Las Vegas Medical Malpractice

Las Vegas Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Protecting victims of medical negligence and birth injury

Injuries due to medical malpractice are always preventable. Unfortunately, these injuries are all too common in Nevada. When a doctor fails to provide a correct diagnosis, prescribes the wrong medicine, or makes a mistake in surgery, patients can suffer serious or deadly injuries. And when the patients are a mother and her unborn child, the damages that affect both can be life-changing.

Medical malpractice, referred to as “professional negligence” in Nevada, refers to negligence from a healthcare professional that results in injury or death to a patient. Careless and negligent medical professionals must be held responsible when they cause harm. At Claggett & Sykes, our medical malpractice attorneys can answer all of your questions.

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What kinds of medical malpractice claims do you handle?

At Claggett & Sykes, our team represents individuals and families whose lives have been changed irreparably because of acts of medical negligence. Our clients have sustained some of the most life-altering injuries there are, where a full recovery may not be possible. Contact our Law Vegas medical malpractice attorneys today to learn more about our services regarding:

Surgical errors. Mistakes during anesthesia and surgery are very common and can include (among others) leaving a foreign object or surgical instrument inside the body, wrong site surgery, and even operations on the wrong patient. In severe cases, surgical errors can result in brain injury or paralysis.

Obstetric and gynecologic negligence. This type of injury commonly occurs during labor and delivery but also extends to prenatal care during the pregnancy. It can include failure to perform a C-section when needed, failure to treat life-threatening complications such as placental abruption or umbilical cord injuries, and failure to treat signs of hemorrhage or preeclampsia.

Oxygen deprivation. Mistakes made during surgery or labor can cause severe oxygen deprivation in patients of all ages. Pediatric surgical patients in particular are at risk, as they cannot handle the same levels of anesthesia as adult patients. Permanent brain damage can set in at the 4-to-6-minute mark, and can affect everything from cognitive skills to mobility.

Untreated infections. The greatest risk of an untreated infection is sepsis, a life-threatening inflammatory response. If it progresses to septic shock, the mortality rate is as high as 40%. Untreated infections can lead to tissue death (necrosis), which can necessitate surgery to remove the tissue. Some can be passed from mother to child in utero, which can lead to birth defects as well.

Prescription drug errors. Prescription drug errors can include prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, dispensing the wrong medication entirely, or failing to review complications from mixing drugs that are contraindicated. In some cases, these mistakes can be fatal, or lead to permanent organ damage. The kidneys, liver, lungs or heart can be permanently damaged, and patients may need transplants, or spend the rest of their lives going through treatments like dialysis.

Failure to warn. Doctors and other medical professionals are required to make you aware of the risks of a surgery or medication and make you aware of your options. This helps you decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. If doctors fail to give you the proper information and something goes wrong, you can suffer serious injuries.

The Las Vegas medical malpractice attorneys at Claggett & Sykes can determine how negligence caused your or your loved one’s injuries, and build a strong case on your behalf.

What birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice?

Birth trauma and birth injuries can refer to traumatic events that a mother undergoes during and after childbirth. It can also refer to traumatic injuries a child sustains during a difficult birth. These events can result in long-term mental, emotional, or psychological effects like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Failing to use reasonable care during the birth of a child can lead to traumatic injuries, such as:

  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Spinal paralysis
  • Skull fractures
  • Stunted growth

Birth trauma goes beyond typical events that happen during childbirth and into the realm of professional negligence. A medical professional may cause birth trauma by being apathetic, hostile, careless, or ignoring the needs of the mother and child. Birth trauma can also arise from improper use of birthing tools and techniques, causing infant injury.

When medical negligence causes birth injury, the parents have the right to bring a legal claim on behalf of their baby. These include not only financial losses but also intangible damages, such as mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.

How does a birth injury differ from a birth defect?

Birth injuries and birth defects are different in one very important way: a birth injury is caused by an act of medical negligence, where a birth defect may not be.

Birth defects are often genetic in nature. Conditions like spina bifida, Down syndrome, congenital heart defects or cleft palates are not conditions that can be avoided by proper medical care. Some birth defects, however, could be caused by medications prescribed to the mother. In these very specific cases, you could have a claim for medical malpractice, if no one warned you about the risks, or if a doctor ailed to read your chart and prescribed a drug that has known side effects.

Birth injuries, on the other hand, are almost always the result of medical negligence. As such, they are almost always preventable, which is why you can file a lawsuit for damages if you, your partner, or your child suffered injuries before, during, or after labor.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy, or CP, refers to a group of disorders that affects movement and posture. It is a physical disability that stems from damage to the brain during development – either during pregnancy, labor, or shortly after birth. People with CP have its effects for life. Symptoms can vary and affect movement, coordination, muscle tone, reflex, and balance. Cerebral palsy can also result in learning, intellectual, speech, visual, and hearing impairments. Some signs of this disorder can improve or get worse over time.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children, and premature or low-weight babies are at a higher risk. Cerebral palsy can occur due to abnormal brain development or injury to the brain while an infant is in the womb, or shortly after birth. In some cases, medical malpractice can contribute to the development of CP, including:

  • Failing to monitor the mother during pregnancy, leading to infections that go untreated and transfer from mother to baby
  • Missing signs of fetal distress, such as umbilical cord prolapse, leading to brain damage from lack of oxygen

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you suspect medical malpractice, consider speaking to a member of our experienced legal team.

What are brachial plexus injuries?

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in the shoulder that controls signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. When something compresses, stretches, or rips the brachial plexus nerves, it interrupts the signals and causes loss of mobility. Brachial plexus injuries can occur in infants when healthcare professionals are negligent during delivery. The most common situation surrounding these birth injuries occurs when the baby gets stuck behind the pelvic bone and the doctor fails to use the proper technique, leading to injury to the brachial plexus.

Other circumstances that can result in a brachial plexus injury are breech deliveries, fetal macrosomia, maternal diabetes, and maternal obesity. Monitoring the mother during pregnancy and treating risk factors can prevent brachial plexus injuries. When these nerves rupture, it can result in Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy commonly causes paralysis in the affected arm, loss of motor function, numbness, and decreased grip. The majority of infants eventually recover from Erb’s palsy with medications, physical therapy, and possibly surgery.

Birth injuries are extremely serious. They can permanently affect you or your child’s life. After any type of birth injury, it may be worthwhile to speak with a malpractice lawyer. There is a chance that a negligent medical professional caused or contributed to your incident. You may be able to sue the doctor that handled your pregnancy/delivery, the hospital, and/or a third party.

How do I prove my Las Vegas medical malpractice case?

If you experienced injury or loss during your pregnancy or delivery, you may be the victim of professional negligence. However, it’s important to remember that not every poor outcome is the result of medical malpractice. You must have four elements that prove these types of cases in Nevada:

  1. You must show that you and your healthcare provider had a mutual professional relationship. This is typically easy to prove if the defendant was your doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider at the time of your alleged injury. Medical professionals owe high duties of care to their patients.
  2. To be legally responsible for malpractice, an individual or entity must have breached its duties of care. A “breach” is any act of negligence, recklessness, or criminal act that went against the industry’s typical standards of care – meaning what a competent and reasonable medical professional would have done in the same situation.
  3. Proof of the defendant’s breach of duty alone is not enough to bring a lawsuit. The defendant’s breach of duty must have caused your injuries or at least significantly contributed to them.
  4. You must show that you suffered damages because of the incident. This can include your injuries, your child’s injuries, a disability, physical pain, emotional suffering, and medical bills.

These are the four main elements of a medical malpractice claim, but keep in mind that you may have a different type of legal claim in a birth injury case. For example, if a defective fetal monitoring system caused your incident, you may not be able to sue the doctor for failing to identify fetal distress, but rather the product’s manufacturer or distributor. In this case, you would likely have a product liability claim. Speak with one of our attorneys about your particular case to learn about your legal options.

What makes medical malpractice claims different?

Medical malpractice cases are unlike other personal injury cases in Nevada. There are very strict laws that are heavily in favor of doctors and medical facilities. For a successful medical malpractice claim, you must follow certain Nevada laws to the letter. These laws can be intricate, and require a lawyer’s assistance. There is a statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing medical malpractice claims. You have three years from the date of the injury, or one year after the date of the injury’s discovery, to bring this type of claim. In most cases, the one-year deadline applies so victims of medical malpractice must move fast to bring a claim.

If your case involves brain damage or a child’s birth defects, you have until your child’s tenth birthday to file your claim. Several factors can affect this deadline. One of the knowledgeable attorneys at Claggett & Sykes can provide more information about your specific case to avoid missing your opportunity.

Nevada also requires an affidavit of merit for medical malpractice claims. This is a document, signed by expert medical witness, that states a healthcare provider’s serious mistake or omission caused your injuries. The medical expert must have a career in the same or a similar field as the defendant. If a complaint is filed without an expert affidavit, the court is required to dismiss the lawsuit. We locate the necessary experts and take care of this process.

Get legal help from a Las Vegas medical malpractice attorney

If you, your child, or a loved one suffered harm at the hands of medical professionals, don’t wait any longer to consult with the injury lawyers at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm. We can investigate your claim, determine liability, and advocate for you and your family. Trust your case with us and see the difference experienced lawyers can make. Call 702-333-7777 or fill out our contact form today to set up a free consultation in our Las Vegas office.