Top 7 Reasons to Sue for Medical Malpractice in Wisconsin Internet research is not as effective as a free case assessment from an experienced lawyer.

In order to prove medical malpractice occurred, our personal injury lawyers must be able to prove the doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical professional did not provide the appropriate standard of care and caused harm to the patient. An expert witness must testify to what a competent doctor would have done and what the accused doctor did wrong. The physician’s care does not have to be perfect, but it must be reasonably careful and skillful. Medical malpractice does not include every tiny mistake or unsuccessful treatment. Every patient responds differently to treatments, so there is always a risk of complications in medical care. Poor results of treatment or surgery – even death – do not always mean medical malpractice occurred. Warshafsky has a medical doctor (who is also a lawyer) on staff to help establish liability and get you compensation. 

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The 7 most common reasons to sue for medical malpractice

1. Hospital negligence & emergency room malpractice

When pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the hospital, VA, or emergency room is liable for the actions of its employees, including:

  • Nurses
  • Medical technicians
  • Paramedics

If a hospital employee harmed someone while doing something job-related, the patient can sue the hospital for the injury. However, doctors are often independent contractors, not hospital employees. In these cases, as long as the patient knew the doctor was not employed by the hospital, the hospital is not liable. Not every case of negligence in a hospital in considered malpractice. For example, if a custodian employed by the hospital fails to put out a “Wet Floor” sign and someone falls and is injured, it is a case of standard negligence, not medical malpractice.

Types of hospital malpractice injuries 

There are a wide range of reasons a hospital can be held accountable for malpractice, including but not limited to:

  • Nurse administers medication incorrectly (wrong dosage, wrong drug, etc.)
  • Nurse fails to follow doctor’s instructions or treatment plan
  • Hospital staff improperly dresses/treats wounds, causing infection
  • Medical technicians give anesthesia or drugs they should have known would cause a reaction for you
  • Poor hospital staff hygiene
  • Keeping inaccurate patient records
  • Failure to properly disinfect any rooms or equipment
  • Failure to make sure all staff and independent contractors have proper credentials (education, training, licenses)
  • Failure to have enough nurses, technicians, and other staff available

If you believe any of these or similar situations happened to you or your loved one in the hospital, contact our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible.

ER errors and first responder negligence 

First responders (such as emergency medical technicians, ambulance crews, and firefighters) are generally protected from malpractice lawsuits due to the dangerous and unpredictable nature of their work and in order to preserve emergency services. If a first responder behaves recklessly or negligently, or if they intentionally cause an injury, their employer is held responsible.

Once a patient arrives at the emergency room, the ER doctors and nurses are held to standard medical malpractice regulations. It’s important to remember medical malpractice means a competent doctor in the same situation would have done something differently and prevented the injury. Due to the circumstances in an ER, physicians’ mistakes usually have to be quite severe to be considered negligence.

Other instances of emergency room malpractice include refusing to treat a patient. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the ER is required to examine and stabilize (as much as possible) any patient who arrives, whether they can pay or not. The hospital (not the ER doctor) can be held responsible for the violation of this rule, even if the ER transferred the patient to another facility instead of directly refusing to treat.

Good Samaritan rule

The Good Samaritan rule protects doctors, nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals if they offer assistance in an emergency outside the hospital. Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan statute states:

“Any person who renders emergency care at the scene of any emergency or accident in good faith shall be immune from civil liability for his or her acts or omissions in rendering such emergency care. This immunity does not extend when employees trained in health care or health care professionals render emergency care for compensation and within the scope of their usual and customary employment or practice at a hospital or other institution equipped with hospital facilities, at the scene of any emergency or accident, en route to a hospital or other institution equipped with hospital facilities or at a physician’s office.”

Off-duty doctors and non-medical professionals are judged by the Good Samaritan law, not medical malpractice standards, unless the patient has a doctor-patient relationship with the rescuing doctor.

2. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis

One of the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits involves the doctor misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose an illness. When you tell the doctor about your problem, it’s reasonable to expect an accurate diagnosis so you can begin the correct treatment as soon as possible. With the wrong diagnosis, you could miss out on effective treatments, be given the wrong (and potentially harmful) treatment, and suffer unnecessary injury or wrongful death.

In order to prove medical malpractice occurred, our personal injury attorneys and medical experts will thoroughly investigate your experience, comparing your doctor’s actions with how other similar doctors would have acted. If we can show that another competent doctor would not have made the diagnostic error, then we will be able to pursue your doctor for misdiagnosis medical malpractice and get a high settlement or judgment for your personal injury.

3. Prescription medication errors

Prescription drug mistakes can be dangerous – even deadly. Medical malpractice involving prescriptions can occur at any step in the process, from the pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers, and marketers to the nurse who administered the drugs. A serious medication error could be:

  • Wrong medication prescribed
  • Wrong dosage
    • Written incorrectly on prescription by doctor
    • Administered incorrectly by nurse
    • Administered incorrectly by malfunctioning equipment
  • Failure to see harmful drug interaction or other complications
  • Manufacturing defective or unsafe medications
  • Illegible prescription

Receiving the wrong medication or dosage due to a pharmaceutical error or any other circumstance could, at the very least, delay their correct treatment and, at worst, lead to death.

4. Anesthesia errors

Even when everything is done right, all types of anesthesia – local, regional, and general – come with the risk of side effects. The smallest mistake by an anesthesiologist can cause permanent injury, brain damage, or wrongful death. Malpractice may occur before anesthesia is even administered if the anesthesiologist fails to check the patient’s medical history or give the patient the proper preoperative instructions. Our personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death attorneys will discover the root cause and leave no stone unturned in our investigation.

Types of anesthesia errors during surgery include:

  • Too much or too little anesthesia
  • Incorrect anesthetic drug
  • Failure to monitor vital signs
  • Failure to properly intubate
  • Improper intubation
  • Defective equipment

Effects of anesthesia errors

Anesthesia Mistakes Lawsuit MilwaukeeIf a patient receives too little anesthesia, they may remain awake during their surgery, unable to move or speak to inform the surgeon. This traumatic experience is known as anesthesia awareness and can cause the patient to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Other results of anesthesia malpractice can include:

  • Brain damage
  • Organ damage
  • Heart problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

If you or a loved one has suffered due to anesthesia errors, trust our Wisconsin medical malpractice law firm to fight for your rights and for the highest possible verdict.

5. Medical negligence affecting pregnancy and childbirth

If you or your child were harmed due to negligence during pregnancy or childbirth, you may have a case for medical malpractice. Whether you have a separate gynecologist and obstetrician or you go to an OB/GYN, there is often overlap between obstetrics and gynecological care, especially when it comes to early pregnancy care. All obstetricians are trained in gynecology, but the opposite is not always true.

Sue gynecologist for malpractice

Aside from negligence in pregnancy and childbirth, improper gynecological care can result in serious complications due to:

  • Incorrectly operated gynecological surgery
  • Unrecognized injury during surgery
  • Improperly performed office procedures
  • Incorrectly read lab results, Pap smears, and pathology reports

Severe complications can occur from mistakes in even the simplest of procedures. Laparoscopy can result in injury to nearby organs, excessive bleeding, and sepsis (a life-threatening inflammatory response to an infection). A misread Pap smear or pathology report can lead to an unnecessary hysterectomy.

Both mother and child can be harmed if the obstetrician fails to notice a birth defect or the following conditions in the mother before childbirth:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Anemia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Genital herpes
  • Neonatal lupus
  • Other diseases that could be contagious from mother to child
  • Ectopic pregnancy (embryo implants somewhere other than uterus, such as fallopian tube)

Negligence during childbirth  

Childbirth can be dangerous for both mother and child even with a skilled, experienced, and competent obstetrician handling delivery. A negligent physician may be liable for malpractice if he or she fails to:

  • Prepare for complications due to the baby’s large size
  • Anticipate complications due to a tangled umbilical cord
  • Properly respond to signs of fetal distress
  • Order a cesarean section (C-section) when appropriate or necessary
  • Correctly use forceps or vacuum extractor during childbirth

Although it is impossible to prevent all complications, OB/GYNs (and all doctors) have a duty to provide reasonably skillful and careful treatment. If you or your baby were harmed during pregnancy or childbirth due to the negligent actions of your gynecologist, obstetrician, or OB/GYN, our medical malpractice attorneys will ensure you get the financial compensation you deserve.

6. Dentist and orthodontist malpractice

When dental malpractice occurs, patients have the right to file a dental malpractice lawsuit, as well as file a complaint with the state dental board. Common types of dental malpractice lawsuits include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to correctly diagnose and treat oral cancer, periodontal (gum) disease, and other conditions
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed treatment
  • Unnecessary tooth extraction

Orthodontic malpractice lawsuits may involve the improper use of metal braces or Invisalign braces. If applied incorrectly or not properly monitored, braces can lead to gum disease, jaw problems, teeth extractions, and future surgeries or orthodontic treatments. Similarly, Invisalign braces are only approved for certain circumstances. If used outside those situations, Invisalign can cause serious damage to the patient’s mouth.

Our medical and dental malpractice attorneys in Milwaukee have the experience and knowledge for your dentist or orthodontist malpractice lawsuit. We gather evidence and expert testimonies to get you the greatest settlement or jury judgement possible for your personal injury.

7. Surgical errors and malpractice

Surgical malpractice can refer to the negligence of any medical staff involved in a surgery, including the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and surgical nurse. The known risks of surgery are exempt from liability because patients typically sign an informed consent form beforehand. Surgical errors, on the other hand, are unexpected, preventable mistakes that cause harm to the patient.

  • Anesthesiology errors
  • Punctured organs
  • Damaged nerves
  • Operating on wrong body part or wrong patient
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside the body
  • Accidental damage to nerve, organ, blood vessel, etc.
  • Nursing staff negligent with post-op care, causing severe infections

Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, can have devastating consequences for patients. From a surgeon leaving a sponge inside a patient to a nurse administering the wrong dosage of medication, medical professionals who are negligent can cause lasting damage and harm to those they are supposed to help. If you choose to sue the doctor for medical malpractice, our personal injury lawyers will gather the evidence needed to get you the greatest possible compensation.

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What is the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when a doctor makes a mistake that causes harm to a patient. Whether the mistake happened because of simple ignorance or the doctor failed to take action where it was needed, the unintended harm qualifies as medical negligence. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, occurs when a medical professional knowingly failed to follow through with the proper standard of care. Medical malpractice is not necessarily malicious; however, harm has occurred despite the doctor or nurse knowing it could have been prevented with alternative measures.

What are the 4 D’s of medical negligence?

The 4 D's of medical negligence are duty, deviation, direct cause, and damages.

Can I sue my doctor for the wrong diagnosis in Wisconsin?

Yes, you can sue a doctor for giving you the wrong diagnosis for an injury or illness in Wisconsin. A misdiagnosis can make your medical condition worse, delay your correct diagnosis, and result in more harm to you or death. Each of these outcomes violates the medical standard of care that you expect from a medical professional.

What are the most common medical malpractice cases in Wisconsin?

The most common medical malpractice cases in Wisconsin include misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose, prescription errors, childbirth errors, surgical errors and anesthesia errors.