Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional acts with negligence, causing harm to a patient. This negligence can take many forms, as listed below.
From 2006 to 2016, there were 143,713 payments made for medical malpractice. Because of this, 60,788 practitioners had to seek reinstatement to their positions. One study states that medical errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States, placing medical errors as the third leading cause of death.
Medical malpractice is a huge, ongoing issue in the United States, one that is often overlooked. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, please contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a free case evaluation, as you may have a malpractice claim on your hands.
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is very common. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to recognize the condition or issues that their patient is dealing with. This can lead to a host of problems down the road, such as incorrect prescriptions and the patient’s condition progressing to a stage that can’t be treated easily.
In some cases, inaccurate diagnosis can be deadly, as timing is essential for medical treatment. If a treatment window is missed because of an incorrect diagnosis, the condition may become untreatable, causing wrongful death or serious irreversible complications.
However, for misdiagnosis to qualify as medical malpractice, your doctor must have performed at a level not equal to other doctors. They must have missed something that most doctors wouldn’t.
2. Delayed Diagnosis
The same is true of delayed diagnosis. If a doctor takes too long to determine the underlying problem, it could be too late to fix it. In delayed diagnosis cases, a doctor may make the incorrect diagnosis first or struggle to make a diagnosis at all.
If the doctor cannot make the proper diagnosis within a period of time, conditions may worsen. To prove delayed diagnosis, you must be able to show that the doctor’s assessment of you or your loved one was less competent than it should have been.
For example, were tests missed? Was there anything they overlooked? This information is vital in building your medical malpractice claim.
3. Surgical Errors
There are many different reasons that a surgical error may occur, including:
- The wrong procedure was performed
- Surgery was unnecessary
- Avoidable damage to the organs, nerves, or tissues occurred
- Surgical instruments were not sterile
- Medical equipment was left inside the patient
- Aftercare was inadequate
There’s a big difference between a surgical error and the risks associated with surgery. Doctors are required to tell you about the risks associated with surgery, and if you happen to be affected by those risks, you don’t have a medical malpractice case.
However, if you experienced a surgical error or something that should not have occurred during your surgery, you may have a case.
4. Failure To Treat
Unlike misdiagnosis, failure to treat occurs when the patient is correctly diagnosed, but that diagnosis is never followed through on. This includes discharging a patient too soon, not providing the correct follow-up care, or not providing the standard of care required for their specific condition.
All of these constitute medical malpractice. To prove that your doctor failed to treat you, you must be able to prove that you didn’t receive the minimum standard of care that a competent doctor would have treated you with.
5. Birth Injuries
Most medical malpractice claims are filed against OB/GYNs for birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and cephalohematoma. These are all injuries that can be caused by medical errors, and therefore, are avoidable.
6. Prescription Drug Errors
Prescription drug errors often go hand in hand with misdiagnosis, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the wrong prescription is ordered, or the wrong prescription is filled, causing the patient to take the wrong medication.
Medication errors can cause adverse side effects, especially if they interact with another medication that the patient is on. To prove that you experienced medical malpractice due to medication errors, you’ll need to prove that there was negligence involved in your prescription, whether the incorrect prescription was written or filled.
7. Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia is an essential part of the surgical process, as it keeps patients from feeling any pain. Mistakes committed by an anesthesiologist may cause lasting consequences, such as intense pain, brain injuries, and fatality.
If your anesthesiologist or doctor failed to provide you with the correct instructions of what to do after surgery, or they provided you with the wrong amount of anesthesia, you may have a medical malpractice case.
Medical malpractice can also occur if they fail to monitor your vitals correctly while you’re under or if the equipment they use to monitor your vitals or administer the anesthesia is defective.
8. Failure To Prevent Or Treat Infections
Hospitals are a great place to develop an infection. If there are unsanitary conditions, or your doctors use equipment that hasn’t been sterilized, you may develop an infection. In this case, they would be failing to prevent an infection from occurring by not keeping the hospital or healthcare clinic clean.
If they then don’t correctly treat the infection, that can also be considered medical malpractice. Infections are dangerous, and when left untreated, they can cause sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or someone you love has experienced medical malpractice of any kind, please contact our talented team of attorneys here at Sand Law as soon as possible. We have years of experience working on medical malpractice cases, and we want to help you get the compensation and peace of mind you deserve.