Most medical providers are very good at their jobs but there are sometimes they can make bad decisions that harm the patient or lead to the patient’s death. When evidence shows that the care the doctor provided was substandard they should be held accountable. With an estimated 98,000 people in the United States dying every year due to preventable medical errors in hospitals alone, the accountability of medical professionals should not lessened with tort reform. The lives of patients who have been victims of medical malpractice have often been irreparably harmed and their ability to hold the medical professionals who caused the harm accountable should not be limited.
In one case, an obstetrician chose to use the drug Pitocin, which is used to help initiate labor in limited circumstances. The doctor’s use of the drug was excessive and unnecessary and was improperly used to rush along the labor, causing the mother to experience uterine contractions that were too fast and severe. The pressure that resulted from the unnaturally severe contractions damaged the baby’s brain.
Due to the each patient’s highly variable response to Pitocin, most medical providers will gradually increase doses of the drug and monitor the status of the baby and the uterine contraction pattern closely. This close monitoring is necessary because excessive doses of Pitocin can have dire consequences to both the mother and the baby. Uterine hyperstimulation is one side effect of the improper use of Pitocin which causes the uterine muscles to contract too frequently or not relax between contractions.
The mother in this case brought a claim for medical malpractice and she received a just settlement. Now the injured child’s parents will be able to afford the extensive lifetime care their child now needs due to doctor’s improper use of the drug. Additionally, this case may deter similar events from occurring in the future.
Had this family not received this settlement, if their ability to bring a medical malpractice suit had been limited, their child would not be able to receive all the care that he will now need because of this preventable error.
Limiting medical malpractice victims’ ability to bring lawsuits will make medical providers less accountable for their actions. It could also leave victims without compensation for their injuries.
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