A common medical error occurs when a doctor or care provider has an obligation to monitor a patient but doesn’t do so. Keeping tabs on a patient’s condition, observing the patient for signs of trouble and responding in a timely manner to potential problems are all part of providing a reasonable quality of care to a patient. If you or a loved one was hurt because a doctor failed to adequately monitor your health status or condition, you should consult with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have a right to compensation based on the provider’s mistake. Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., without delay. We serve clients throughout Illinois.
Understanding Failure to Monitor Cases
In a number of situations, one of the primary roles of a doctor or care provider is to keep tabs on a patient and react quickly if there is a problem. These situations include:
- After anesthesia has been administered – When a patient is under anesthesia, the anesthesiologist needs to monitor the patient’s vital signs for problems or for an adverse reaction.
- When a patient is undergoing survey – If a doctor has a patient on the table, the doctor needs to keep track of the patient’s oxygen levels and heart rate, among other things, to ensure that the patient doesn’t develop complications.
- When a mother is in labor – Both mother and baby need to be monitored in this case. Fetal heartbeat monitors are just one important tool used to make sure that the mother and baby are healthy and that the process of labor is going well.
- When a patient is receiving treatment – Doctors and care providers must ensure that no adverse unexpected side effects develop while treatment is being administered to a patient.
- When a patient is under observation in a hospital or care setting – If care providers have recommended that a patient be put under observation for any reason, ranging from a head-injury to a potential suicide risk, the hospital or healthcare provider must watch for any signs of problems.
A failure to monitor claim can be made any time that a reasonable physician or healthcare provider would have kept better track of the patient’s health and/or when the patient is harmed because of a care provider’s failure to meet a monitoring obligation.
Consequences of Failure to Monitor Patients
The consequences of the failure to monitor a patient can be very severe, depending on the patient’s condition and what the doctors or care providers failed to detect. For example, if a doctor is expected to monitor a patient during labor and fails to do so, the baby may be born with cerebral palsy or neurological injury. Or, if a doctor is providing care to a pregnant woman and fails to monitor her health status properly, the doctor could miss signs of placental abruption or preeclampsia. This could result in death or serious injury to the mother or baby. Death is also a common yet tragic outcome when an anesthesiologist fails to monitor a patient’s vital signs once the patient is under anesthesia. In any situation in which a patient suffers adverse consequences because of a healthcare provider’s failure to monitor, the provider can be held responsible for all costs and losses arising from the omission.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Failure to Monitor?
In many cases, it is not a doctor who is primarily responsible for failure to monitor but a nurse or someone else providing medical assistance. This is because doctors are often too busy to closely and regularly monitor patients, and the job of checking vitals and watching for changes in a patient’s condition falls to other hospital staff or care providers. Because there may be multiple people involved in the care of a patient, in particular with observing the patient for signs of trouble, it can be difficult to determine who should be held legally responsible when something goes wrong because of a failure to monitor. Some of the potential defendants may include:
- Doctor providing treatment who fails to observe signs of problems or distress
- Nurse who is lax in noticing problems indicating the patient is in jeopardy.
- Hospital with insufficient policies regarding how monitoring should be conducted
- Physical therapist who fails to detect a patient’s signs of overexertion
- Anesthesiologist who fails to spot signs of trouble while a patient is under
- Obstetrician, midwife or nurse who fails to detect the signs of fetal distress
- Hospital staff who fail to respond to potential complications
- Nursing home that fails to notice the memory problems of a patient who tends to wander off from the nursing home area.
- Dentist who fails to detect a patient’s reaction to medication during dental treatments
These are just a few examples of health professionals who may become liable for unreasonably failing to notice problems when the average professional in their position with the same background would have detected the problem and reacted.
Get Help from an Experienced Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyer
It sometimes can be difficult to determine who was responsible for monitoring your condition. It is always challenging to show that the care provider fell short of what was reasonable given the circumstances. It is also difficult to prove the extent of the harm that resulted from a monitoring failure rather than from an underlying medical problem. Due to the difficulties and the technically complex nature of failure to monitor cases, your claim will come down to how strong and compelling your evidence is and to having an expert witness that can show why your care providers fell short. Finding a witness and building a case are both very difficult for you to do, especially if you are recovering from medical problems caused by the doctor’s failure. An experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can assist you in making your claim and recovering compensation for medical negligence. We have represented many clients throughout Illinois in failure to monitor cases, including many involving birth injuries, and we are prepared to put our legal knowledge and experience to work to help you with your claim. To learn more about how we can assist you, give us a call at our toll-free number or contact us online today.
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