As hospitals and clinics in the United States look to cut costs in search of profits, more and more patients are being encouraged to rely on nurse practitioners, rather than medical doctors, for their health care needs.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, specialized training prepares these advanced registered nurses to examine patients, diagnose conditions, prescribe medication and perform almost every duty as a primary care physician. Healthcare systems pay nurse practitioners lower salaries than doctors, allowing health care companies to increase their bottom line profit.
The biggest difference between medical doctors and nurse practitioners is education and training. With more training and a higher level of certification, doctors have a better understanding of complex medical conditions and what symptoms to look for in diagnosing a patient. A misdiagnosis or a failure to catch symptoms of a critical medical condition can result in deadly consequences for a patient.
The lawyers at a Mitchell Hoffman & Wolf have helped clients deal with and obtain justice for the deadly consequences resulting from nurse practitioner errors.
In one instance, we represented the family of a woman who died from pregnancy-related complications following the birth of her child. The nurse practitioner who examined the patient failed to alert an obstetrician that the patient had high blood pressure, a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication. As a result of the untreated high blood pressure, the woman developed preeclampsia and suffered a stroke following the birth of her child. Two days later she died of a brain hemorrhage at age 23. She left behind a husband and two other children under the age of 5.
To lose a loved one unexpectedly and in such a tragic way is a terrible blow. This woman’s family will suffer each day for the rest of their lives, knowing that her death could have been prevented had the nurse practitioner recognized the critical symptoms and alerted the obstetrician to begin proper treatment. Seeking justice for this patient’s grieving family, including her orphaned children, we obtained a $10 million jury verdict against the employer of the nurse practitioner. This judgment provided the family with the financial security necessary to raise and educate the children.
Every person deserves access to the highest quality medical care available, and a health care company’s desire to increase profits should not change that. If you or a loved one has been harmed due to a nurse practitioner’s error, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Mitchell Hoffman & Wolf. We are here to help.
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Call us at 312.726.6722 for a free consultation.