Healthcare workers are held to the highest ethical standards; they are expected to provide their patients with the utmost in care. However, there are cases in which providers fail to perform their duties properly, resulting in medical malpractice.
These errors can lead to grave injuries and even death. According to a study by Johns Hopkins (NEED A PROPER NAME FOR THIS SOURCE – University? Hospital?), medical malpractice is one of the top three causes of death in the United States, with around 250,000 fatalities per year.
Any patient who suffers from medical malpractice can seek the help of a lawyer and file a claim. Here are the most common medical malpractice claims in the United States.
Misdiagnosis is the top reason for medical malpractice claims. Diagnostic errors can happen at any given time during a patient’s treatment. A doctor can disregard signs and symptoms, forget to follow up on a patient, or fail to refer the patient to a specialist. Misdiagnosis can happen in the lab, too. There can be errors in testing and analyzing data, and test results can be mislabeled or misplaced.
Misdiagnosis can result in the deterioration of a patient’s health because of delays in medical treatment. It can also be a financial burden when a patient has to pay for medical treatments that should have been unnecessary.
Medication Prescription Errors
Medicine is supposed to help a patient get better, but things can go wrong quickly if there is an error in the prescription. A doctor can prescribe the wrong medication for a patient’s condition or give the patient the wrong dosage of the right medication.
It’s also malpractice if a doctor prescribes a drug to which the patient is allergic or doesn’t recognize signs of abuse, overdose, or addiction. Pharmacists can also be responsible for malpractice if they fail to follow a doctor’s prescription.
Errors in the operating room are more common than you think: they account for 25% of annual malpractice claims. Some examples of surgical malpractice include a doctor giving a patient an incorrect dosage of anesthesia before surgery, a doctor performing surgery on the wrong part of a patient’s body, or even a doctor operating on the wrong person. Doctors or nurses can also leave surgical tools inside a patient or fail to sterilize instruments before surgery, later causing infection.
Sometimes, malpractice can even be a mix of surgical and medication errors.
Childbirth in itself is hard, but it can become more complicated than it has to be when a doctor fails to adhere to proper medical protocols. Medical malpractice can happen when a doctor fails to monitor the mother or baby’s vital signs, when a doctor fails to acknowledge fetal distress, or when a doctor does not order an emergency Cesarean section when necessary. In addition, doctors can cause harm to the baby when they mishandle forceps or use too much force to deliver a child.
Medical malpractice in childbirth can lead to injuries such as brain damage, cerebral palsy, hypoxia, and spinal cord issues.
Failure to Treat a Patient
Some doctors fail to fulfill their most important obligation: to treat a patient. Failure to treat a patient can happen when a doctor releases them too soon from the hospital or when they fail to arrange follow-up appointments. A doctor may also commit malpractice if they do not order the correct medical tests for a patient’s condition.
The Bottom Line:
If you or someone you know is a victim of medical malpractice, a lawyer can help you file a claim or lawsuit. They can also help you determine the amount of compensation you can recover for your damages. For more information on medical malpractice and how you can recover, contact Friedman Law Offices at (402)476-1093.