For What Reasons Do Hospitals and Doctors Get Sued for Wrongful Death?

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Death is inevitable, and every one of us will die eventually. However, while doctors and hospitals cannot prevent everyone from dying, there are circumstances in which they make errors that can lead to someone’s death. When this occurs, the family or loved one’s of the person who passed away may be able to sue the hospitals, doctors, and medical professionals for wrongful death. Wrongful death cases are not always easy to prove, as you have to show that neglect or errors that lead to death occurred. Here are a few of the most common reasons why hospitals and doctors get sued for wrongful death. 

Delayed Treatment

One of the reasons why hospitals and doctors can be sued for wrongful death is due to delayed treatment. There are a number of reasons why treatment may be delayed. One example of delayed treatment is if someone comes into the emergency room complaining of chest pains and the doctors fail to immediately treat them. Some symptoms warrant immediate treatment, and if medical staff fail to act, and that person subsequently passes away because they did not get the care they needed right away, delayed treatment may be claimed. 

When it comes to delayed treatment, it is important to understand that delayed treatment may not be claimed if your loved one helped to guide their medical treatment. For example, if they are diagnosed with cancer, they may be presented with different treatment options, including the pros and cons associated with the different treatments. If they choose one option, and it did not work for them, and that allowed cancer to spread and ultimately take their lives, delayed treatment cannot be claimed as they helped to guide their own treatment. 


Another common reason why hospitals and doctors get sued for wrongful death is because of misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis can be challenging to prove, and usually relies on what a doctor should know. For example, if a patient presents in the hospital with a lump in their throat, most doctors will send the patient out to be tested for cancer immediately. However, if a doctor says oh, it’s just a sore throat or related to a cold, and they wind up being wrong, they can be sued for misdiagnosis. Doctors should have a certain understanding of common issues patients present with and what most doctors would test for and diagnose in a similar situation. 

Misdiagnosis is tough to prove because you have to show that most doctors would have acted differently than how your loved one’s doctor acted. Some conditions are harder to diagnose, and the harder they are to diagnose, the harder a misdiagnosis case becomes to prove. 

Mistakes in Prescribing or Administering Medications

When a doctor or hospital prescribes you medications or administers them to you in the hospital, you do not question what they are giving you or if they are giving you the correct dosage. You trust that they know what they are doing and are giving you the right medications and dosages. Unfortunately, errors and mistakes are made, and some errors can lead to death. Mistakes made in prescribing or administering medications are another common reason why hospitals and doctors can be sued for wrongful death. 

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Common mistakes made when prescribing medications include prescribing medications that a medical professional should know will interact with other medications or prescribing too high of a dosage that leads to death. Doctors also need to be aware of patient allergies, and if they prescribe something that a patient is allergic to, and the patient dies, they can be held responsible. Common mistakes made when administering medications include administering the wrong medications, administering too high of a dosage, or failing to properly space out medications, leading to an overdose. 

Surgical Errors

The final common reason why a hospital or doctor can be sued for wrongful death is that surgical errors occurred. There is always a risk of death when a patient goes in for surgery. They may have a reaction to the anesthesia, or the procedure may not go as planned. You cannot sue for these types of risks. However, if an error is made that leads to death, a lawsuit can be filed. 

Common surgical errors that lead to death include nicking an organ or artery during a procedure, administering an incorrect amount of anesthesia, or failing to properly monitor the patient during the surgical procedure, and a preventable problem was not avoided. Lastly, a hospital can be responsible for the staff conducting surgeries in their hospital. If a professional was not properly trained or licensed for the procedure they were completing, and death occurred, the hospital may be responsible. 

A wrongful death medical malpractice suit allows the family of the deceased to recover money for any medical expenses that were incurred as a result of malpractice prior to the patient passing away, funeral and burial expenses, loss of income and wages, loss of companionship and possible pain and suffering. Suing a hospital or doctor for wrongful death is not always easy, as you have to be able to prove that their malpractice and actions led to your loved one passing away prematurely. A Houston wrongful death lawyer will work hard to show how and why negligence or malpractice occurred and help you recover the maximum amount allowed by law. Reach out to a lawyer today to discuss a possible case.