Mismanaged Hyperkalemia: Is It Medical Malpractice?


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Having the right level of potassium in your body is essential. Potassium works to help nerves, muscles, and the heart to function properly. The kidneys are responsible for ensuring that the right potassium level remains in the body at all times by balancing potassium intake with the excretion of the electrolyte. When the intake is higher than the kidneys’ ability to excrete it, or if there is a problem with kidney function, too much potassium (hyperkalemia) can happen.  

What Are The Complications Of High Potassium Levels?

High potassium levels in your blood can be dangerous, even life-threatening. Because potassium affects how the heart muscles work, your heartbeat may become irregular when it is too much. If that happens, it can lead to cardiac arrest. Some of the signs of heart attack are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Pressure, pain, or squeezing in the chest or arms

The severity of heart attacks can vary, though all heart attacks are cause for concern. In some cases, a heart attack leads to death.

Various types of kidney disease may cause hyperkalemia. If kidney disease isn’t identified early and treated properly, it can lead to renal failure, seizures, coma, and death.

What Is The Prognosis If You Have Hyperkalemia?

While hyperkalemia is certainly a potentially dangerous condition, it can be reversed successfully. Most people diagnosed with hyperkalemia have a favorable prognosis if identified early and treated promptly.

Mild hyperkalemia doesn’t usually result in any long-term complications. In those cases, a change in diet and regular monitoring are often sufficient to manage potassium levels. Monitoring usually consists of frequent blood tests to check your potassium levels. Typically, acute cases of hyperkalemia only last a few days and only require short-term medical treatment.

In more serious cases of hyperkalemia, you may need emergency medical attention, medication, or dialysis treatments to control potassium levels, and the condition may happen again. Chronic hyperkalemia has to be managed and monitored long-term to keep potassium levels in check.

How Does Medical Malpractice Happen With Hyperkalemia?

You are entitled to an accepted standard of care when you see a doctor for symptoms you’re having, whether in a hospital or office setting. That means that medical professionals must treat you with the same level of care that another reasonable doctor, nurse, or medical professional would in the same situation. Failing to do so may constitute a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. This can happen in numerous ways, including:

  • Failure to diagnose kidney disease or misdiagnosing it as another condition
  • Failure to properly monitor your kidney disease or high potassium levels
  • Failure to perform necessary diagnostic tests to identify hyperkalemia or kidney problems
  • Failure to administer prompt, appropriate treatment for high potassium levels
  • Medication errors that result in increased potassium levels

Doctors are not expected to be perfect or to prevent all bad medical outcomes. However, suppose you have been injured due to inadequate or incorrect medical care. In that case, you may have grounds to sue the doctor or other medical professional in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Why Choose Ross Feller Casey For Your Hyperkalemia Claim In Pennsylvania?

If you or your loved one suffered hyperkalemia due to medical negligence or malpractice, you should discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. These cases can be complex, requiring the expertise of doctors to determine how the negligence occurred.

At Ross Feller Casey, our medical malpractice attorneys and on-staff doctors have helped families like yours with these types of cases. Our track record of winning large verdicts for our clients is nationally recognized and well-regarded. We help medical malpractice victims get the compensation they deserve for their damages.

As with any medical condition, treatments for hyperkalemia and its complications can be very expensive. We aim to help ease your financial burden and improve your family’s life by recovering compensation to pay medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact Ross Feller Casey in Philadelphia today to arrange a free consultation to discuss how to proceed with your case. You will not be charged any fees until we win or settle your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.