Medical Malpractice Attorneys in St. Louis, MO

Patients who undergo medical care expect to get reasonable quality treatment and, hopefully, to come out of their experience in better health than they started with. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Estimates indicate that as many as 200,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of preventable medical errors. Many more people suffer injury or develop serious health problems as a result of problems with the medical treatment they receive.

Death and injury can occur in many different ways when seeking medical treatment. Medical negligence or mistakes made by doctors and other healthcare professionals is one top cause of harm to patients. Defective medical devices are another major health risk. If you or a loved one was injured by medical negligence or a defective medical device, the experienced St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers at Carey Danis & Lowe can help with your claim.

Medical Malpractice and Patient Harm

Medical malpractice refers to any behavior on the part of doctors, hospitals or other healthcare providers that falls below the accepted standard of care. Healthcare providers are expected to be competent when diagnosing and treating you, and if their actions fall short of what a reasonable provider in the same situation with the same background would have done, they can be held liable for the consequences.

There are many different types of medical malpractice and medical mistakes that can do serious harm to patients. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis, which a study published in BMJ Open reveals is the top cause of malpractice claims against primary care doctors.
  • Surgical errors, including leaving equipment inside of patients, operating on the wrong patient or operating on the wrong body part. A John’s Hopkins study revealed that these types of errors—called “never events”—happen around 4,000 times annually.
  • Anesthesia errors, including failure to monitor a patient, failure to properly intubate, or the use of the wrong pharmaceuticals.
  • Lab tests mistakes,including reading the wrong test results, contaminating a sample or failure to follow up on test results.
  • Medication mistakes, including administering the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Estimates from the Institute of Medicine indicate a medication mistake is made at least once per hospital patient per day on average.

Defective Medical Devices

Patients can be harmed not just be problems with the doctor’s care but also by defects in the medical devices used to provide treatment. While manufacturers are expected to test their products and the FDA is supposed to approve medical devices and make sure they are safe, many defective devices come to the market anyway.

Some of these come onto the market through special 501(K) approvals that allow devices to be sold without extensive testing if there is a similar product already on the market. In other cases, serious side effects are simply not identified immediately in testing or not shared with patients.

Regardless of why the defective medical devices come to the market, manufacturers of these devices can be held legally liable for harm that comes to patients. In recent months and years, lawsuits have been filed based on many defective medical devices including:

  • TransVaginal Mesh products
  • Metal-on-metal hip implants
  • Mirena IUDs
  • Knee replacement products
  • Defective defibrillators

When these and other products malfunction, patients can experience significant pain, infection or even death.

Getting Help from an Experienced St. Louis, Missouri Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you or a loved one is harmed by defective medical devices or by a doctor’s negligence in Missouri, you have the right to be compensated for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or the wrongful death of your family member.

At Carey Danis & Lowe, our St. Louis Missouri medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in Missouri and throughout the country harmed by dangerous medical products or doctors who provide substandard care. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer by calling 314-725-7700 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form. Learn how we can put our experience to work for you.

Carey, Danis & Lowe has extensive experience representing clients on many medical malpractice issues

Missed Diagnosis of Heart Attack

Heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) are the leading cause of sudden death and serious disability in the United States. The symptoms of heart attack include chest pain, difficulty breathing, sweating for no reason, and pain that radiates into the shoulder or arm. If these symptoms are not taken seriously by physicians, including emergency room doctors, they can lead to heart attack or serious disability. When an individual has the symptoms of a heart attack, certain tests should be performed such as an EKG, blood should be drawn to check for a heart specific enzyme called Troponin, which can be elevated when someone has a heart attack, and also an enzyme called CK or CPK, when elevated, can indicate tissue or muscle death. If an EKG or blood tests are positive, additional tests should be performed such as a stress test, a myocardial perfusion test, or cardiac catheterization to determine whether a person is suffering a heart attack or angina from clogged arteries. If a heart attack is diagnosed and treated promptly, serious injury to the heart can be avoided and a person can live a normal life. The failure to diagnose heart attack can lead to sudden death and serious injury. In these cases, you or a family member may have a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Gallbladder Surgery Malpractice

When someone is diagnosed with having gallstones or disease of the gall bladder, it is usually necessary to remove the gall bladder. The most common method now used is laparoscopic gall bladder removal or what is known as a laparoscopic cholycystectomy. During a laparoscopic cholycystectomy, a surgeon and an assistant use a laparoscopic instrument inserted through small holes in the abdomen to remove the gall bladder. The procedure for a laparoscopic gall bladder is no different than an open laparotomy. The gall bladder needs to be identified, as well as the structures leading into it, which are the cystic duct and cystic artery. Once those structures are identified, they are clipped and transected and the gall bladder is removed. Errors can occur during a laparoscopic gall bladder removal when the cystic duct and cystic artery are not properly identified and there are inadvertent injuries to the common bile duct or the common hepatic duct. These structures are adjacent to the cystic duct and lead into the liver and stomach. If these structures are clipped and transected, serious injuries can occur such as the bile from the liver being unable to drain, causing jaundice and pain. Injuries to the common hepatic duct and common bile duct which occur during laparoscopic gall bladder surgery are usually the result of negligence. If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a surgical error during gallbladder surgery, contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers.

Medical Malpractice in the ER

Doctors in an emergency room see a variety of injuries and conditions. An emergency room physician is the first line of diagnosis and treatment for a variety of injuries. They include heart attack, pulmonary embolism, aortic aneurysm, broken bones, infections, viruses, as well as many other illnesses or injuries. If an emergency room physician does not make the correct diagnosis or admit a patient in serious distress, it can be considered medical malpractice and  it can lead to serious injury and death. At Jeffrey J. Lowe, P.C. we are experienced in handling cases involving the negligence of emergency room doctors and have several cases ongoing.

Medical Malpractice Blood Clot Misdiagnosis

Pulmonary embolisms are the second leading cause of sudden death in the United States. A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot which, in approximately 90% or more of the cases, develops in the deep veins of the lower extremities, frequently the calf, which travels to the heart and lungs and then causes death by blocking the exchange of oxygen from the lungs to the blood supply. Risk factors for pulmonary embolism include pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone therapy, inactivity, obesity, major surgery to repair broken bones, joint replacements, and can occur for no apparent reason. If not promptly diagnosed and treated, a pulmonary embolism can cause death by cutting off the oxygen supply from the lungs to the circulatory system. The signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), increased respiration rate (typicnia), pain in the calf without any injury, and swelling or edema in the lower leg. If blood gases are drawn at the hospital, they can indicate increased carbon dioxide, and decreased oxygen saturation. A physician who suspects a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may order a venous duplex scan which will show a DVT of the leg through an ultrasound. The definitive diagnosis of a PE is made by a spiral CT scan or VQ scan. If diagnosed, anti-coagulation therapy such as heparin or coumadin will be ordered and the survival rate of a PE, if detected promptly, is in excess of 95%. If the proper diagnosis is not made by a medical professional, it can constitute a medical malpractice case.

reening test for cervical cancer. It can also be diagnosed by an OB-Gyn through a physical examination. Pap smears are typically read by large laboratories who utilize cytotechnologists, who are not medical doctors, to screen pap smears. The screening of the pap smears is the subject of extensive federal regulation. Because cytotechnologists at large laboratories review large numbers of pathology slides and they are not medical doctors, there is a fairly large incidence of error in reading pap smears. This can allow the cancer to progress from a stage where it can be treated by a cone biopsy or by surgery such as a hysterectomy, to a later stage that requires extensive radiation and chemotherapy which can lead to serious and permanent health conditions such as radiation cystitis, radiation proctitis, and death, radiation-induced gastrointestinal reflux disease, etc. In addition, because cervical cancer is a slow-moving cancer, many times in the later stages, cervical cancer is evident during a physical examination by an OB-Gyn. The failure to timely diagnose cervical cancer can even lead to death. If you or a loved one was not properly diagnosed with cancer, you need to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Surgical Malpractice

Any time surgery is performed, errors which are a breach of the standard of care can occur. These errors can include failure to properly evaluate the anatomy and cutting or injuring structures that were unintended, puncturing of the bowel, which can lead to the spilling of the bowel content into the body cavity and lead to sepsis and death, as well as many other errors that can have serious consequences. If you or one of your loved ones has suffered from a surgical error, you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Gastric Bypass Injury Attorneys

There’s no denying that gastric bypass surgery is popular. According to a study published in the October 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, just over 13,000 gastric bypass surgeries were performed in 1998. By 2002, that number had increased fivefold to just over 72,000—and in 2010, it was predicted, more than 102,000 obese patients will undergo the procedure.

Gastric bypass, also known as bariatric surgery, involves stapling, banding or rerouting the stomach and small intestine. The most common type of gastric bypass is the Roux-en-Y procedure, in which the surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach and attaches it directly to the small intestine. After the surgery the patient loses weight because the stomach is able to hold less food and the bypass of part of the small intestine means that fewer calories are absorbed.

Although the results of gastric bypass surgery can be dramatic—as pictures of NBC Today’s Al Roker and singer Carnie Wilson prove—so, too, can the complications. Another study published in the October 2005 issue of JAMA revealed that when an inexperienced surgeon performs the procedure, patients are 1.6 times more likely to die within 90 days of the surgery than patients whose procedures were performed by experienced surgeons.

That’s not all. A third study in the October 2005 issue of JAMA showed that patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery had double the rate of hospitalization in the year after surgery as they did in the year before the surgery—and complications of gastric bypass surgery were the biggest reason.

Inexperience on the part of the surgeon and surgery on an inappropriate candidate are not the only dangers of gastric bypass procedures. Some of the most common complications are leakage of gastric fluid, pulmonary embolisms (clots that break off, travel through the bloodstream, and lodge in a lung, often resulting in sudden death), sepsis, gastric bleeding and gall bladder problems. In addition, after surgery a patient is more likely to have their intestines twist which can cut off blood supply to the intestines causing gangrene and death to the intestines. In severe cases this can lead to a stomach or intestine transplant. The physician must diagnose and treat these problems promptly to prevent further complications or even death.

The lawyers of Carey, Danis & Lowe are experienced in helping patients who have been hurt as a result of medical malpractice during gastric bypass and their families. We will seek compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future wages, pain and suffering, disability and other damages. We also represent family members in wrongful death cases.

To learn more, visit our Missouri Injury Lawyer Blog.

We offer a free initial consultation for victims of medical malpractice in gastric bypass cases. If you cannot make it to our office, we will come to you in the hospital or visit you in your home.

Medical Malpractice Pregnancy Injuries

Prenatal injuries occur to children while their mother is pregnant. They can be caused by prescription drugs provided to the mother without proper warnings of potential damage to the fetus. They can be caused by lack of oxygen during birth, or the failure of a doctor or hospital to monitor the fetus once the birthing process begins. They can also be caused by improperly performed tests such as amniocentesis or x-rays. If you have suffered from an injury caused by a medical professional who was providing your prenatal care, you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

Medical Malpractice Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

With advances in modern medicine, cancer, if detected in its early stages, is usually treatable. A delay in diagnosis can cause a cancer that is curable to advance to the stage where it will most likely result in death. As a general rule, depending on the type of cancer, a delay in diagnosis of six months to one year is significant enough to make a difference in the survival rate. The key to a good prognosis for most cancers is catching it before it metastasizes to other organs in the body. A delay in diagnosis usually occurs when a patient complains to their doctor of symptoms and the doctor downplays or ignores the symptoms. Cancer can generally only be diagnosed by an objective test such as a biopsy, CT scan, or MRI. Common cancers in which a delay may occur are colon cancer, gastric cancer, cervical cancer, lymphoma, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Each one of these types of cancer, if caught early, can usually be treated successfully.

Carey, Danis & Lowe has successfully handled medical malpractice cases involving delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer.

Medical Facility Injury

Hospitals sometimes injure patients staying or being treated in the hospital. Hospitals usually employ nurses, staff doctors known as hospitalists, emergency room doctors, orderlies, x-ray technicians, pharmacists, and other employees. When one of these hospital employees makes a mistake and injures a patient, the hospital can be liable for the injuries their employees or agents cause.

Common mistakes that can occur for which a hospital is liable include providing the wrong medication to the patient, failing to diagnose their condition, failing to provide the correct blood type when giving a blood transfusion, dropping the patient when transferring the patient, failure to monitor the patient, failure to diagnose a life threatening condition such as sepsis, meningitis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, as well as many others. In many cases, these can be considered as medical malpractice.

Delayed Colon Cancer Diagnosis

Colon cancer is a common form of cancer that frequently develops in people 40 years old and above. A doctor treating patients in this age group should regularly have them tested for blood in their stool which can be a sign of colon cancer. All persons age 50 or more should have a colonoscopy to determine whether they have colon polyps or tumors that may be pre-cancerous or cancerous. If a physician does not recommend these tests be performed as part of a routine examination, he or she may be negligent if colon cancer is later diagnosed in advanced stages. If a patient reports blood in their stool and appropriate tests such as a colonoscopy are not performed, the physician may be negligent. Other times the physician doing the colonoscopy may miss cancerous tumors which, when remain untreated, spread. Colon cancer in its early stages has a high cure rate. If you suffered from a delayed or missed diagnosis of colon cancer you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

Mistakes With Medicine

Medication errors can occur for many reasons. The doctor may order a prescription that interacts with another prescribed drug. A pharmacy may misread the medication prescribed by a doctor. A pharmacy may not catch dosing errors by doctors or drug interactions. Harmful effects of prescription drugs may not be monitored properly.If you have been the victim of a medication error, you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

Nursing Facility Neglect and Abuse

With the population aging, instances of nursing home neglect are on the rise. Frequent types of neglect that occur are failure to turn patients that are bedridden which leads to bed sores and potential staph infections, sepsis and death. Also, patients are sometimes not properly monitored and can fall, leading to broken bones which, due to the age of the patient, can have fatal consequences. In addition, the health condition and medications of residents are sometimes not properly monitored, resulting in serious injuries and death. If you or a loved one has suffered from neglect or abuse while in a nursing facility or a long-term care facility, you need to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Medical Malpractice for Bowel Injuries

When there is surgery near the bowel, a surgeon must take great care not to perforate the bowel. If a bowel is perforated, and not recognized by a surgeon, it can lead to serious injury and death from infection, peritonitis and sepsis. When a surgeon is working in and around the bowel, the standard of care requires that he examine the bowel prior to closing the patient to make sure that there have been no perforations or injuries to the bowel. If a bowel is perforated, and not recognized immediately, it will result in an extensive hospital stay and the use of intravenous antibiotics and other drugs in attempt to control the infection. Did you suffer from a bowel perforation during a surgical procedure? You need to consult with our experienced medical malpractice attorneys.

Doctor/Nurse/Staff Negligence

Hospitals employ physicians, nurses and staff. Each one of those has a separate duty of care and in certain circumstances, may breach the standard of care and be held liable for negligence. Doctors sometimes staff emergency rooms as well as staff nursing homes and other health facilities. Nurses are responsible for following doctors orders, administering medications, administering IV’s, evaluating patients, and turning bedridden patients. If a nurse fails to perform any of these duties properly, they may be held liable for negligence. In addition, hospitals employ staff such as orderlies, x-ray technicians, physical therapists, and other employees. If a staff person drops a patient, allows a patient to fall, or injures a patient during physical occupational therapy, the hospital may be liable. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of negligence by medical personnel, you need to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer.