End Stage Renal Failure (Kidney Failure)
Philadelphia and Allentown, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
End stage renal disease (ESRD), more commonly known as kidney failure, is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. When a patient’s kidney function drops below 15%, it is imperative that he or she begins dialysis treatment as soon as possible to assist kidney function. If not addressed quickly and appropriately by dialysis or a full kidney transplant, patients with ESRD may only have weeks to live.
Low-Quality Dialysis Care is All Too Common
Unfortunately, despite the fact that over 400,000 people in America are dialysis patients, our country still has one of the world’s highest mortality rates for dialysis care.
An investigative research group called ProPublica recently reported on the substandard quality of care that many of the nation’s dialysis patients receive at kidney clinics. Although the medical directors for clinics are required to be board-certified physicians, the clinics do not usually have a doctor on site, and many struggle to meet the federal requirements of employing at least one full-time registered nurse. Because of this, medical supervision is minimal, leading to dangerous lapses in treatment and unsanitary conditions.
If a patient with ESRD is placed on dialysis too late, or if their treatment is not carefully monitored to address lapses and contaminations, patients can be exposed to life-threatening infections. We have a right to expect that medical professionals everywhere will adhere to the standard of care and safety regulations that they have sworn to – especially when a patient’s life is on the line. If a physician is responsible for a negligent treatment process, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Causes of Kidney Failure
Renal failure can develop because of an acute situation – such as excessive blood loss or dehydration – or due to chronic problems that have been poorly controlled. While acute situations often occur suddenly with no real chance for prevention, many of the chronic causes of kidney failure are well-known problems long before failure has a chance to occur. These include:
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Poorly controlled hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Chronic glomerulonephritis (a progressive kidney disorder)
Diabetes and hypertension are the two most common causes of end stage renal failure, despite the fact that these two problems can and should be controlled by a primary physician. Patients with high blood pressure and diabetes need regular treatment and careful monitoring to ensure these chronic conditions do not lead to kidney failure and other life-threatening consequences.
When Kidney Failure Can Be Prevented
Unfortunately, lapses in preventative care still happen. When a doctor fails to treat blood pressure and diabetes patients at the appropriate intervals and with the appropriate methods, they can be held responsible for medical negligence. A lifetime of dialysis treatment and kidney transplants is a costly consequence for patients who could have avoided this dangerous disease altogether.
If you or one of your loved ones has suffered from medical malpractice involving ESRD, kidney failure, or dialysis treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers in New Jersey today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller serves medical malpractice victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton.
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