Medical Malpractice in End-of-Life Care: When Can You File a Lawsuit?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Medical Malpractice Published on April 4, 2024 and updated on April 17, 2024.

holding hand of woman sitting in chairOne of the goals of hospice care is to help make the patient’s last days, weeks or months more comfortable. Doctors and other health care professionals at these facilities can provide strong pain medications, physical therapy and help with daily activities.

Unfortunately, some patients’ last days are more difficult than they need to be because medical providers engaged in malpractice.

This blog covers some of the common examples of medical malpractice in end-of-life care, explaining when victims’ families may be able to take legal action.

If you think your loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, call the Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl. Our accomplished attorneys have secured millions on behalf of our clients, and these results came with no upfront cost to victims.

Call today to schedule a free legal consultation: 410-297-0271.

Can Doctors Still Engage in Medical Malpractice if Their Patients Are Terminally Ill?

Yes, doctors and other healthcare providers can commit medical malpractice even if their patients are terminally ill. The law protects all patients, regardless of their health or life expectancy. Doctors are required to provide care that aligns with accepted medical standards, and if they deviate and patients suffer injury, victims may be able to file legal action.

However, victims and/or their families should talk to an experienced law firm with a history of winning medical malpractice cases. There are many things to consider as far as whether there is a valid medical malpractice lawsuit.

Why Families May Suspect Medical Malpractice

There are many reasons why patients’ families may suspect medical malpractice, such as if the patient has:

  • Broken bones
  • Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, which are caused by sitting or laying in the same position for a prolonged period
  • Injuries from one or more falls, such as while transferring from the bed to a wheelchair or vice versa

You should also take note of complaints from your loved one. For example, is he or she telling you that he or she is in a lot of pain? It is possible your loved one is not receiving enough pain medication or the right kind of medication. It could be a technical error or failure to administer any medication to your loved one.

Is your loved one complaining about how he or she has been treated? Are your loved one’s complaints being ignored?

These are all important considerations, and you may want to investigate further or contact an experienced law firm to determine if you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice in Hospice?

There are various examples of medical malpractice that may occur during end-of-life care, such as medication errors. Examples include:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Prescribing a drug that has a harmful interaction with another drug the patient is taking
  • Giving a patient an incorrect dose, either too much or too little

Some hospice malpractice cases may involve failure to monitor the patient. This failure could result in falls that cause serious injuries. Doctors may not respond to worsening symptoms because they are not keeping a close enough eye on the patient. While medical care is not going to change the patient’s diagnosis, it can help to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering.

Failure to monitor claims may also involve bedsores, as some hospice patients cannot move much on their own. Bedsores are just one reason why adequate monitoring is so important.

Doctors and other hospice staff must be cautious when moving patients, such as from the bed to the wheelchair, from the wheelchair to the toilet or from the wheelchair into the shower. Patients could suffer serious, possibly life-threatening injuries if they fall. For instance, if a patient hits his or her head while falling, it could result in a fatal brain injury.

Sometimes the failure to monitor a hospice patient is caused by understaffing. A facility with a sufficient number of staff can more easily take proper steps to prevent harm to a patient. However, being understaffed does not excuse a facility’s medical malpractice.

How Do I Know if I May Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Case?

The question is whether your loved one received care that fell outside of accepted medical standards of care. Healthcare providers in Maryland must provide care like what other similarly situated medical professionals would have provided:

  • Would another similarly situated healthcare professional have let your loved one fall?
  • Would another healthcare provider have prescribed the wrong medication?
  • Would your loved one have been more closely monitored by a similarly situated healthcare professional?

These are difficult questions to answer on your own. You should consider contacting an experienced law firm to discuss your situation.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have in-depth knowledge of the legal requirements for medical malpractice cases.

Compensation for Medical Malpractice During End-of-Life Care

If your loved one was injured by medical malpractice, you may be able to seek various forms of compensation in a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit, including:

  • Medical costs: If your loved one needed additional medical care because of a medical malpractice injury, you can include those costs in a lawsuit.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensation provides for a patient’s physical and emotional suffering.
  • Lost quality of life: Compensation may be available for the diminished quality of life after medical malpractice occurred.

Each case is unique, so the damages available and their value will vary.

Is Your Loved One a Victim of Medical Malpractice? Call To Schedule a Free Consultation

If you believe you or your loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in hospice care, The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl may be able to help.

Call us today to review the details of your claim to determine if you may have a case. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay unless we win your case.

We have a history of results holding medical providers accountable for malpractice.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call today to learn more: 410-297-0271.