New Jersey Fever Error Attorneys
Most people consider fevers as signs of sickness like the flu. However, there are many potential causes of fevers and some may require urgent medical attention. Although fevers often accompany other diseases, sometimes they result from medical errors. Due to the prevalence of fevers in everyday life, you may wonder if and when medical errors with a fever are a just cause for legal action against medical professionals and facilities in New Jersey. Here, we will explore the basics of fevers and why they occur, what happens when doctors or others cause or miss the warning signs, and when errors with a child’s or adult’s fever may constitute medical malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered economic and non-economic losses due to errors with your or a loved one’s fever, contact Fronzuto Law Group to talk to a dedicated New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer about your case today. We provide free consultations by contacting us online or calling our offices. Call 973-435-4551 for a free case review.
The Basics of Fevers and Why they Occur
A fever is the body’s mechanism to fight off invaders, such as pathogens or other microorganisms. The harmful invaders may enter the body through ingested food or drink, by physical contact with the pathogen through a cut in the skin, or through another source. In reaction, the body’s temperature rises from the average body temperature of about 98.6 F to 100F or higher when the immune system responds to foreign bodies in the system, such as bacteria, viruses, or objects.
Fevers in Adults
Adults with fevers measuring 103 F or above should see their doctors, especially if other symptoms accompany the fever, such as a rash, headache, vomiting, stomach pain, or other ailments. Fever symptoms vary but commonly include chills, sweating, headache, weakness, muscle soreness, irritability, and dehydration.
Fevers in Children
Children are prone to fevers from common childhood illnesses like earaches, colds, flu, and teething. However, other conditions like upper respiratory tract infections, roseola, chicken pox, whooping cough, kidney infections, or urinary tract infections can cause infections in children. As a result, their temperatures can rise to alarming heights, up to 105, while an adult’s fever does not typically reach that high unless they are extremely sick or fighting a severe illness.
Older children should see a doctor when their temperature reaches 102 F, and other symptoms indicate illness, such as irritability, sluggishness, diarrhea, runny nose, or cough, especially if symptoms last more than a day. Infants three months or younger with temperatures of 100.4 F or above should see a doctor.
What is a Postoperative Fever and Why is it a Warning Sign?
Fevers after Surgery
Most importantly, any person should see a doctor when a fever arises after a surgical procedure. They may have an infection acquired at the hospital, or due to a physician’s mistake during surgery or another healthcare provider’s error postoperatively. Postoperative fevers may indicate infections, which can be highly debilitating, leaving patients with fever, weakness, and other symptoms. They need treatment or a patient could die of sepsis, a severe infection caused by the body’s struggling to fight off dangerous bacteria or other microorganisms in the blood or tissue.
What Types of Ailments and Health Conditions Result in Fevers?
Several types of infections can lead to fevers when they enter the bloodstream, causing diseases like viral infections, SARS, hepatitis, or bacterial infections transmitted through IV’s or catheters. Another illness associated with fevers is pneumonia, which can develop after a patient has been on a ventilator. Likewise, urinary tract infections can result from catheters, while bacteria or viruses often enter the body through surgical sites.
Other infections result from a medical professional’s mistake in diagnosis or treatment. For example, patients may contract infections from contaminated surgical tools, devices, or hands improperly cleaned or sterilized in the hospital. In addition, surgeons may make mistakes with cutting adjoining areas to the surgical site or leaving objects in the patient’s body.
What if Doctors Cause or Miss a Fever in a Patient?
Not only can missing a fever and its underlying cause result in a patient suffering needlessly, but they may require intensified and prolonged treatment. No matter the cause, when physicians fail to diagnose or improperly diagnose infections, patients may not receive the treatment they need. If a person does not receive antibiotics or other medications to eliminate the infection, the most severe types of ailments can even lead to wrongful death.
An undiagnosed or misdiagnosed fever can lead to high patient costs when they must treat and recover from a severe infection due to medical negligence. Often, a patient must undergo various tests and treatments and take medication to fight off the disease. They may miss work or school while recovering from infection symptoms and suffer pain and severe discomfort. They may incur economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and lost quality of life due to a fever caused by malpractice, misdiagnosed, or untreated resulting in complications.
When is a Fever Error Medical Malpractice?
When a patient with high fever, vomiting, sore throat, and other symptoms indicating an infection enters the hospital, the doctors must correctly diagnose the patient or risk causing injury or death. Doctors diagnose patients through interviews, clinical history, diagnostic testing, and referring or consulting with other doctors to arrive at a diagnosis for a patient’s health complaints. When a doctor fails to take the standard clinical steps to arrive at a correct diagnosis, they may be liable to those who suffer complications without antibiotics or other medications to fight infection. If the patient must later be hospitalized or dies due to a missed fever, they or their loved ones may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Another type of medical error involving fevers that can be deadly is negligently leaving medical equipment in a patient or installing contaminated medical devices in a patient. For instance, a patient complaining of constant fever, loss of appetite, and weakness for months may have just cause to sue doctors who failed to take x-rays that would have detected parts of a catheter surgically implanted in the patient’s neck to control medication delivery months before. Similarly, a contaminated urinary catheter inserted after bladder surgery can cause an infection. A patient’s fever after surgery should raise red flags to medical staff about possible illness. If it does not, the doctor, nurses, hospital, or others involved in the patient’s care may be liable for medical malpractice.
Another error that medical professionals make is failing to follow up with a patient post-operation, especially when a patient reports a fever after a surgical procedure. Additionally, even though children often get fevers for common childhood illnesses, pediatricians must be careful to eliminate possibly lethal sources of fever before sending a patient home with advice to give the child over-the-counter pain relievers. In other words, fevers are signs of harmless or dangerous body reactions that could severely damage a patient’s health. Distinguishing between the two situations and taking the appropriate medical action is imperative.
Contact NJ Fever Error Lawyers Today
Victims of medical malpractice have the right to file claims against hospitals, physicians, and other medical personnel who were responsible for fever errors and their resulting tangible and intangible losses. According to New Jersey law, they may bring a medical malpractice action against those medical professionals or institutions that failed to practice medicine according to the standard of care owed to patients. When filing a lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the responsible medical professionals fell below that standard of care, which caused their injuries or their loved one’s death, and provide evidence of the resulting damages.
Given the technicalities of a medical malpractice lawsuit and the need for extensive evidence, medical expert substantiation, and much more to prove negligence, it is important to enlist help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can successfully pursue your claim. Fronzuto Law Group has the extensive experience, knowledge, and resources to assist you. Our team can investigate the facts of your case, gather evidence to support your claim, and fight tirelessly for compensation. Our attorneys have spent decades negotiating just settlements and when settlement is impossible, preparing and litigating cases before juries at trials. Do not hesitate to consult with a medical malpractice attorney about your fever error case by calling our offices today at 973-435-4551.