It is human nature to make mistakes, and a certain degree of forgiveness is expected as a result. However, there is one area where even the smallest of mistakes can have serious consequences — the healthcare industry. Patients trust in the skills and expertise of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to deliver quality medical care. Unfortunately, they make errors from time to time.
The effects of medical malpractice can permanently change victims’ lives, yet concrete data on its prevalence is hard to find. Some victims may not even be aware that medical malpractice occurred during their treatment. Others may realize years after the occurrence, long after the statute of limitations has expired.
Keep reading to learn about the seven of the most common types of medical malpractice to help you determine if you should schedule a consultation with medical malpractice lawyers.
A failure to diagnose the correct illness is one of the most common medical errors. Misdiagnosis can either be a doctor declaring the patient does not have an illness or a doctor diagnosing the patient with the wrong illness. Misdiagnosis counts as a form of medical malpractice because incorrectly diagnosed patients are prevented from receiving proper treatment or receive treatment they do not actually need. In cases where the patient’s illness is life-threatening, a misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences. Infections, vascular events (e.g., heart attacks), and cancer are three major disease categories where misdiagnosis is frequent and life-threatening.
Delayed diagnosis is similar to misdiagnosis, but in this case, the patient does eventually receive a correct, accurate diagnosis after the initial incorrect diagnosis. While receiving the correct diagnosis does allow the patient to be properly treated, the delay may have caused their condition to worsen.
To determine whether or not your situation counts as a delayed diagnosis, question if your doctor assessed you less competently than another doctor would have. An example may be their failure to order a specific diagnostic test, whose results would have pointed to the correct diagnosis. They could also have failed to recognize the signs of your disease on X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or other diagnostic tests.
Failure To Treat
This form of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor accurately diagnoses the patient but fails to treat their condition with an acceptable standard of care. The lack of adequate treatment, such as discharging a patient too early, failing to offer follow-up care, or neglecting to refer a patient to a specialist, can further harm the patient. Failure to treat situations often occur when doctors and hospitals are treating too many patients, which is unfortunately common in the current state of America’s healthcare system.
Surgeries are highly complicated procedures that require several years of training before surgeons develop the necessary skill and expertise to perform them on patients. Unfortunately, surgical errors are a common form of medical malpractice, with instances such as:
- Performing incorrect or unnecessary procedures
- Administering incorrect amounts of anesthesia
- Failure to sterilize surgical tools
- Damaging tissues, nerves, or organs during the procedure
- Leaving medical equipment (e.g., tools, sponges) inside the patient
- Failure to provide adequate care after surgery
These errors can have significant consequences for the patient, often requiring further surgery or treatment to rectify. While patients must give informed consent signifying they understand the risks of intraoperative complications, this does not clear the surgeon of responsibility for their errors.
Prescription Drug Errors
Mistakes made regarding prescription drugs qualify as a form of medical malpractice due to the possibility of adverse side effects when using the wrong drug. Situations that fall under this category include the prescription or administration of incorrect medication or dosage and the prescription of drugs that have harmful interactions with one another.
Birth injuries are one of the most distressing types of medical malpractice. Expecting parents rarely anticipate birth injuries as a result of their OB-GYN’s mistakes. Some of these injuries occur due to inadequate prenatal care, but most of them happen during childbirth. Conditions such as nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, or cephalatomas (when blood pools between the newborn’s scalp and skull) are a common result of this form of medical malpractice. Lifelong treatment is often necessary, and some cases even result in the death of either the newborn or the mother.
Medical Product Liability
Medical professionals depend on a wide range of specialized tools, equipment, and devices to deliver proper care to their patients. However, if these products are faulty, poorly designed, or defective, they may instead cause further injury to the patient. Some examples of medical products that could cause serious injury when defective are pacemakers, kidney dialysis filters, hip and knee replacement parts, and more.
If the defect was the product manufacturer’s fault, they are liable for the injury. On the other hand, if the doctor used or installed the medical product incorrectly, they are liable.
When To File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If the medical malpractice occurred without causing you injury, it is not cause to file a claim. For a situation to qualify for a medical malpractice claim, the medical professional must have acted or failed to act in a way that caused the patient injury, and the injury must have caused financial or emotional loss. However, keep in mind that every situation is different, and this list of common types of medical malpractice is not exhaustive. To accurately determine whether or not you have grounds for a case, you must seek the advice of experienced medical malpractice lawyers.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers
If you suspect that you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, call us at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today. Jonathan Perkins is a successful personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in all its practice areas and has recovered millions of dollars in damages for his clients. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers is ready to fight for your right to compensation. Call us at 203-446-3719 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today.