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Medical malpractice can have devastating consequences

Medical malpractice can take many forms and the consequences for a Montana patient can be life-changing, or possibly life-ending. For example, failure to diagnose cancer can result in a tumor continuing to grow undetected, until it is too late to remove by surgery or treat effectively with radiation.

Birth injuries caused by medical malpractice are particularly tragic. Negligence in the delivery room can result in severe and lifelong disabilities for the child. A lack of oxygen to the child's brain can lead to cerebral palsy. Negligent use of medical equipment can cause severe head injuries to the baby.

Lack of informed consent can also have serious consequences. If a doctor fails to get informed consent from a patient, the patient may be put on a risky course of treatment or medication that wasn't knowingly agreed to. When death or a worsened medical condition occurs, the patient - or surviving family members - may learn of the risks for the first time.

Wrong-site surgery is a particularly horrific example of medical negligence. Imagine waking up from surgery to learn that the surgeon amputated the wrong leg - instead of removing the diseased or injured one, the doctor removed the healthy one. Now you have only one leg left - and it is the one that still has to be amputated because it is diseased or severely injured.

When these kinds of tragedies occur, patients and family members need answers. If the physician failed to provide the standard of care adhered to by other physicians in the field, the victim may consider seeking compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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