Humans are complex beings. Their internal systems interconnect and affect one another. One or more organs may weaken or malfunction among the six central systems, namely, the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, neurologic, hepatic, and hematologic. When one organ fails, it typically causes problems throughout the body. And when multiple organs fail, the chances for survival grow slim. Despite the unimaginable reality of it, people may ultimately experience organ failure as a result of negligence by a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional. When there is a causal link between the two, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
What is Organ Failure?
The term “organ failure” is just as it sounds: a critical component of one of the major systems of the body ceases to function. In essence, the organ shuts down or stops functioning as it needs to. Organ failure is a severe condition. Organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and gastrointestinal organs, run all the body’s major systems. Therefore, even one organ malfunctioning can necessitate intensive medical intervention. Those with organ failure may need medications, machines, surgery, or all of these to survive.
For example, dialysis is kidney treatment through a machine, while pacemakers and vasopressors (heart medication) keep hearts ticking. Some remedies may temporarily support the affected organ until it repairs itself. However, when organs fail and cannot repair themselves, the patient may need an organ transplant or palliative care if the person and their family decide not to continue life support. The blood, too, can cause systemwide problems when blood seeps into the intestinal tract after skin breaks due to multiple organ failures. Then, hemorrhaging may be difficult to stop.
Major Systems that may Suffer Organ Failure
Before treatment, individuals may present to their doctors with various symptoms, depending on the particular organ affected.
For example, the patient who has trouble breathing and is sweating, anxious, and turning blue may have respiratory failure, meaning the lungs are failing. They may need a ventilator to make their lungs work.
On the other hand, if the heart fails, other organs suffer. For example, the kidneys and liver also suffer because the decreased blood flow does not flush fluid out. And the fluid buildup can destroy the organ. Thus, a patient with an irregular pulse, extreme lethargy, and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet suggest an emergency need for a cardiologist.
Though the heart pumps the blood throughout the body, the kidneys filter the blood, removing toxins. Thus, kidney failure results in a body-wide reaction as the blood becomes imbalanced with waste. Symptoms include nausea, seizures, chest pain, little to no urine, and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
The hepatic, neurologic, and hematologic systems also suffer from malfunctioning vital organs. For example, the liver is the critical organ in the hepatic system, responsible for clearing the blood of poisons, processing sugar, and integrating proteins into the body. Someone with liver dysfunction may have stomach pain, swelling, nausea, and yellow eyes and skin.
Dysfunction of the Brain
The critical operator of all the systems is the brain. The brain controls all the systems, so a damaged brain can produce varied physiological and psychological effects. One with brain dysfunction may experience psychosis or other altered states of reality when multiple organs fail, including the brain.
Possible Causes of Organ Failure
Overall, the external and internal body interactions make humans thrive or suffer disease. For example, basking your skin in the sun supplies your body with Vitamin D. Conversely, skin cancer comes from the external body’s exposure through the skin to harmful elements like ultraviolet rays. But the cancer cells do not stay on the surface; they affect the cells throughout the body to break down the internal systems. As a result, cancer invades organ tissue and damages the internal organs, which stop functioning normally or at all. In addition, organ failure can also happen from infection, which causes one or more organs to malfunction.
Although single or multiple organ failure can occur from organic causes, like infection and cancer, the life-threatening condition can also result from medical mistakes. So, for example, a doctor may prescribe a medication for a health problem, but the dosage is wrong. When the patient takes too much of certain medications, their kidneys, liver, or intestinal walls may suffer damage, sometimes permanent damage. These constitute preventable medication errors that may lead to organ damage and ultimately, organ failure.
Likewise, surgical errors lead to organ injury when a surgeon mishandles a sharp knife that cuts a nearby organ. Improper clamping of blood or other vessels to an organ can also cause damage when fluids back up in an affected organ. For instance, an accidental clamping of the ureter, the pathway to the bladder, may cause a backup in the kidney, swelling it beyond capacity.
Other common errors include anesthesia administration errors and patient falls. Anesthesiologists mix anesthesia with oxygen appropriately to ensure the patient neither feels pain nor asphyxiates. When the ratio of anesthetic to oxygen is incorrect, the patient’s brain may suffer damage, even brain death.
Additionally, falls or dropped patients happen all too frequently in hospitals and other medical facilities. Hospital personnel who move patients after surgery or assist weak patients from an injury or disease must be sure they are securely moved or helped. To illustrate, nurses may need to move a patient fresh out of knee surgery from a recovery room bed to a regular hospital room bed. If the nurse or other staff member does not securely assist the patient to move or get the help they need to make sure the patient safely transfers, they may injury a patient who falls and hits their head. A resulting concussion can cause long-lasting injury to a patient or even death.
Can Medical Negligence Lead to Organ Failure?
Although humans are fallible and make mistakes, medical professionals must follow protocol, proper medical practices, and common sense to do their jobs. When they cut corners or overestimate their strengths, education, training, or abilities, they can severely hurt someone. Avoidable errors often lead to medical malpractice claims, including in cases of organ failure caused by medical negligence. People who go to a hospital or doctor’s office and end up in far worse conditions, even losing their lives, due to malpractice suffer physically, emotionally, mentally, and economically. If they survive, that is. They and their families deserve to receive compensation for their unnecessary injury and the totality of their resulting losses.
Contact New Jersey Organ Failure Lawyers to Discuss Your Medical Negligence Claim
If you or a loved one suffered at the hands of a negligent medical professional or their attendants, set aside the time to speak with a highly qualified medical malpractice attorney. When you consult the team of medical malpractice lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group, you receive far more than a quick answer or two. Our firm handles medical malpractice claims on behalf of clients throughout New Jersey, intensively investigating your medical records, patient history, and account of what occurred and consulting with leading medical experts in the field to assess your potential claim for compensation.
If we take your case, there are multiple avenues that we are thoroughly prepared to take, whether it be to settle or litigate your malpractice claim against those responsible for the harm you suffered or the suffering of your loved one. We ensure you are informed, engaged, and extensively supported while considering all your options and pursuing your medical malpractice claim for the highest possible financial recovery.