Hematologists are internal medicine physician sub-specialists with an expanded knowledge of blood, the organs that make blood components and diseases of the blood. The blood is a living tissue that carries nutrients to the 75 trillion cells of the body and also carries waste products away. Blood is made up of:
- Red blood cells, which transport oxygen with the help of heme protein and iron.
- White Blood cells and other immune cells that patrol for and engulf foreign material
- Plasma, or the liquid portion of blood
- Proteins which help with the transport of molecules, and other functions
- Platelets and other clotting factors
Two organs largely responsible for producing the components of blood are bone marrow and the liver. The liver is also responsible for breaking down dead or dying red blood cells. Hematologists diagnose and treat disorders in the liver or bone marrow that result in not enough or absent blood components. Different clotting-related deficiencies a hematologist would be familiar with are vitamin K deficiency, inherited hemophilia, or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura. Hematologists would be the physicians responsible for diagnosing different types of anemia.
Whether it is due to a misshapen heme protein with impaired ability to hold and transport oxygen, or a thalassemia where a person does not produce enough heme protein, or another cause. Hematology and oncology have many overlaps- lymphoma and leukemia are cancers of immune cells that travel throughout the body via the bloodstream. Another example of the hematology and oncology fields overlapping is in the area of bone marrow and stem cell transplants. The bone marrow is the sight of production for most types of blood cells. This is because undifferentiated cells or stem cells) are found predominantly in the bone marrow. Stem cells can become MANY types of different cells and the hopes for treating or curing innumerable diseases is thought to be with these special, malleable cells.
A hematologist might be sought by patients who feel they will have a better understanding and approach to diseases of the blood than a general physician. Or more than likely, a patient will receive a referral to this specialist. Even doctors with very specialized training and knowledge make mistakes. Unnecessary procedures might be recommended and performed. The most common type of error made by doctors by far is with medication. The wrong medication can be prescribed, or the right medication with the wrong dose. Errors in medication can also occur with improper instructions, lack of contraindications listed. All doctors have to be familiar with their patient’s medical history so as not to prescribe something that will cause an adverse drug interaction. Other negligence errors that can happen in hematology are lack of informed consent to a procedure, misdiagnosis and failure to treat a condition, correct diagnosis- but wrong treatment. Misinterpretation of lab or test results can happen. Negligence by a physician is defined as the medical provider acting outside the norm of what most knowledgeable, experienced doctors would have done in the same circumstance.
If you believe you or loved one suffered worsening of a condition, or a death, you may be eligible for damages. Let our experts at the Sweeney Law Firm review the facts to see if you have an immunologist negligence case. If we decide to accept your case, there is no cost for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.