
First, do the legwork and the research; find a reputable company who employs the home health aides. Most public companies will have "review" applications on their website. If they don't, ask for a reference. Also, make sure that the agency in question does not have an adverse history when it comes to litigation. While settlements are often confidential, lawsuits are not. A simple google search comprised of "your agency + "lawsuits" should help you to confirm the reputation of the agency.
Next, meet the proposed aide. Take the time to write down the questions that you want to ask. Don't be afraid to ask about the aides' experience or qualifications and the specific care needs or care plan for your daughter. Find out why he or she does what they do. Take measures to determine their commitment to the job. Most of the time you can tell the difference between somebody who likes their job, and somebody who does not.
Finally, set forth your expectations for communication. Get into the habit early on of asking for a digest of the day. If your home health aide knows you will be wanting information, he or she might be more likely to take note and remember what goes on during the day. It's better to establish communication early on rather than try to enforce it later.
At Donahoe Kearney we strive to get the best possible settlement for your loved one who may have been hurt as a result of malpractice. We know that parents of disabled children have an overwhelming responsibility. That's why we wrote Picking Up the Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parents Guide; an informational book to help parents dealing with medical malpractice. To order your copy today click here or call us at 202-393-3320. No obligation, no cost.
My Child Was Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. What Will Be the Lifetime Cost of Care?
Parents of a child with Cerebral Palsy worry about the future of their special needs child: their health, well-being, and unfortunately, their finances. They worry because most likely, the child with Cerebral Palsy (even severe) will long outlive his parents and will never be able to care for or support him/herself.
And as a parent, you want (and your child deserves) the best medical care and treatment for his condition, not just the minimum, especially if the child's disability was caused by medical malpractice. That is why the law allows damages for all of the future care and treatment your child needs: nursing care, medications, doctors visits, modifications to your home to make it handicap accessible, a wheel chair accessible van, and a lot more. Let's face it, these services and products cost a lot of money.
According to a study released by the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled: "Economic Costs Associated with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment - United States, 2003" the costs in the U.S, of caring for people with cerebral palsy can reach into the billions over a lifetime. The study shows that “lifetime costs in 2003 dollars are expected to total $51.2 billion for persons born in 2000 with mental retardation, $11.5 billion for persons with Cerebral Palsy, $1.9 billion for persons with hearing loss, and $2.6 billion for persons with vision impairment.”
Needless to say; that is a profound amount of money needed to care for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. And providing for a child with cerebral palsy can be an incredible individual burden on you as parents and on your family - running well into the millions of dollars. It's even worse when we consider that many times cerebral palsy could have been prevented at the hospital and some parents and families may not even know their child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice due to hospital errors or doctors' mistakes.
If you or somebody that you love has been affected by a hospital error that caused cerebral palsy, please give us a call today to speak to a live person. At no cost or obligation we can send you a book about getting resources for special needs children and discuss whether or not your case was preventable. As experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we can get you started on the right road to getting the resources your child needs. Call us at 202-393-3320; a real person will answer the phone today.
A Doctor in a D.C. Hospital said My Baby had Hypoxia at Birth. What is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen to the tissues in the body. Sometimes it is used to describe a lack of oxygen to the brain as well, meaning the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen to his brain before or during birth. It is a devastating, sometimes fatal condition that can cause severe brain damage.
Lack of oxygen to the brain at birth is sometimes called asphyxia as well. The term to describe the severe, permanent injury to the baby's brain is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; usually called HIE.
This is certainly a cause of cerebral palsy, and can often be medical malpractice if the residents, interns and medical students in the hospital did not recognize and act on the signs and symptoms in time to prevent the injury to the baby. These signs and symptpms can include fetal tachycardia (elevated heart rate), non-reassuring fetal monitoring strips, maternal bleeding, and decreased heart rate in the baby.
If a doctor told you your baby was hypoxic at birth (that he or she was deprived of oxygen during or around the time of birth and it caused an injury to his brain), you should have the medical records evaluated by an experienced D.C. medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether the injury was caused by medical malpractice and should have been prevented.
The only way to really know if your child's condition, like cerebral palsy, was caused by medical malpractice is to take that first step and have the medical records reviewed. You may be one step closer to getting your child the resources he or she needs to live a full and healthy life and to provide everything required by the medical condition.
We've helped many families with a child affected by medical malpractice in every D.C. hospital. And medical malpractice happens in every D.C. hospital; "good" hospitals can still cause serious injuries.
Medical malpractice cases take time to review and analyze; so call us today so we can get started working to get you and your family the resources you need.
What is Considered Medical Malpractice in the District of Columbia?
The legal definition of medical malpractice in D.C. is conduct that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable, prudent healthcare provider should comply with. What does that mean? It just means the hospital, HMO, doctor, or nurse didn't follow established rules to keep the patient safe. And because the health care provider chose not to follow those rules, the patient was harmed.
Sounds simple, right?
Most of the time when a patient is catastrophically injured or dies in D.C. hospitals, HMOs, clinics and doctors' offices it is the result of a system failure. Not just one mistake by one person, but a series of problems with no system in place to keep them from harming the patient. And many times, it doesn't even really involve medical care. One example is when a test result that identified a life-threatening condition was faxed to a doctor's office, but then just filed in the patient's chart because the staff member didn't know how serious it was (and the patient died from it 3 days later but would have lived if she had gotten treatment).
Medical malpractice can be almost anything; like an early discharge from the hospital, an unrecognized, untreated disease like pulmonary embolism, and/or cerebral palsy in a baby because the interns and residents didn't recognize fetal distress.
There are many examples, but medical malpractice in D.C. (or Maryland or Virginia.) is usually a series of bad choices by the doctors and nurses, without a hospital system in place to prevent those choices from harming the patient.
If you know someone harmed by the medical system, have them order one of our free, no obligation books, guides or reports, or have them call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to confidentially discuss their situation.
But don't put it off - these cases have time limits and take a long time to prepare before they can be filed. You don't want to lose out on resources you need because you waited too long.
My doctor in D.C. got my due date wrong and now my baby has serious complications - do I have a medical malpractice case?
One of the most important (and first) steps of good obstetric procedure is dating the pregnancy.
Once a pregnancy is dated, then other important dates of the pregnancy are determined and prenatal care is scheduled accordingly. For instance, let's say a doctor mistakenly thinks a 24 week pregnancy is actually a 23 week pregancy, and he treats the mother and baby accordingly. This is critical - and we have handled a DC medical malpractice case against a hospital in Washington, D.C. just lke this - because 24 weeks is considered viability (the age at which a baby can live outside the womb). Obviously, this will be critical for good obstetrical medical care and management.
Premature babies are more likely to have developmental delays and sometimes significant health problems, but there are medical interventions that can reduce these risks.
In our case, a well known obstetrician didn't correctly date the pregnancy. But the hospital's mistake was not having a system in place to make sure a simple but vital piece of medical information was checked. Any intern or resident could have checked the dates and correctly calculated the number of weeks - but no one did. Every doctor and nurse just wrote down the incorrect number because someone else had.
Unfortunately, with inadequate prenatal care, birth injuries are more likely. In fact, mothers who receive the best prenatal care are more likely to have heatlhy pregnancies and healthy children in the long run. So, it's important to make sure prenatal care offered to pregnant mothers is adequate.
One simple mistake like this can compound and it could mean injury for baby and mother - it may also mean medical malpractice in some cases. When an experienced obstetrician dates the pregnancy wrong because he was rushing, wasn't listening, or because of simple miscalculations, and no one else bothers to check it, both baby and mother can suffer.
Especially if a miscalculated due date was never checked by others on the team - by residents, fellows, interns, and nurses - then you may have a case for system wide failure that led to your baby's injury.
But, remember, every case is different and only an experienced attorney can give you advice for you. Give us a call at 202-393-3320 if you think you may be dealing with medical malpractice that caused cerebral palsy, developmental delays or other birth injury.
My friend's child has cerebral palsy and she thinks it's because the doctor waited too long to deliver the baby. Can you help?
Cerebral palsy is considered one of the most common motor disorders in children today. Cerebral palsy can occur when there is no malpractice or medical mistake made by health care providers. But, medical mistakes can cause cerebral palsy, too and they often do.
In fact, cerebral palsy can be directly related to medical mistakes when the hospital, doctors, interns, residents and nurses don't follow established patient safety rules. Unfortunately, as medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., we've seen the devastating effects cerebral palsy can have on a child and family.
And we've represented families and special needs children against many hospitals in the D.C. area, get families the resources they need and to hold hospitals and healthcare providers accountable, so they follow patient safety rules the next time and don't hurt someone else.
Here are some common reasons for cerebral palsy:
1) Failure to monitor fetal and maternal distress
2) Failure to diagnose - or a misdiagnosis of an issue
3) Failure to identify umbilical cord problems
and these can laso lead to another problem:
4) Delay in delivering the infant
It's hard to know if your infant has cerebral palsy due to a medical mistake. Want specific answers that will help get your family back on track? Still have questions about cerebral palsy or medical malpractice? Check to see if we've answered any of them in our FAQs or in our blogs on our website.
Know someone with a special needs child that would benefit from our list of resources in the area? Call us today for our FREE Resource Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources.
When a child suffers cerebral palsy because of medical errors, the responsible party should be liable for damages - and those damages can last a life time. So we focus on your special needs child and your family, to do everything we can to make your child's life better.
Don't take our word for it, see for yourself how we investigate and prepare a case and how that lead to a D.C. medical malpractice verdict that changed a young man's life.
Is a mistake during delivery a possible medical malpractice case in DC?
Maybe, if the accident caused significant injuries and fell below the standard of care. But remember: not every bad result means medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice means that a doctor, hospital, HMO, or some other health care provider fell below the standard of care when providing medical care for you, and you were injured as a result. It requires an attorney and medical experts investigating what happened - reviewing the medical records, test results, labs and other information to determine whether the doctor, hospital or HMO followed the rules. You can click here to see if you have a claim - or use some of our FREE materials to see if you've suffered from medical malpractice, like our 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice Report. You can also call us at 202-393-3320 and you'll get a live person able to answer your questions.
But malpractice during childbirth does happen at DC hospitals and can be devastating if the child and mother suffer injuries as a result.
Just the other day, we heard of a hospital performing the wrong surgery on a baby and unnecessary surgeries have become even more commonplace.
We know that parents taking care of children never feel they have the time to start a long litigation process - even if they have a gut instinct that malpractice may have caused their child's injuries. We understand. And we try to make it easy on you.
We represent children with special needs, and that's why we have a "You focus on getting better, and we'll do the work" approach.
That means we take care of all the nitty gritty stuff, like talking to the hospital, insurance company, getting all of the medical records, organizing everything and having your case reviewed by top experts and specialists - so that you can focus on your child. We even have a book of resources for children of special needs in the area, full of information like camps for special needs kids and respite care facilities in the area, and we're offering it FREE - just order your copy here or give us a call and we'll send one out to you.
Even if it seems overwhelming, take one small step - all you have to do is contact us today.
My son had a brachial plexus injury after delivery - can we recover for his injuries?
Birth injuries are sadly common and can have long term effects. Brachial plexus injuries are the most common type of birth injury. This injury happens when the bundle of nerves that originiate from the upper spine and go through the neck, shoulder, arm and hand get damaged during birth. When this injury happens, it can cause temporary and mild complications or it can cause permanent and lasting injuries where the arm isn't functioning.
Is it medical malpractice?
It could be. During delivery, doctors, midwives, nurses, and other health-care providers have a duty to uphold the standard of care. This means they have to follow established rules to keep their patients (mom and baby) safe and healthy. And there are a number of factors that determine whether the rules were followed. When that doesn't happen, and your baby is injured, that's medical malpractice.
It isn't always easy to tell if you have a medical malpractice case. That's why we've published free reports, books and guides that we offer free to parents in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia who have a child who has a brachial plexus birth injury, or any other type of birth injury. Just give us a call at 202-393-3320 and order your free, no obligation copy today.
Doctors discharged me too soon after an injury. Is that medical malpractice?
There are many factors that go in to deciding whether or not a patient is ready to be discharged.
Often times, patients can have a say in when they leave the hospital by telling their doctor how they've been feeling after treatment. A quick "Doc, I'm feeling much better now!" can have an impact on whether or not that patient is discharged or has a longer stay in the hospital.
This reminds us: take control of your health by speaking up about what goes on in the hospital! You have a say...and often times this can help your doctor pinpoint the right time for you to be discharged.
That's not always an option for serious medical conditions, however.
We have seen cases where a patient was discharged before his physician reviewed an important MRI, or before consulting with a specialist, or before arriving at a diagnosis for the patient's serious symptoms - shortness of breath and chest pain in one case.
Unfortuantely, patients have had unnecessary surgeries, had physicians who gave them the wrong information about their treatment and medications, and worse, doctors who removed the wrong body part during surgery. And we know that medical malpractice happens more frequently than most people realize.
Having a patient advocate who can speak up and ask your doctor and hospital personnel tough questions is a good start. But it is up to your hospital, HMO, doctors and nurses to follow established patient safety rules to keep you and other patients safe.
And when it comes to discharging you from the hospital, the doctor has the ultimate say.
Remember, if the choices the doctors and nurses make in the hospital fall below the standard of care and you were harmed as a result, then your early discharge may mean medical malpractice. And if your child was harmed due to medical malpractice, Picking Up The Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parent's Guide can be a great resource, and we're offering it for free. You can order this FREE book on our website or give us a call to order today!
With doctors, nurses and hospitals extremely busy, a patient can be discharged too early if there isn't a system in place to make sure the doctor has reviewed all the test results, consults with specialists and arranged follow up care.
If you think you are your loved one were discharged from a D.C. hospital too early and have suffered serious medical complications as a result, call us at 202-393-3320. Our attorneys can give you specific advice about your particular issue.