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Doctors and other medical professionals have a moral and legal obligation to do no harm to their patients. They must refer to the appropriate standard of care for a patient’s condition and meet that standard with their treatment and medical advice. Some patients may develop additional medical complications due to a negligent medical professional’s actions, or they may suffer tremendous pain and psychological suffering due to negligent medical treatment. Some victims may wonder if they have grounds for legal recourse after experiencing emotional distress.
How to File a Lawsuit for Emotional Distress
If you suffered a physical injury or illness due to negligent medical treatment you would likely qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional responsible for causing the damage. The emotional distress you experienced from developing a permanent disability would be related to your physical injury, so you could expect compensation for your emotional distress in addition to your other damages in the lawsuit. However, it would be very difficult to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit solely for emotional distress.
Most states place specific restrictions for civil claims based on emotional distress. Generally, an individual can only sue solely for emotional distress damages if he or she witnessed the wrongful death of a close blood relative, was present in the immediate danger zone of a witnessed fatal incident or following any mishandling of a deceased loved one’s body.
The court may also allow emotional distress claims more leniently for claimants who qualify as “eggshell plaintiffs,” or especially vulnerable individuals such as children who witness the death of a parent, elderly individuals who suffer from various medical complications and diminished resilience, and pregnant women.
Intentional Torts and Actual Malice
The rare instance of a physician or other medical professional intentionally inflicting emotional distress on a patient knowingly, willingly, and/or for personal gain would likely qualify the plaintiff for emotional distress damages. For example, imagine a specialist tells a patient he has a certain medical condition requiring careful treatment at risk of the patient’s life, and the doctor attempts to keep the patient billed for unnecessary medical treatments in a pattern of exploitation.
Upon discovery of this or any similar type of deception, the patient would likely experience severe emotional distress in addition to the distress experienced from the doctor’s false diagnosis. This may be an extreme example, but generally emotional distress in and of itself does not constitute grounds for legal action unless the defendant acted with actual malice or intent to cause emotional distress or other harm.
To succeed with a lawsuit against a medical professional for emotional distress, the plaintiff and his or her lawyer would need to prove the defendant’s conduct was extreme, outrageous, or intentionally harmful or exploitative. The plaintiff would also have to prove the extent of his or her emotional distress, including producing proof the plaintiff sought mental health counseling or other support services due to his or her traumatic experience, prescriptions for any required psychiatric medications, and testimony from coworkers, friends, and family members attesting to the changes in the plaintiff’s mental health following the conduct in question.
Types of Emotional Distress Claims
Different types of emotional distress claims fall under different rules state by state.
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress pertains to emotional distress as the result of the defendant’s lack of care, such as a mistake in a diagnostic procedure or incorrect prescription.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress pertains to direct, knowing, and willful abuse.
- Parasitic emotional distress refers to emotional suffering related to other damages, such as the emotional stress resulting after developing a permanent disability.
If you recently experienced emotional distress as a result of a medical professional’s conduct, consulting with a medical malpractice lawyer in Bakersfield can help you determine your best options for legal recourse. An attorney can determine whether the doctor’s conduct was reasonable and foreseeable given the circumstances in question and weigh his or her actions against the typical standard of care for the patient’s condition.
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most severe injuries a human being can sustain, and these injuries can have unpredictable long-term and permanent effects. Anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury should pay very close attention to his or her doctor’s instructions and treatment plan and report any new symptoms or changes in symptoms immediately.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Concussions are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries seen in the U.S., commonly resulting from car accidents, sports injuries, and interpersonal violence. A concussion occurs when an external force causes the brain to strike the inside surface of the skull. The human brain sits in the cranial cavity with a cushion of fluid surrounding it to protect it from the jagged surface of the inside of the skull. When a strong blow causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull, the damage may be minor or cause life-altering problems for the victim.
Most people who suffer mild concussions recover within a week or two with lots of rest and avoiding strenuous activities. However, some people may experience persistent uncomfortable or painful symptoms for months or even years following concussions. Additionally, suffering a concussion increases the victim’s vulnerability to future concussions. The symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome or persistent concussion symptoms include nausea, confusion, severe headaches, personality changes, and more.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain is incredibly complex and powerful, but it is still vulnerable to injury. A penetrating head wound like a gunshot, knife wound, or impact wound from debris could cause fatal damage to the human brain. However, a victim who survives such an injury may experience a wide range of possible symptoms of various levels of severity.
Some people who experience severe traumatic brain injuries may develop personality changes, suffer cognitive difficulties, or experience memory loss or trouble making new memories. Others may only experience slight discomfort such as recurring mild headaches or changes in sensory perception. For others, the changes can be more dramatic. They may suffer amnesia, experience complete personality shifts, or develop secondary medical conditions related to their head injuries that severely diminish quality of life.
Many traumatic brain injuries cause long-term or permanent damage. A victim who enters a comatose or vegetative state following a traumatic brain injury may sustain further brain damage, potentially resulting in permanent neurological, behavioral, or cognitive impairment. These individuals may then require constant supervision and 24-hour daily care at home or an assisted living facility or hospital.
The effects of a traumatic brain injury are unpredictable. The type, size, and severity of the injury are only a few factors that determine the long-term effects. The victim’s overall medical status, age, preexisting medical conditions, and environmental factors may all influence his or her future prognosis. However, many severe brain injuries often result in life-changing disabilities, permanent mental deficiencies, and require long-term or permanent medical care and supervision.
Worsening Symptoms Over Time
Unfortunately, many of the long-term negative symptoms resulting from a traumatic brain injury will worsen over time. Some victims may experience progressively worsening headaches while others develop more extensive memory or sensory difficulties after their injuries. Others may develop disabilities that lead to depression, anxiety, anger, and secondary medical complications.
A brain injury victim should follow all physician instructions carefully and make all necessary medical appointments. If he or she requires ongoing care following a traumatic brain injury, his or her primary caregiver must stay alert for any sudden changes in the patient’s behavior or symptoms. Some traumatic brain injuries can damage the structure of the brain and cause it to deteriorate over time, and vigilance can help prevent potentially fatal complications from these issues. For more information on how to recover compensation for a TBI, speak with a brain injury attorney in Bakersfield.
When we visit our doctors, we trust them with some of the most sensitive and personal situations we encounter. However, some doctors can breach our trust and lie about certain treatments, conditions, and outcomes. This act can lead to painful consequences, such as delayed or improper treatment and emotional trauma.
Why Do Doctors Lie to Patients?
Many doctors admit to telling lies to their patients. However, not all of these lies lead to harm to the patients. A 2012 nationwide survey from Harvard Medical School revealed the following statistics about physician honesty:
- One-third of surveyed physicians said that they do not share serious medical errors with patients.
- Two-fifths of physicians said that they did not disclose financial conflicts of interests with pharmaceutical and device companies to patients.
- Over 55% of physicians often described their patients’ condition in a more positive light than they should have.
Technically, doctors can lie to patients – as long as these lies do not result in harm to the patient in question. However, lies that lead to improper medications, unnecessary treatment, additional health complications, and other injuries could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Proving Medical Malpractice in California
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional in California, your attorney will have to satisfy a number of factors.
- He or she must prove that you and the doctor had a doctor-patient relationship and the doctor therefore owed you a duty of care. If you ask advice from a friend who is a doctor, for example, you cannot hold him or her liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Your attorney must prove that the doctor breached the standard of care when he or she administered care to you.
- Your attorney must prove that a similarly trained and educated doctor would not have breached the standard of care in the same circumstances.
- Your attorney must prove that the breach of care led to your injuries.
- Your attorney must prove that your injuries led to economic or non-economic losses, such as additional medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Only in certain circumstances can a doctor’s lie be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you can prove that the lie led to your injuries and damages, and that you can collect financial compensation for these damages, you could file a claim against the doctor in question.
The Importance of Informed Consent
One of the most central elements to medical practice is obtaining informed consent from a patient. You must consent to your medical treatment after the doctor provides you with information on the treatment. You should receive the following information from your doctor:
- A complete diagnosis
- The purpose and process of potential treatments
- The benefits and risks of potential treatments
- The benefits and risks of not receiving treatments
If your doctor lies or withholds vital information during this process, or fails to obtain informed consent at all, you cannot consent to medical treatment. If you receive treatment anyway, you could hold your doctor liable for not obtaining your informed consent and file a medical malpractice claim against him or her.
Possible Damages in California Medical Malpractice Cases
Under California law, you can collect compensation for economic and non-economic damages from medical malpractice lawsuits. California caps non-economic damages at $250,000, while economic damages remain uncapped. If you can prove that your doctor’s lie led to any of the following losses, you can collect damages:
- Additional medical expenses, not including the conditions present prior to the lie
- Lost wages due to recovery time from an injury or illness caused by the lie
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disability
- Punitive damages for intentional, reckless, and/or especially negligent behavior
A Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney at Rodriguez & Associates can help you determine if you have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Contact a lawyer to discuss the circumstances of your case and learn about your legal options.
When you go to a hospital for surgery, you expect the highest standard of care and for doctors to follow standard procedure. One of the elements of standard procedure for surgery includes full anesthesia to put you to sleep before the surgery. However, in very rare cases, you do not completely fall asleep during your surgery, recall your surroundings, and/or experience pressure or pain – a phenomenon known as anesthesia awareness.
Definition of Anesthesia Awareness
When you visit a hospital for a surgery, you receive medications to help you fall asleep and reduce pain during the surgery. Some anesthesia also induces paralysis so that the patient does not move during the operation. However, this medication can fail to induce unconsciousness in very rare circumstances. You wake up, become aware of certain events during the surgery, and may even feel pain.
Different people have different levels of awareness. Some may recall brief memories, others may remember specific moments. Others feel a sense of pressure, while others can feel pain. In very rare cases, some patients can experience paralysis but remain awake and feel pain during the surgery. This instance can lead to lasting damage.
Why Does Anesthesia Awareness Occur?
Researchers do not know the exact cause of anesthesia awareness. Causes of anesthesia awareness can range from preexisting conditions to doctor error and medical equipment malfunction. Surgeries that do not use general anesthesia also have higher instances of anesthesia awareness. However, the condition is most common in patients with multiple medical conditions or who are receiving a certain surgery.
Surgeries with high anesthesia awareness rates include emergency C-sections, surgery for traumatic injuries, and certain heart surgeries. In these cases, doctors cannot safely administer the appropriate amount of anesthesia and patients do not completely fall asleep. In addition, anesthesia awareness can occur if the doctors do not administer anesthesia properly. Sometimes, the equipment meant to monitor anesthesia levels fails.
Possible Damages From Anesthesia Awareness
In the most severe cases of anesthesia awareness, patients can leave with lasting psychological damage due to their experiences. You may develop post-traumatic stress disorder due to your experience. You can also develop other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and an unavoidable preoccupation with death. Repetitive nightmares and irritability are also common damages from anesthesia awareness.
Can You File a Lawsuit for Anesthesia Awareness?
In certain circumstances, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in California civil court for anesthesia awareness. To do so, your attorney must prove the following factors:
- He or she must prove that you and the surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other people involved in your case had a doctor-patient relationship. Visiting a hospital for surgery can establish this factor.
- Your attorney must prove that your surgeon breached a standard of care, and that this breach led to the anesthesia awareness. In these cases, this breach can include improperly setting up equipment, ignoring signs of distress during surgery, or not administering anesthesia properly.
- Your attorney must prove that a similarly trained and educated doctor would not have made the same mistake and you would have not suffered damages due to anesthesia awareness.
- Your attorney must prove that you suffered damages because of the anesthesia awareness. In these cases, the damages are likely non-economic such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of quality of life. In California, you can claim up to $250,000 in non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Proving a medical malpractice case for anesthesia awareness can be difficult due to the irregular nature of the injury. Many different factors can contribute to this phenomenon, and not all of them involve medical malpractice. To determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit for your anesthesia awareness case, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Bakersfield.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be one of the most traumatic experiences a patient can encounter. In addition, cancer treatments are notoriously harsh and lead to painful side effects. After months of chemo and emotional trauma, learning that your doctor misdiagnosed your condition can add additional pain on top of your experience – and in California, you can pursue legal action against your doctor for the misdiagnosis.
Your Legal Options for Cancer Misdiagnosis
Depending on the circumstances of your diagnosis, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor for misdiagnosis of cancer. If your doctor breached the professional standard of care during misdiagnosis and you suffered losses as a result, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact a Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case.
With a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can claim the following compensation for damages due to the misdiagnosis:
- Medical expenses incurred due to the false diagnosis
- Future medical expenses due to injuries incurred during the course of treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost wages due to cancer treatment
- Punitive damages for reckless, intentional, or especially negligent behavior
How Do Doctors Misdiagnose Cancer?
With training and a proper educational background, you would think that doctors would be able to tell the difference between cancer and other medical conditions. However, many factors can lead to the misdiagnosis of cancer:
- Unqualified medical staff. When you receive a cancer-screening test, specialists interpret the findings. However, certain hospitals may assign a doctor who does not have a background in cancer screening to analyze the results. This act can lead to cancer misdiagnosis.
- Oversensitive or malfunctioning screening tools. Screening technology can make significant errors when reading cancer test samples. You may receive a false positive from this equipment and your doctor can misdiagnose you with cancer.
- Intentional misdiagnosis. While these cases are very rare, certain lawsuits have involved doctors who intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer. Usually, the motive for this act is financial. The more treatments a patient receives, the more money the doctor gets from the insurance companies.
Potential Injuries Suffered by Cancer Misdiagnosis
Although receiving word that you do not have cancer may be a relief for many people, you likely already suffered harm as a result of cancer treatment. In addition, you may have an underlying condition that worsened as a result of delayed treatment. You can suffer significantly painful side effects from unnecessary cancer treatments:
- Appetite loss
- Hair loss
- Loss of fertility and sexual function
- Nerve problems
- Lymphedema, or fluid buildup in the lymph nodes
- Anemia and fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Infection, including urinary and bladder problems
- Mouth and throat problems
- Skin and nail changes
- Delirium and confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory and concentration issues
- Constipation and diarrhea
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case in California
To prove a medical malpractice case in California, you will need to satisfy the following factors:
- Your attorney must prove that you and your doctor had an established doctor-patient relationship and therefore, your doctor owed you a standard of care.
- Your attorney must prove that your doctor breached this standard of care through misdiagnosis.
- Your attorney must prove that a similarly educated and trained doctor would not have made the same misdiagnosis in the same situation.
- Your attorney must prove that you suffered injuries because of the misdiagnosis.
- Your attorney must prove that your injuries led to losses, such as medical bills and pain and suffering.
Proving a case of medical malpractice can be difficult. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney is the key to proving these cases. Your attorney can consult with medical experts, gather necessary evidence, and craft a compelling case on your behalf. If you discover a cancer misdiagnosis and need compensation for your losses, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Posted in Personal Injury on January 22, 2019
Dealing with a personal injury lawsuit becomes much easier with help from a skilled personal injury attorney in Bakersfield. A personal injury lawyer can take care of complex legal processes on your behalf, and help you fight for full and fair compensation for damages. With a number of advertisements for lawyers on local television and online, however, it can be difficult to find the best personal injury attorney for you. Finding the right one will take establishing your goals, meeting with one or two, and using recommendations.
Identify Your Criteria
Different things may be more important to different clients. One car accident victim may prioritize a law firm that is physically close by, for example, while another could be more open to hiring a national firm from farther away. List your top priorities you would like to find in an attorney. Then, add a few general things every personal injury victim should look for in a lawyer.
- Experience in the practice area
- Proven case results
- Positive client testimonials
- License in your state
- Affordable fees
Create a list that will help guide your search for the perfect lawyer. Identify your goals for your case, as this can help you choose. Do you want to achieve a settlement as quickly as possible, or would you be willing to take a case to trial for maximum recovery? If you believe a trial might be an option, you will want a lawyer with courtroom experience.
Get a Referral
Referrals can point you in the direction of a lawyer with an established, reputable history in the community who fits your criteria list. They can come from trusted sources of information, such as friends or family members who have used the attorney or an online lawyer database such as NOLO’s law firm directory. In a directory, you can find detailed information about each attorney suitable for your needs, including the lawyer’s education, philosophy, and experience.
You may also be able to get a referral to a firm from a different lawyer – perhaps one that you have worked with before, but who does not accept cases in the practice area you need. Check with your county bar association for a referral service that may make the names of local lawyers available to you by practice area. Find a referral source the state bar association has approved. Otherwise, you may not be able to trust the information you find, or it may have biases.
Pick Three to Five to Shortlist
Using referrals or an online search, select three to five law firms that fit your criteria. Do this using information on their websites, attorney bios, and firm reviews or testimonials. Then, call each law office and get a feel for the firm. If the person who answers the phone is friendly and agrees that your case is one the lawyer may be able to help with, schedule a consultation. Initial consultations should be free and come at no obligation to hire the firm.
Meet with Lawyers
A lawyer may look great on paper, but might not be the right fit for you or your case. Sometimes, it takes meeting the lawyer in person to ascertain whether he or she is the top choice. Use your free consultations to meet with lawyers and conduct interviews. Come to your meetings prepared, with documents and information about your case and several questions to ask.
Questions can include: “How much experience do you have in my practice area?” “How long do you think my case will take?” and “What is my case worth?” Also ask about fees and processes. Once you decide an attorney is a perfect fit, you will need to create a written fee agreement and sign a contract. You may also need to pay a retainer, or an upfront fee to retain the lawyer. No matter what attorney you choose, he or she should keep you updated as your case progresses.
Posted in Personal Injury on January 15, 2019
The free consultation is something most personal injury lawyers offer potential clients, to answer their questions and hear their concerns without cost or obligation. It is an opportunity for accident victims to receive honest answers from legal professionals without any out-of-pocket costs or risks. The information gleaned in a free consultation can determine how the victim proceeds with a case. Asking the right questions can help an accident victim make the most of his or her time with a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield.
Does the Lawyer Have Experience with Similar Cases?
Experience is key to strong personal injury claim representation. Experience handling cases within a certain practice area can give a lawyer familiarity with the subject matter, as well as connections to related experts and investigators. It means the lawyer has experienced the potential pitfalls a victim may encounter along the way, and knows how to navigate your claim with the highest level of skill. Verify that the attorney has experience handling cases like yours before you hire.
What Kind of Success Rate Has the Firm Had?
You do not want an law firm handling your serious personal injury claim. You want a firm with a proven record of success. Although past results do not guarantee future ones, looking at a law firm’s victories for other clients can prove the firm has what it takes to secure maximum compensation. Take a look at case results on the firm’s website, or ask the lawyer for a list of top settlements and jury verdicts won in the last five years. Verifying wins in your practice area can help you have more confidence in your attorney’s abilities.
Does the Firm Have the Power to Take a Case to Court?
Most personal injury claims settle out of court, without the need for a trial. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate an insurance settlement on your behalf can improve your odds of securing a fair compensation offer without going to the expense or inconvenience of a trial. However, some cases require trials to achieve just results. Look for a firm with the capacity to take your case to court, if necessary. Otherwise, you may have to switch attorneys partway through your case, finding one with trial experience to continue negotiations.
Who Will Be Working on the Case?
Some law firms pass cases off to paralegals, junior attorneys, or assistants, rather than having lead attorneys work on the case. This can lead to communication lapses and lower-quality representation. As a victim, you need to gauge the skill and experience of the person who will actually be working on your case. A firm that uses more than one lawyer per case is fine; it means a well-coordinated group of professionals will handle different aspects of your claim. It is also acceptable for a firm to pass off routine processes, such as paperwork, to less-experienced lawyers.
What Is the Lawyer’s Evaluation of the Case?
One of the main goals of the free consultation is to come away with an idea of where you stand as an accident victim. The lawyer should be able to gather information from you about your accident and let you know if he or she thinks you have grounds for a case. If so, the lawyer should give you a few options you could take moving forward. Finally, the lawyer should be able to estimate the value of your claim, as well as how long it will probably take to settle. Get as much information about your case as you can during the free evaluation.
How Much Do Services Cost?
Many accident victims mistakenly believe they cannot afford the costs of hiring an attorney. However, this is not true if the lawyer operates on a contingency-fee basis. Contingent fees mean the victim will only pay attorney’s fees if the lawyer secures a financial award for the case. If the lawyer does win, he or she will take a percentage of the settlement or verdict as the legal fee. That way, an accident victim never has to pay out-of-pocket for services. Ask the lawyer about his or her fee arrangement, as well as the average percentage charged.
Posted in Personal Injury on January 8, 2019
Suffering injuries in a car crash, slip and fall, workplace accident, or another incident can lead to complex and difficult legal matters for the victim. Phone calls from insurance companies, medical bill collectors, and legal fault for the accident are all elements the victim may have to navigate. If you recently sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may benefit from the services of a personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you can receive professional counsel without cost or obligation.
How Serious Are Your Injuries?
Serious injuries temporarily or permanently disable the victim. They can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, burns, spinal cord injuries, eye injuries, neck injuries, and loss of a limb. Serious injuries can cost thousands of dollars in hospital bills during treatment and rehabilitation. They can also cost the victim thousands in lost wages. If you suffered serious injuries in an accident, or a loved one died and you wish to file a wrongful death claim, hire an attorney.
A lawyer is important in serious cases, because the victim is facing hefty losses. Rather than settling for less than the case is worth, a victim should hire an attorney to fight for full and fair compensation for major injuries, disabilities, and damages. Hiring a Bakersfield personal injury attorney can help an accident victim get the financial recovery he or she needs to move forward. Personal injury lawyers often work on a contingency-fee basis, so you will not pay for services unless your lawyer wins your case. You will pay from your settlement or judgment, not out of pocket.
Does Your Claim Involve the Government?
You could benefit from the assistance of a lawyer if a government agency or employee caused or contributed to your personal injuries. Claims against the government in California are possible, but they are more difficult than typical injury claims. According to the California Tort Claims Act, lawsuits against the government must come within six months of the date of the accident. This is different from the standard two-year statute of limitations. Missing your deadline generally means losing your right to file the claim. Hiring a lawyer can ensure you do not miss an important filing deadline in a tort claim against the federal or state government.
How Confident Are You as a Negotiator?
Insurance company claims adjusters, or the people who review and evaluate claims, are expert negotiators. They have had training and experience in convincing accident victims to settle for as little money as possible. It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money by minimizing settlements. When a victim does not have legal representation, it is easier for a claims adjuster to take advantage of the situation.
Unless you have experience negotiating settlements with insurance carriers, hire a lawyer to take over negotiations for you. The act of hiring a lawyer alone could result in a higher settlement, since the insurance company knows you have the power to take your case to trial and will try to avoid this. A lawyer has experience going up against large insurance corporations in pursuit of fair financial recovery. He or she could achieve more positive results on your behalf.
Could You Benefit from Experts?
A law firm grants accident victims access to resources and professionals that can be helpful during a claim. These may include subject matter specialists, reputable doctors, investigators, and expert key witnesses. Experts can strengthen a case and help prove the plaintiff’s point. A medical expert on a malpractice claim, for example, can help establish a doctor’s duty of care and explain to a jury how the doctor in the case breached this duty. Most personal injury cases can benefit from the help of professionals. Consult with a lawyer for free about your case, and discover all the ways an attorney could benefit your recovery.
Meconium aspiration syndrome is one of the most common life-threatening medical conditions a newborn can experience, appearing in about 5% to 10% of all births. Several risk factors can increase the chance of an infant developing meconium aspiration syndrome, and it is vital for parents to know these risk factors and consult with their doctors closely about any concerns.
How Does Meconium Aspiration Syndrome Happen?
Meconium is the medical term for the first fecal matter a fetus produces in the womb. Under certain conditions, an unborn infant may expel meconium into the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb and then aspirate it. This can cause a severe infection that can jeopardize the baby’s life. Meconium Aspiration Syndrome most commonly occurs with babies in fetal distress, babies still in the womb past their due dates, and during difficult deliveries.
Treatments for Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
When an attending physician first recognizes the signs of meconium aspiration syndrome, the first step in addressing the issue is to suction the baby’s mouth as soon as possible. This will extract the meconium from the baby’s trachea, and the suction should continue until no trace of meconium appears in the suction device tube. If the meconium causes thick staining or the baby shows signs of distress, then the doctor may insert an endotracheal tube to suction out the last remaining traces of meconium.
A baby who undergoes this treatment will likely need intensive neonatal care. Doctors may administer antibiotics to prevent infection, implement a breathing machine to help keep the baby’s lungs inflated, and use a warmer to maintain body temperature. Light tapping on the baby’s chest can help loosen any secretions for easier removal as well.
In some cases, using suction is not advisable as it can cause a baby to develop pneumonia. If a baby arrives full-term at a healthy size with no signs of fetal distress, then doctors may use a saline solution to clear away meconium staining instead of using deep suction.
Can Malpractice Cause Meconium Aspiration Syndrome?
Difficult labor is the most common cause of meconium aspiration syndrome. A difficult delivery typically means the baby will be moving inside the mother more than usual, and this can make it easier for meconium to dislodge, combine with amniotic fluid, and then become lodged in the baby’s windpipe during delivery. Other risk factors for meconium aspiration syndrome are:
- Decreased fetal oxygen levels while still in utero
- The pregnant mother’s diabetes
- The mother’s high blood pressure
- Difficult labor
- Fetal distress
These issues require immediate attention. If an attending physician did not properly monitor the mother’s or the baby’s vital signs and the baby develops meconium aspiration syndrome as a result, the physician committed medical malpractice and is liable for the resulting damages. A doctor may also face liability for medical malpractice for failing to recognize and address the signs of meconium aspiration syndrome in a newborn.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Meconium aspiration syndrome can lead to persistent pulmonary hypertension, collapsed lungs, brain damage from lack of oxygen, aspiration pneumonia, and a host of other possible medical conditions. If a doctor causes this condition due to negligence or failure to meet the appropriate standard of care for the patient’s condition, then the doctor is liable for any medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering resulting from treating the baby’s condition.
It is essential for any parents who have had a child experience meconium aspiration syndrome to know their rights and legal options for recovery. Meconium Aspiration Syndrome has the potential to cause lifelong damage to a newborn baby, and doctors who negligently cause this condition or fail to treat it correctly are responsible for the damage they cause. Learn more by speaking with a Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer.
Concussions are some of the most common traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Although treatable and relatively mild compared to more severe brain injuries, concussions can still cause severe medical complications and leave victims more susceptible to concussions in the future. One of the most problematic possible effects of a concussion is the manifestation of Post-Concussion Syndrome, a medical condition that can entail a host of adverse symptoms.
What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-Concussion Syndrome is a very complex medical condition that entails different symptoms for everyone who experiences the condition. It is important to note that Post-Concussion Syndrome applies to the symptoms a person experiences following a concussion and the term does not necessarily describe an exact set of symptoms.
Symptoms following a concussion typically subside within a week to ten days, but they can persist for months or even more than a year. Some reported symptoms are common following concussions.
- Headaches, specifically tension headaches. It is also possible for a concussion victim to have tension headaches because of a neck injury that occurred at the same time as the concussion.
- Rest is one of the most important treatments following a concussion. It is possible for a concussion victim to experience dizzy spells from standing up too fast or from remaining standing for too long.
- A concussion can make a victim feel sapped of his or her energy, and these feelings can persist for some time. Again, rest is a very effective treatment.
- Irritability and mood swings. A concussion can cause unpredictable changes in a person’s personality, and Post-Concussion Syndrome has a tendency to cause mood swings and episodes of intense agitation.
- Insomnia and sleep difficulties. A person struggling with Post-Concussion Syndrome may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and lack of sleep can potentially exacerbate other symptoms.
- Memory problems. Post-Concussion Syndrome can interfere with memories and cause short-term memory difficulties following the injury.
- Sensitivity to sound and light. One of the most common symptoms of a concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome is increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Understanding the Effects of a Concussion
Medical research still has not pinpointed the exact reason why some concussion victims develop permanent symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome while others appear to make full recoveries in a matter of days to weeks. Some believe that a concussion causes structural damage to the brain itself which can, in turn, alter several brain functions. The brain may adapt to these changes and alter patterns of cognition and behavior rather than returning to normal after healing, so it is possible for a person to display significant personality changes after a concussion.
It is impossible to accurately predict how long Post-Concussion Syndrome will last for a particular patient. However, research has indicated that people who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and anxiety are statistically more likely to suffer from long-term Post-Concussion Syndrome symptoms. Social environment, family support, and coping skills also seem to play a role in this.
Managing Post-Concussion Syndrome
Since you cannot predict how long Post-Concussion Syndrome will last for an individual, the best thing to do is to follow the attending physician’s instructions, get lots of rest, and take medications to manage unpleasant symptoms. It is important to track any changes in your condition after a concussion, for better or worse. If you notice some symptoms starting to increase in severity, notify your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of severe brain damage or another medical condition.
It is also crucial for anyone who has had a concussion to do everything possible to limit the chance of additional concussions in the future. For example, if you sustained a severe concussion while playing a team sport and experienced Post-Concussion Syndrome symptoms for several months, this should be a sign that it would be best to avoid returning to that sport in the future. In the event somebody else’s negligence caused your brain injury, speak with a knowledgeable Bakersfield brain injury lawyer to learn about your options for financial recovery.