From leaving a medical instrument inside a patient, to misdiagnosis or improper follow-up care – these are some of the most reported medical mistakes resulting in malpractice suits. As an injured individual dealing with physical and emotional trauma, the last thing you want is for your doctor or healthcare provider to make errors that could have been prevented; yet it does happen far too often. In this blog post we’ll discuss some of the more common medical malpractice mistakes patients encounter, so that hopefully readers can become better informed and avoid any future issues due to inadequate treatment.
1. FAILURE TO TREAT OR FIGHT INFECTIONS
Hospitals can be a breeding ground for infections if unsanitary conditions exist or if doctors use non-sterilized equipment. Failure to maintain cleanliness in the hospital or healthcare clinic can result in preventable infections. Additionally, inadequate treatment of infections may be considered medical malpractice. Untreated infections pose a serious risk, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions like sepsis.
2. SURGICAL ERRORS
Surgical errors can occur due to various reasons, such as performing the wrong procedure, unnecessary surgery, damage to organs or tissues, non-sterile instruments, leaving medical equipment inside the patient, or inadequate aftercare. It is important to differentiate surgical errors from the inherent risks of surgery, as doctors are obligated to inform patients about these risks. However, if you have been affected by a surgical error or an incident that should not have happened during your surgery, you may have a potential medical malpractice case.
Misdiagnosis is a common issue where doctors fail to identify their patients’ conditions, leading to a range of problems including incorrect prescriptions and disease progression that becomes difficult to treat. In some cases, inaccurate diagnosis can be fatal due to the importance of timely medical intervention. To qualify as medical malpractice, a doctor must have deviated from the standard level of care and missed something that most doctors wouldn’t.
4. PRESCRIPTION DRUG ERRORS
Prescription drug errors, often associated with misdiagnosis, can occur due to incorrect ordering or filling of prescriptions, resulting in patients taking the wrong medication. These errors can lead to adverse side effects, particularly if they interact with other medications. To establish medical malpractice caused by medication errors, it is necessary to demonstrate negligence in the prescription process, whether in writing or filling the incorrect prescription.
5. FAILURE TO TREAT
Failure to treat refers to situations where a patient receives a correct diagnosis but does not receive the necessary follow-up care or the required standard of care for their specific condition. This can include premature discharge or inadequate follow-up care. Such scenarios are considered medical malpractice. Proving failure to treat requires demonstrating that the minimum standard of care expected from a competent doctor was not provided.
6. DELAYED DIAGNOSIS
Delayed diagnosis can have serious consequences. It can lead to incorrect or missed diagnoses, worsening conditions, and potential medical malpractice claims. It is crucial to show that the doctor’s assessment was inadequate, potentially due to missed tests or overlooked information.
7. ANESTHESIA ERRORS
Effective anesthesia is vital during surgery to ensure patients remain pain-free. Mistakes made by an anesthesiologist may result in severe consequences such as intense pain, brain injuries, or even fatalities. If your healthcare provider fails to provide proper post-operative instructions or administers an incorrect amount of anesthesia, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Similarly, medical malpractice can occur if vital signs are not adequately monitored or if defective equipment is used during the administration of anesthesia.
8. BIRTH INJURIES
OB/GYNs face the majority of medical malpractice claims, particularly relating to birth injuries like shoulder dystocia, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and cephalohematoma. These injuries are avoidable and often result from medical errors.
After reviewing the eight most reported medical malpractice mistakes, it is evident that patient safety should always come first. It’s important for patients to understand their rights and to stay educated on changes in enforcement or healthcare regulation policies. Although mistakes in patient care can be detrimental and even life altering, seeking legal assistance can help ensure justice is served. Thankfully, there are resources available such as attorneys Kaiman and Crahan that act as advocates for the individuals affected by medical negligence. If you feel like you or a family member have been a victim of medical malpractice, please don’t hesitate to contact Kaiman and Crahan today so we can help you seek justice while protecting your rights.