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The blog of PEGALIS & ERICKSON, LLC: a medical malpractice law firm in Long Island representing those suffering from injuries caused by medical errors. Contact us for a free legal consultation today.

Spotlight on Infectious Disease Errors

If you have an infectious disease, being misdiagnosed—or diagnosed too late—can have serious consequences. If an infectious disease isn’t treated and worsens, the changes in your life may be irreversible. That’s why it’s important to be a proactive patient and take the initiative to help ensure that your diagnosis is accurate. Be open and communicative with the healthcare providers you interact with, and don’t hesitate to contact them if your health status changes. If you aren’t satisfied with your current doctor, find a new one. Keep your own medical records, including a list of all your appointments, a record of your symptoms and when you experienced them, and a list of all your medications. Having that information at your fingertips will also be useful for any medical practitioner who is treating you, and it can help to increase the chances of positive patient outcomes.

If you believe you have been misdiagnosed, it’s time to contact Pegalis & Erickson, LLC. You can reach our office in Long Island, New York by calling (516) 858-2194.

Many people do not discover for years that they have gotten the wrong diagnosis. Diagnosing a patient is a challenging and multifaceted process, and there are many points at which the diagnosis can go astray. In many cases, the issue is lack of proper communication between medical professionals and their patients.

If your life—or the life of a loved one—has been disrupted by a delayed diagnosis, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Talk to one of the attorneys at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, for legal guidance that will help you protect your rights. You can set up a free consultation at our office in Long Island, New York, by calling us at (516) 858-2194.

Surprising Facts About Missed and Delayed Diagnoses

When most people go to the doctor, they bring with them the assumption that they will find out if there is anything wrong with their health. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It is nowhere near as rare as you might assume for medical practitioners to fail to diagnose a serious health problem—or to diagnose it too late. Here are some facts that might surprise you:

Diagnostic errors are extremely common. According to a recent study by the Institute of Health, about 5 percent of all Americans who visit a medical professional in the course of a year will receive a faulty diagnosis. This adds up to about 12 million people. The study also observed that the number of diagnostic errors appears to go up over time, as medical treatments increase in complexity.

Almost everyone will receive at least one wrong diagnosis. While 5 percent may not sound like an enormous amount, the number of people who are wrongly diagnosed multiplies with each passing year. The Institute of Health study found that most people living in the U.S. will experience at least one late—or flat-out wrong—diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Diagnostic errors can be hard to identify. It’s easy to assume that you’ll know when you’ve been wrongly diagnosed—but that isn’t necessarily true. Many people do not discover for years that they have gotten the wrong diagnosis. Diagnosing a patient is a challenging and multifaceted process, and there are many points at which the diagnosis can go astray. In many cases, the issue is lack of proper communication between medical professionals and their patients.

If your life—or the life of a loved one—has been disrupted by a delayed diagnosis, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Talk to one of the attorneys at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, for legal guidance that will help you protect your rights. You can set up a free consultation at our office in Long Island, New York, by calling us at (516) 858-2194.

Understanding the Difference Between Mistakes and Malpractice

The legal definition of medical malpractice is often misunderstood. Most doctors, nurses, and medical technicians genuinely try to do their best for their patients, but they’re human and mistakes do happen from time to time. However, the literal definition of medical malpractice is bad practice. Not every medical mistake rises to the level of a legal medical malpractice action. A medical mistake is an incorrect act or an act of omission. For example, a nurse may misread a doctor’s written instructions, and give a patient too much or too little of a medication.

If the patient suffers no harm as the result of the medication error, then it’s merely a mistake which fortunately did not cause harm. Malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider makes a mistake or commits an act or an omission that deviates from the accepted standard of care, and causes harm to the patient.

Medical malpractice cases across New York are what we handle here at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC. Call (516) 858-2194 to request your free case review at no charge.

How Proactive Patients Can Reduce the Risk of Medical Errors

It’s the responsibility of healthcare providers to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients. Unfortunately, acts of medical malpractice and negligence happen every day around the country. Patients can protect themselves by being proactive about identifying and preventing medical errors.

Background Check

You may not always get to choose your doctor, such as when you’re taken to the emergency room. When you do have a choice, take a few minutes to research the doctor’s background. The ideal healthcare provider will have:

  • Training at respectable institutions
  • Board certification in his or her specialty
  • No professional disciplinary actions
  • No consistent history of prior medical malpractice lawsuits

If you’ll be undergoing surgery or another complex treatment, such as treatment of cancer, take a close look at the doctor’s level of experience. For instance, if you’ll be having hip replacement surgery, don’t be afraid to ask your orthopedic surgeon how many of these surgeries he/she has performed, and what is their particular complication/success rate.

Informed Consent
Before having a medical procedure, such as surgery, your doctor is required to obtain your informed consent. In other words, you have the legal right to be fully informed of every aspect of your treatment, including the potential risks and alternatives. You also have the right to reject a proposed treatment after weighing the pros and cons of the plan of care. If you’re uncomfortable with your treatment plan, you can continue to ask questions, learn about your diagnosis and the treatment, and seek a second opinion from another healthcare provider.

Medication Safety
Medication errors are a common type of malpractice. A mistake can occur at any point in the process—from the doctor’s initial prescribing information to the pharmacist’s dispensing actions to the nurse who administers the medicine in the hospital. Before taking any medication, make sure the prescribing doctor has your full health history. If you’re receiving medication in the hospital, ask the nurse to verify the name and dosage of the drug, cross-referenced with your patient records and your medications you are taking

At Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, we’ve made it our life’s work to tirelessly advocate on behalf of patients on their families. Contact our malpractice law firm on Long Island, New York at (516) 858-2194 if you think you’ve been affected by an act of medical negligence. Some of our negligence and wrongful death lawsuits have resulted in multimillion-dollar jury awards for our clients.

What Is the First Thing You Should Do if Your Child Is Injured During Childbirth?

Some birth injuries require immediate care, such as oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. After any sort of birth trauma is diagnosed, the first step to take is to ensure that your child gets the medical treatment he or she needs. Depending on your child’s specific condition, he or she may be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Each hospital’s policies are a little different, but in general, parents can see their baby in the NICU as soon as the newborn has been stabilized and settled in. A nurse or patient navigator will explain what to expect from your child’s stay in the NICU.

Once your baby is stabilized and the situation has calmed down, you should have a longer, in-depth conversation with the healthcare providers, which includes the neonatologist in charge of the NICU, who are treating your child. Take notes and ask plenty of questions. Ask whether your baby should have any additional medical tests or treatments, or should be seen by other specialists such as infectious diseases, pulmonology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and neurology, depending on the situation.

Families affected by birth trauma near Long Island, New York can turn to the medical malpractice lawyers at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC. Call (516) 858-2194 for the answers to your legal questions.

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