From our primary office located in Houston, Texas, we help families across the United States. Our medical malpractice lawyer in Houston focuses on healthcare litigation, including medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and birth injuries.
Facts about Houston
Houston, Texas is the fourth most populous city in the United States. The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) is comprised of eight counties, including:
- Fort Bend
The estimated population is 2.3 million. Houston is considered an entrepreneurial city with a large population of young, single adults. Affordable housing and major job growth is bringing people into the area consistently. Local attractions also bring in tourism, such as NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Children’s Museum of Houston. Sporting events also bring in tourism with BBVA Compass Stadium, Minute Maid Park, and Toyota Center.
Houston is a very diverse metropolitan area, with more than 145 languages spoken among residents. The population of Houston is comprised of:
Houston has a very notable presence in the medical field. Houston is home to Texas Medical Center (TMC), which includes 21 hospitals including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. TMC also includes eight academic/research facilities, six nursing programs, three medical schools, and two universities. It is considered the world’s largest medical complex.
It is estimated that Houston is home to 21,000 physicians, researchers, scientists, and other medical professionals. There are more than 385 medical offices in Houston. These medical facilities serve more than 7.2 million people every year.
Houston is home to Life Flight, a renowned medical transportation service. Houston was also where the first successful heart transplant took place in 1968 (Dr. Denton Cooley).
Our Practice Areas
With more than a decade of experience litigating healthcare claims, MedMalFirm.com knows what it takes to stand up against hospitals, insurance companies, and opposing legal teams. Our team has a reputation for excellence, with millions of dollars recovered for our clients. Our team has experience with all sorts of medical malpractice and negligence claims, including the following:
Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Every day, millions of Americans put their trust in doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. We trust that those working in the healthcare industry will treat us with respect, dignity, and quality care. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals do make mistakes. Patients may be improperly diagnosed, treatment may be delayed, or errors may be made during surgery.
If you are concerned about medical errors and want to learn more about your legal rights, connect with a Houston medical malpractice lawyer by contacting MedMalFirm.com. Our lawyers have successfully litigated numerous medical malpractice cases, and we can help you.
Medical mistakes have been called the third leading cause of death in the United States.
While some medical events cannot be anticipated or prevented, medical mistakes most often result from poor judgment or bad decision making. Medical mistakes are now listed as the third leading cause of death in the U.S., falling behind heart disease and cancer. Estimates suggest that between 250,000 and 440,000 people die every year as a result of preventable medical errors.
Some of the situations that may constitute medical malpractice or negligence include:
- Failing to diagnose a condition
- Misdiagnosing a condition
- Improperly reading laboratory results
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Failing to appropriately review medical history
- Discharging a patient too soon
- Prescribing the wrong medication/dosage
Surgical Errors are More Common Than You Might Think
When it comes to our health and wellbeing, most of us place our confidence in the hands of medical professionals. After all, medical professionals undergo numerous years of training and education to prepare for a career in the medical field. It is our belief – and hope – that the professionals we are entrusting our lives with are capable, knowledgeable, and competent. However, this does not mean that they are perfect, and they are known to make mistakes in the operating room.
According to an article published by the Business Insider, one out of every 100,000 surgeries involves a wrong site surgical error made by a physician. This means that they operate on the wrong side of the patient’s body, on the wrong body part, or sometimes even perform surgery on the wrong patient.
The review also found that retained object cases are relatively common. It is estimated that one out of every 10,000 procedures results in a physician leaving an item or tool in the patient’s body. The retained object may include a medical sponge, knife, or other medical tools.
What are Surgical Errors?
A wrong site surgery and retained object left in a patient are both considered “never events.” This means that under no event or circumstance should this error have occurred. With the proper preventative measures and protocol, never events can be avoided.
Researchers recently stated in the Journal JAMA Surgery that the root cause of most surgical errors or medical mistakes is poor communication among medical staff. Whether the poor communication involves miscommunication, missing information that should be provided to surgical room staff, or possibly even medical team members failing to speak up or failing to listen to and mention suspicions, poor communication is the primary cause of most operating room surgical errors.
How to Prevent Surgical Errors in the Operating Room
A nationwide concerted effort to improve surgical room safety was implemented in 2004. Pursuant to The Universal Protocol, hospitals that are accredited by the Joint Commission must abide by the following protocol in order to reduce the risk of surgical errors from occurring in the operating room:
- Preoperative verification of the patient
- Clear identification and marking of the surgical site
- Performing a brief break or time-out prior to beginning the surgery
Performing equipment checks prior to surgeries, using briefing tools, and conducting staff training have also been found to reduce surgical errors in the operation room.
Birth Injury Lawyers in Houston
As you prepare to bring your child into the world, the last thing on your mind is the possibility that he or she could be injured by the actions of your healthcare team. Unfortunately, birth injuries occur at an alarming rate. What is even more alarming is that these injuries are often due to the improper actions of healthcare providers. Some estimates suggest that as many as 28,000 infants are harmed by birth injuries each year in the United States.
At MedMalFirm.com, our Houston birth injury lawyers have helped numerous families dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury. We have helped clients with cases involving all sorts of birth injuries, including those involving brain damage, oxygen deprivation, and cerebral palsy. If you believe that your child has suffered a birth injury, contact us today to get the help you deserve.
Birth injuries are one of the most devastating types of medical malpractice.
Birth injuries may occur during labor, during delivery, or early in the postpartum period. Sometimes it is easy to recognize a birth injury, such as when a physical injury occurs. In other cases, the signs of a birth injury may not be apparent until you notice your child is not meeting certain developmental milestones.
In either of these situations, if your child was injured due to the actions, or inaction, of a healthcare provider, it is important to contact a birth injury lawyer. Learn more about your legal rights, and what options you may have to pursue compensation by contacting MedMalFirm.com.
- Delayed birth or delayed c-section
- Oxygen deprivation
- Failure to diagnose complications
- Improper use of forceps or vacuums
- Improper medication administration
- Forceful delivery
Your family does not have to sort through a birth injury case alone. We are here to help.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Houston
Nursing home abuse is a tragic reality of the nursing home industry. It is important that families understand the warning signs of abuse or neglect, and know how to take action. At MedMalFirm.com, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Houston are passionate about helping families affected by nursing home abuse.
Contact us if your loved one is exhibiting any of these main signs of nursing home abuse.
Bedsores occur when an immobile patient’s skin is irritated to the point of forming a sore. This happens because the patient has not been repositioned or turned by their caregivers. Repositioning an immobile patient is a basic standard of care for nursing homes and hospitals, and should never be omitted. If your loved one complains of skin irritation and you discover a bedsore, this should be a big red flag.
Frequent Crying or Agitation
Though it is normal for nursing home residents to experience agitation or sadness at the time of transition from independent life to a nursing home, profound emotional changes in your loved one may be a warning sign of abuse. Victims of nursing home abuse often exhibit frequent bouts of crying, especially those of diminished mental capacity. They may seem agitated and irritable during visits or silent in front of caregivers. It could be easy to write off these warning signs as simple moodiness, but it is always a good idea to ask a loved one about their experience and satisfaction with caregivers. Remember, not all abuse is physical.
Sharp Downturn in Health
Nursing home abuse manifests itself in dozens of horrifying ways – from neglect to malicious physical attacks. Under-trained staff can fail to feed or medicate a resident properly, which can result in malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss. Poorly supervised caregivers can also create unsanitary living conditions, which contributes to infections and frequent bouts of illness. In the worst cases, direct physical assault can cause broken bones, bruising, cuts, or burns. If your loved one’s health has taken a nosedive since they entered a nursing home, suspect abuse and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your next steps.
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy, but staying vigilant and attentive can be the difference between their experience being a positive or a nightmarish one. Advocate for your loved one by contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer before any suspected abuse goes too far.
Get help immediately if you suspect:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Mental/Emotional Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
Trust your instincts. If you suspect that something is amiss with your loved one’s care, take action immediately.
Nursing home abuse or neglect can be difficult to recognize and prove. Because of the complexities of proving nursing home abuse, it is important to involve appropriate authorities immediately. The primary agencies to contact for suspected nursing home abuse include:
- Texas Adult Protective Services
- Department of Aging and Disabilities Services (DADS)
- The Long-term Care Ombudsman
- If immediate danger is noted, contact law enforcement
Nursing Home Abuse needs Specialized Legal Guidance
In addition to contacting appropriate authorities, it is also recommended to seek legal guidance if nursing home abuse is suspected. The rights of nursing home residents are protected by state and federal laws, and a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer can help you protect those rights, protect your loved ones, and hold those responsible for the abuse accountable for their actions.
Houston Pressure Ulcer Lawyer
Healthcare facilities – hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities – all have a responsibility to ensure that patients are properly cared for. That includes preventing new injuries from occurring while patients are in their care. Unfortunately, many patients in healthcare facilities develop decubitus ulcers (also called pressure ulcers or bedsores) as a result of limited or restricted mobility.
Pressure ulcers are a preventable complication of having limited mobility, or being confined to a bed or wheelchair. There are state and federal guidelines for healthcare providers and caregivers to follow that can prevent pressure ulcers from developing. Sadly, these guidelines are not always followed.
Take action immediately if you suspect your loved one is developing a bedsore. Timely diagnosis and treatment is the key to avoiding complications.
Who is At Risk for Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers develop when unrelieved pressure on the skin damages blood flow to the area and causes the layers of skin to begin to decay. Patients of any age or state of health, who also have mobility issues, are at risk for pressure ulcers. Even patients who may not be confined to a bed but rather to a wheelchair are at risk, as are patients who are recovering from serious injuries and cannot move around as freely.
Pressure ulcers are preventable by following standard practice guidelines for repositioning patients in these situations. Furthermore, guidelines require healthcare professionals to keep the skin clean and moisturized.
If pressure ulcers are recognized early, treatment is effective and there is little risk of side effects. If they are not recognized or treated right away, they can worsen or become infected, which can be dangerous or life-threatening.
Watch for Signs of Pressure Ulcers
A pressure ulcer may begin with what seems like a minor skin irritation. As the wound progresses, however, it damages deeper layers of skin, tissue, muscle, and even bone. If the wound is open and bleeding, the neglect your loved one has experienced has been ongoing and painful, and may lead to further complications. Your loved one deserves better than this.
Watch out for signs of a pressure ulcer, and get medical attention for your loved one if you suspect that they are developing a sore. The signs may include:
- Redness and inflammation to a bony prominence (hips, knees, tailbone, shoulders, or heels)
- Surrounding skin is warm to touch
- A noticeable blister or crater
- An open wound exposing underlying tissue
- A wound oozing or bleeding
- A foul odor
The best way to make sure your loved one does not have a pressure ulcer is to assess their skin on a regular basis.
Skin Care Tips for Preventing Pressure Ulcers
One of the best ways to prevent pressure ulcers is to ensure that patients with limited mobility get proper skin care. Keeping skin clean, dry, and moisturized is a great way to keep skin healthy and strong. Anyone who is planning to be in the hospital, a nursing home, or have limited mobility for a time can help prevent pressure ulcers by doing the following:
- Keep skin clean and dry
- Avoid products that may dry out skin, such as those with heavy fragrance or colors
- Use water-based moisturizers
- Avoid rubbing products into bony areas of the body using pressure
- Help caregivers assess your skin regularly, and point out signs of inflammation or discomfort
- If you are provided with devices (pillows, cushions, etc.) to prevent pressure points, use them
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water
- Eat regular meals and try to get plenty of protein
- Observe good hygiene with using the restroom
- If you need assistance with toileting, ask for help
- If you notice signs of a pressure ulcer, notify your healthcare provider immediately
As for products you can use, talk to your healthcare provider or caregiver, or a family member about the following:
- No-rinse body cleanser/lotion
- Foaming body cleanser
- Skin repair cream
- Skin protectants (silicone-based paste or cream)
- Antifungal cream or powder
Proper skin care is a great way to help prevent pressure ulcers. Unfortunately, many hospital patients and nursing home residents do not get the level of skin care needed. When that happens, patients are placed at a higher risk of developing pressure ulcers and other complications.
Houston Bowel Perforation Lawyers
A bowel perforation is a nick or cut to the small or large intestine, usually occurring during surgery. Any opening in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can result in fecal matter, food, and deadly bacteria leaking into the body. This can be dangerous and potentially deadly for the patient. If you or a loved one have experienced a bowel perforation, speak to a Houston bowel perforation lawyer to determine if your injury was due to medical malpractice.
Causes of bowel perforations
Bowel perforations can result from certain serious medical conditions, but often, they are the result of trauma to that part of the body. This trauma can be caused by endoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery to the gastrointestinal or surrounding areas. The delicate tissues and organs of the GI tract are vulnerable to trauma, cuts, and scrapes during surgery.
Not all bowel perforations are medical malpractice. In fact a perforation is a known risk of many abdominal surgeries. When a patient has had abdominal surgery, they should be closely monitored for symptoms of a bowel perforation. The patient’s health will deteriorate quickly without prompt and appropriate treatment.
In cases where the perforation is the result of a medical condition, the perforation itself may not be medical malpractice. However, a delayed diagnosis would be. Delayed diagnosis of a bowel perforation can lead to a severe infection, sepsis, organ failure, or even death.
Symptoms of a Bowel Perforation
After any surgical procedure, it is important to be aware of symptoms that there may be a complication. For abdominal surgeries, symptoms of a bowel perforation include:
Even a small bowel perforation can cause serious medical problems for patients. It is important to get help right away.
Complications Related to Bowel Perforation
A bowel perforation is a painful injury that can have a tremendous impact on your life. Aside from the general symptoms of the perforation itself, there are a few complications related to a bowel perforation that can be serious, or even life-threatening. These complications include:
Peritonitis is an infection and inflammation of the peritoneum – the tissue that lines the inner abdominal wall. This lining also supports abdominal organs. When bacteria or fungus get into the peritoneum, the result is an infection that can quickly spread to your organs. This infection can cause organ failure, can escalate to sepsis, or can be fatal on its own.
Symptoms of peritonitis include:
- Fever with chills
- Abdominal tenderness
- Abdominal distention (noticeable swelling/bloating)
- Decreased urination
- Difficulty passing gas or having a bowel movement
- Rectal bleeding
If you have recently had abdominal surgery and notice any of these symptoms, it is important to get medical attention right away. The best chances of preventing additional complications is immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Sepsis is a serious complication of a bowel perforation, and is more likely to develop in patients who have peritonitis. There is a common misconception that sepsis is an infection. It is not an infection, but rather is the body’s response to an infection. When the immune system activates to fight off infection, the response can be overwhelming. In these cases, rather than fighting the infection, the body reacts with an inflammatory response that actually attacks the body.
This inflammatory response enters the blood stream and can cause clotting, which restricts blood flow to the extremities and organs. This can result in organ damage or failure, and increases the risk of damage to the structures of the extremities. Without adequate oxygen and blood flow, the extremities can develop gangrene and necrosis. Often, amputations are necessary.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
- Fever with chills
- Low body temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid pulse rate
- Decreased urination
- Nausea and/or vomiting
If you have recently had abdominal surgery, or have been diagnosed with peritonitis, these symptoms should prompt urgent medical attention. Sepsis can be life-threatening quickly, so it is important to get medical help right away.
When to Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Houston
If you believe that you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, it is never too soon to get in touch with a medical malpractice lawyer. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, you can find out more about your rights and have a skilled lawyer review your case.
If you do have a case, you will be connected to the right lawyer(s) who can help you build your case and prove your injuries are the result of a negligent healthcare provider or facility.
At MedMalFirm.com, our goal is to help injured victims understand their rights and the options potentially available to them. No one should have to suffer from medical negligence or mistakes. Families deserve the opportunity to exercise their rights and hold accountable those who have devastated their lives.