Medical malpractice often causes injuries, disabilities, and huge losses to the victims. In fact, a study found that up to 251,000 annual deaths occur in the United States due to medical errors. Victims of medical malpractice also have to deal with psychological and medical trauma that can last their entire life.
Unfortunately, many victims of medical malpractice don’t get any form of compensation as they don’t pursue claims. Others who manage to file for claims do it too late or fail to prove liability.
To successfully file a medical malpractice claim, you have to prove that the mistake indeed happened, and you suffered injuries and losses as a result. That starts by understanding the types of medical malpractice. This article looks at seven common types of medical malpractice that happen every day.
Misdiagnosis happens in various medical facilities and can be life-threatening. Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness and ends up giving treatment that the patient doesn’t need. It can also happen in the form of delayed diagnosis when a doctor takes too long to determine an illness.
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may worsen the patient’s condition because they might not receive the needed treatment on time. Sometimes, it may be too late before the doctors realize the real problem.
To successfully file a claim for misdiagnosis, you must prove that the doctor failed to provide the same type of treatment a skilled and competent doctor would. As a result, this caused the patient harm and losses.
2. Surgical or Anesthesia Errors
Some medical malpractice happens during surgical procedures, and most of them are known as “never errors”. These mistakes are too obvious and should never occur in the first place. An example of a “never error” occurs when a surgeon leaves a surgical instrument in the patient’s body during surgery.
Another common surgical error occurs when the doctor operates on the wrong body part or performs surgery on the wrong patient. Some surgical errors cause infections or complications that endanger the patient’s life.
Anesthesia errors also happen when an anesthesiologist provides the wrong anesthesia or fails to monitor the patient’s vital signs during administration. These errors can cause brain injuries or death.
Many surgical errors are so obvious that the patient doesn’t need testimony to prove a case. Even if the patient signed the consent form, they could still pursue a medical malpractice case.
3. Birth Injuries
After carrying a pregnancy for nine months, parents look forward to receiving their babies in good health. However, complications and mistakes during birth can cause harm to the baby and the mother.
Birth injuries occur when the delivery staff act negligently and harm the baby or the mother. The aftermath of these mistakes can be devastating and cause the victims physical and emotional pain. Sometimes, negligence can cause the death of the baby or the mother.
Examples of birth injuries are when the staff fail to provide adequate prenatal care or fails to diagnose serious birth complications on time. It can also happen when the staff fails to provide an emergency C-section or administers the wrong anesthesia during surgery.
4. Drug Prescription Errors
Drug prescription errors can go hand in hand with misdiagnosis. Other times, the doctor might prescribe the right medication for the condition, but the patient receives the wrong one. Taking the wrong medicine may result in unpleasant side effects or interrupt other medications.
To prove this type of medical malpractice, you must provide proof that you received the wrong medication.
You must show that the doctor or nurse acted negligently during the prescription or provision of the drug. The negligent act must have caused you harm or losses.
5. Failure to Treat
Negligently failing to treat happens when the doctor correctly diagnoses the condition but doesn’t provide the needed treatment appropriately.
These cases mostly happen in hospitals that receive too many patients, and the practitioners tend to prioritize profit over safety. They’ll end up neglecting the patients that don’t pay the bills on time.
Failure to treat also happens when a patient is discharged too early, or the doctor fails to provide the necessary referral on time. Failing to provide the required treatment may worsen the condition or cause death.
6. Defective Medical Devices
Using defective medical devices also results in serious injuries to patients. An example is when a patient suffers organ perforation due to using a poorly designed medical device. Using a defective device may also worsen the patient’s condition or cause death.
In many cases, the responsible parties may fail to realize that the devices have defects before using them on the patients. It might be too late before they realize the problem. If the patient can prove that the manufacturer knew the defects or carelessly made the device, they may be able to file a claim.
7. Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Finally, another medical malpractice happens when a medical team provides treatment or performs a procedure without obtaining consent from the patient. Informed consent happens when a patient or representative receives full information about a procedure.
To get informed consent, the medical team must provide all the information about the procedure. The information includes why it’s necessary, the expected recovery, the risks involved, and the benefits. This information must be correct, unbiased, and impartial.
The only time informed consent might not be required is during emergency medical needs. If that’s not the case, then failure to obtain informed consent will constitute negligence.
Medical malpractices are common, and sometimes, patients fail to get the compensation they deserve. However, it’s also important to understand that not every error constitutes medical malpractice.
You must prove that the medical practitioner acted negligently and made a mistake any skilled person in the same position will not make.
Sometimes, it might be hard to prove a genuine malpractice case successfully. Working with a lawyer can help determine if you have a claim to pursue and the procedures to follow.
An experienced attorney can help negotiate on your behalf and ensure you get deserving compensation.