When Is Renal Failure Considered Medical Malpractice?


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Millions of people are diagnosed with kidney disease during their lifetimes. Kidney disorders are more common than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Additionally, they are frequently the cause of other serious medical conditions. The kidneys are critical in cleansing the body of toxins, regulating the amount of water, controlling blood pressure, and getting rid of waste filtered from the bloodstream. When the kidneys fail, called renal failure, it can be life-threatening or fatal.

Doctors who treat kidney problems are nephrologists. Like other medical professionals, nephrologists sometimes make mistakes that injure or harm their patients. While poor outcomes to medical treatments are sometimes unavoidable, there are also many times those negative outcomes were preventable, caused by medical negligence or malpractice. Suppose a nephrologist makes a mistake in treating kidney disease. In that case, it may be considered medical malpractice, and the patient (or the patient’s family members in fatal cases) may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible doctor or medical system.

What Types Of Conditions Do Nephrologists Diagnose And Treat?

Nephrologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating kidney disorders and helping patients make positive changes to diet and activity when they lose a kidney to help prevent the onset or advancement of other medical conditions. Some of the most common conditions that nephrologists diagnose and help patients manage include:

  • Diabetes – Most kidney conditions are caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, so a nephrologist is often involved in treating patients with diabetes who are at risk of developing kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure – Elevated blood pressure can result from chronic kidney disease. For this reason, nephrologists often work with cardiologists in diagnosing and treating underlying causes of high blood pressure in patients.
  • Chronic urinary tract infections – Urologists may refer patients to nephrologists in situations where patients have recurring urinary tract infections because the kidneys play a large role in eliminating yeast and bacteria from the body. In addition, it’s been found that there may be a correlation between chronic urinary tract infections and poor renal function.
  • Electrolyte imbalances – The kidneys manage the body’s hydration by getting rid of the materials we don’t need from the blood. When kidneys are not functioning properly, they may incorrectly eliminate electrolytes, causing imbalances and deficiencies in the electrolytes bodies need.
  • Kidney stones – A build-up of calcium and certain metals can form stones inside the kidneys when there is an infection or other kidney problem. The stones can cause extreme pain as they travel through the urinary tract to be eliminated. Pain management is required in these cases, and in some, surgery to break up the stones is necessary.
  • Dialysis – Nephrologists do not administer dialysis to patients waiting for kidney transplants, but they help patients manage the treatments and diagnose renal failure.

Because nephrologists frequently work with other doctors and specialists due to the correlation of kidney disorders with other medical conditions, it can be challenging to determine which doctor is responsible for injuries resulting from the mismanagement or negligence that caused renal failure. That’s why it is critical for patients with such injuries to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney if they believe their injuries could have been prevented.

Common Types of Nephrologist Errors

Typically, patients are referred to nephrologists for further examination by their primary care doctors. When diagnosing patients, nephrologists usually order a battery of lab tests, including imaging, ultrasounds, urinalysis, or biopsies. After determining a diagnosis, a nephrologist will suggest a treatment plan as minor as taking medications or as serious as cancer treatment or a kidney transplant. In complex situations, patients may be referred to other specialists.

Nephrology mistakes happen in various ways, depending on the specific situation. A failure to diagnose and properly treat a kidney condition can lead to a worsening of the condition, neuropathy, heart failure, the loss of a kidney, or renal failure and death. A nephrologist may be held liable for injuries that result from a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failing to order applicable lab tests, misreading imaging or diagnostic tests, or prescribing inappropriate type or dosage of medication, among other negligent actions.

Why Choose Ross Feller Casey For Your Nephrology Malpractice Case?

Suppose you believe that you or your family member suffered a severe injury due to the negligence or medical malpractice of a nephrologist. In that case, you need to discuss your situation with an experienced malpractice lawyer.

At Ross Feller Casey, our medical malpractice attorneys have helped families like yours with these types of cases. We have a successful track record of winning large verdicts for our clients, getting them the financial compensation they deserve for their damages. Additionally, we have a team of leading medical doctors on our staff to review medical records and assist with your claim.

Contact our law office today to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. You will not be charged any fees until we win or settle your case.

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