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Tucson Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What must I prove in a medical malpractice case?

When you go to see an Arizona doctor or other health care professional, or when (s)he admits you to the hospital, you expect that these medical professionals have the requisite knowledge, skill and experience to properly diagnose your condition and treat it appropriately. The last thing you expect is that someone in whose hands you placed your health and in whom you placed your faith and trust will injure you or make you sicker than you were before you consulted him or her. Sadly, however, medical errors occur at a rather alarming rate, and when they do, you can sue the doctors, nurses and others who caused your injury, as well as the hospital for which they work.

FindLaw explains that most medical malpractice lawsuits proceed under the theory of negligence. To prevail in a negligence suit, you must prove the following:

  • That the health care professional owed you a duty of care
  • That (s)he breached his or her duty by giving you substandard care that did not rise to the level of the applicable standard of care
  • That his or her deviation from the care standard caused your injury
  • That you were, in fact, injured

How to cope with the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury

Car accidents, falls, innocent bumps on the head - all can cause injury to fragile brain tissue. Some of the most well-known incidents of brain trauma come from stories of football players who have crashed heads as they have collided in a pile on the field, but the five-car pileup in a busy Arizona intersection can damage soft brain tissue just as much. 

Head injuries are not all severe, of course, but everyone should view even mild brain trauma as a serious incident that warrants careful attention. When symptoms persist or worsen, being aware of the long-term effects of moderate to severe brain trauma can help caregivers of the injured keep perspective.

Lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries

That NFL offensive linemen and running backs sometimes suffer from concussions seems reasonable. Their heads are getting banged around in their helmets every time they step on the field. Football players are not the only ones who should feel concern about traumatic brain injuries though. From Arizona's youngest residents to its eldest, every person who has ever gotten a bump on the head should be aware of the risk that comes with TBIs. 

BrainLine, which is a TBI online resource center, helps individuals understand how brain injuries impact them in the long run. Many factors play into the long-term effects, including how severe the injury was; how quickly the person received medical care and for how long; and how many resources were available to the injured at the time of the incident.

To talk or not to talk (about medical errors) is the question

Going to the doctor can be scary when someone is having unusual symptoms or an extreme amount of pain. What happens when an Arizona resident braves the experience, shows up for the appointment, and comes out with a wrong diagnosis? 

Misdiagnoses are not as uncommon as one might think. Several years back, the American Medical Association reported a 10 to 20 percent incidence of doctors either completely missing the mark or taking so long to come to a conclusion that patients suffered in the meantime. 

When hospitals are understaffed

If you have ever spent time in an Arizona hospital, you may have experienced the nation’s nursing and hospital staff shortage firsthand. Maybe you had to wait more than you should have for a nurse to respond to your call, or perhaps you received a misdiagnosis or the wrong medication because the staff at the hospital had more on its plate than it could realistically handle. At the Law Office of JoJene E. Mills, P.C., we understand the dangers that arise when there are not enough staff members available to cater to patient needs, and we have helped many patients who suffered hardship as a result of understaffing seek appropriate recourse.

Per Healthline, the quality of care patients receive in hospitals tends to decline when there are not enough staff members to handle patient needs. The problem is especially common among nurses, many of whom claim that red tape and bureaucracy often hinder their abilities to perform their jobs and act in the best interests of their patients. For example, some nurses do not have the authority to make certain calls regarding patient care, but many also report not being able to access staff members who do have the authority to make such decisions in a timely manner.

Domestic violence and traumatic brain injury - decisively linked

With media spotlights often on athletes and head injuries, it can be tempting to overlook the link between domestic violence and traumatic brain injuries in women. Domestic violence is a real threat in Arizona homes, though.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 109 victims of domestic violence in Arizona died as a result of their injuries in 2014. Two years earlier, the state had "ranked 8th in the nation in femicides per capita." Across the U.S., the NCADV reports, "1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men...have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner."

3 types of cancer physicians miss the most

When you visit your Arizona physician, you probably have faith in his or her ability to diagnose what is ailing you and recommend a course of treatment. Regrettably, however, doctors are not immune to human error, and when physicians make mistakes or overlook symptoms that may indicate a serious problem, the consequences can prove considerable. At the Law Office of JoJene Mills, P.C., we understand how devastating it can be when doctors miss key signs of cancer and other serious medical conditions, and we have helped many clients who find themselves suffering because of such circumstances seek appropriate recourse.

According to Fox News, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are common problems affecting American patients. So much so, in fact, that about one in every 20 patients who undergo care in outpatient settings are either misdiagnosed, diagnosed too late or not properly diagnosed at all, despite having symptoms indicating a particular condition.

The catastrophic costs of traumatic brain injury

Arizona residents who become the victim of a traumatic brain injury face not only catastrophic physical and mental consequences, but also catastrophic financial consequences. The Mayo Clinic defines a TBI as an injury to the body, particularly the head, that causes dysfunction of the brain.

Most TBIs happen when the victim receives a violent blow to his or her head, usually as the result of a fall. However, a TBI also can occur as the result of the following:

  • A sports injury, such as a concussion sustained during a football, baseball or basketball game
  • A vehicle accident, including car, truck, motorcycle and bicycle accidents or being a pedestrian struck by one of these vehicles
  • An explosive blast that occurs at work or while in combat
  • An act of violence, particularly being shot

Do not just assume your provider's hands are clean

While the hospitals and medical centers in Pima and the surrounding areas are looked to as places of healing, you have likely also heard stories of how people have acquired illnesses and infections stemming from visits to such facilities. The clients that we here at The Law Office of Jojene Mills, P.C. have worked with after having dealt with such issues often express surprise that one of the major sources of hospital-acquired infections are not the conditions of such facilities, but the caregivers found therein. You might automatically assume that hand hygiene is not something you have to worry about when dealing with healthcare professionals, yet you may be surprised as how clean the hands treating you truly are. 

Information shared by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that studies have revealed that healthcare providers, on average, clean their hands less than half as often as they should. Hand hygiene standards call for healthcare workers to wash their hands: 

  • Before and after direct contact with a patient's skin
  • After contact with bodily fluids (including blood), mucous membranes, wounds and wound dressings
  • After contact with surfaces in patient treatment areas
  • After removing gloves
  • After using the restroom
  • Before moving their hands from a contaminated area of the body to a clean-body site

What are the signs of a TBI?

It is essential if you or someone you know suffers from a traumatic brain injury that you know what signs to look for. Any brain injury needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent more serious injury and to start healing. If you notice any TBI signs, you should head to an Arizona hospital for care. 

The Mayo Clinic notes a TBI can be mild, moderate or severe. The symptoms vary based on which type it is. In addition, symptoms may not show up right away. It can take weeks sometimes for symptoms to appear. This is important to note because it is common to watch for signs right after an injury and then if nothing comes up to forget about it. With a brain injury, though, you have to be diligent for a few weeks.