Any deviation from accepted ethical standards can result in medical malpractice. Some claims happen more frequently than others.
In no particular order, the following are types of the most common medical malpractice claims:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
- Failure to treat.
- Prescription drug errors.
- Surgical or procedural errors.
- Childbirth injuries.
You might be shocked to learn that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins. This accounts for nearly 250,000 deaths a year, although the Journal of Patient Safety claims that this number could be as high as 450,000.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
About one-third, or 33% of all filed malpractice claims from 2013 to 2017 were related to missed or delayed diagnoses, according to an article in Modern Healthcare.
An incorrect or late diagnosis may result in unnecessary treatments or a patient not receiving timely treatment.
A misdiagnosis can happen when a physician fails to:
- Recognize clinical signs and symptoms.
- Order medical testing or seek additional information.
- Refer the patient to a specialist.
Other types of errors that can affect the identification of an illness include:
- Mislabeled lab or test results.
- Lost test results.
- Errors when conducting a test or evaluating data.
A timely and accurate diagnosis can have life or death consequences. A medical professional who is reckless with this process should be held accountable.
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Failure to Treat
Failure to treat violates the standards of care that a medical caregiver accepts when taking on patients, according to the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. This negligence is a frequent cause of malpractice claims.
Some examples of failure to treat include:
- Releasing a patient too soon from the hospital.
- Failing to provide instructions for follow-up care.
- Failing to order appropriate medical tests.
- Neglecting to consider a patient’s medical history when prescribing medicine or treatment.
In some instances, a doctor’s failure to treat is caused by caring for more patients than they can handle. This requires the professional to dig into their resources and direct the patient to another caregiver who can provide treatment.
Prescription Drug Errors
Mistakes involving prescription drugs can cause anything from a mild allergic reaction to the loss of life.
Specific types of prescription drug errors include:
- Prescribing the wrong medicine for a diagnosed condition.
- Prescribing an incorrect dosage (either too much or too little).
- Failing to recognize potentially dangerous drug interactions or allergic reactions.
- Failing to recognize signs of addiction, abuse, or overdose that can increase health risks.
Sometimes a hospitalized patient can receive the wrong medicine. If a negligent pharmacist incorrectly fills a doctor’s prescription, they may be found accountable for causing a patient harm.
Surgical or Procedural Errors
Whether it is emergency or elective surgery, there are many medical professionals in an operating room with a duty to prevent you from harm. The same is true for an out-patient procedure, such as a biopsy.
Some of the most common mistakes that can occur during surgery include:
- Performing on the wrong part of the body.
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient.
- Tools, gauze, or other medical devices left inside the patient.
- Reactions or problems to anesthesia.
- Failure to follow accepted medical practices before, during, and after surgery.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals must properly communicate vital patient information to each other during surgery to avoid an error.
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Injuries that occur before, during, or after childbirth can have catastrophic results.
Birth injuries can be caused by:
- Substandard prenatal care.
- Improper use of forceps or excessive force removing a baby from the birth canal.
- The umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s mouth, nose, or neck.
- Failure to recognize fetal distress.
- Failure to perform a C-section when necessary.
- Dropping, shaking, or mishandling a baby during or after birth.
If the mother did not receive notice of prenatal health conditions before birth, this could be the basis of a medical malpractice case. For example, if a doctor fails to inform the mother that their child will have Downs Syndrome, this is considered poor practice.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You
If you or a family member is suffering from injuries or an illness that you suspect may be related to medical error, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney.
A malpractice lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your case, identify liable parties, and help you recover damages for your physical and emotional injuries.
You could be awarded damages for medical treatment, lost pay, and other losses. You may also prevent another person from being harmed by a negligent doctor, nurse, or medical facility.
Call Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Depending on where you live, you may have a limited time to pursue legal action. Our malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis only which means if there is no recovery for you, there are no fees for us.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today for a free case evaluation at (844) 638-1822.