When you go to the doctor’s office or hospital for medical treatment, the last thing you expect is for the doctors or nurses to make a mistake while caring for you. Just like anyone else, healthcare professionals aren’t perfect and they can slip-up, but, because right and wrong in their profession is often a matter of life and death, they are held to a higher standard than other professionals.
Doctors and other medical professionals can make any number of errors, many of which could have serious or even deadly repercussions. One small mistake could cause permanent damage, a life-threatening complication, or it could be fatal. If you or someone you love was harmed by a doctor, make sure you find out if you have a medical malpractice case on your hands.
Some of the more common types of medical malpractice cases include:
When doctors see a patient, they assess their condition, listen to their symptoms, and make a diagnosis based on what they observe with the knowledge they have. Unfortunately, mistakes during this process are usually the most common. Doctors might miss key symptoms, overlook a potential alternative diagnosis, or discount certain complains relayed by the patient. Any of these key mistakes could cause the doctor to incorrectly diagnose a patient, which means that patient will then receive the incorrect treatment or ineffective drugs. These treatment options could be ineffectual against the real problem, or they could even make the issue worse.
It is important to note that not all cases of misdiagnosis will be considered medical malpractice. Doctors are allowed to make mistakes, but those errors could be considered malpractice if they fail to do what another qualified doctor would do in the same position.
2. Failure to Diagnose or Treat
Similar to a case of misdiagnosis, doctors might also delay the diagnosis or fail to diagnose a problem. The doctor might misdiagnose the patient initially, but could correct the diagnosis later on. Also, doctors could come up with the correct diagnosis but could fail to administer adequate treatment.
3. Surgical Errors
Surgeries always come with some level of risk, even minor, routine procedures. However, even small mistakes could lead to serious complications and lasting health problems. In some cases, it might even require correction through additional surgeries or other medical treatment. Many surgical mistakes have to do with anesthesia errors where the patient is not adequately administered, causing the patient to lie awake during surgery, feeling the procedure. Or, the patient might react to anesthesia, or the anesthesiologist might give the patent too much.
Other surgical errors might include administering the wrong operation on the wrong patient or operating on the wrong limb. Administrative issues can cause mix-ups, which might result in an operation to the left knee rather than the right, or an appendix removal for someone who came in for a heart surgery, and so on. Many of these types of mistakes might be because of hospital errors, making the medical facility liable, rather than the physicians themselves.
Sometimes surgical errors have more to do with care preoperative or postoperative care. The nurses might not adequately prepare the patient for surgery, which might later cause complications or discomfort, or they may fail to give the proper care for the patient after surgery. The patient might receive the wrong medicine, no medicine at all, or negligence could lead to pain, discomfort, infection, or a host of other issues.
4. Prescription Errors
Doctors might also make serious errors when the prescribe medicines to their patients. They may prescribe the wrong medicine, a medicine the patient is known to be allergic to, or might over-prescribe medication. Some medicines can be extremely dangerous when they are taken too frequently, the most notable of which are opioids, which can become addictive. Doctors might also fail to recognize the signs of addition in their patient and continue to prescribe medicines he or she is addicted to, which might lead to a deadly overdose.
Pharmacists might also make errors while filling prescriptions, leaving patients with incorrect dosages or the wrong medicine altogether. Or, nurses and other medical workers might administer the wrong drugs or incorrect dosages at medical facilities, like hospitals.
5. Medical Product Liability
Not all medical malpractice cases are due to doctor negligence, sometimes drug manufacturers, medical product manufacturers, and healthcare facilities could be to blame. Medical devices can be instrumental in dealing with joint issues, heart problems, and a host of other serious ailments. However, if the device is installed incorrectly, or if it is faulty or poorly designed, it could cause more problems than it solves.
Or, the medical devices and machines used during surgery might not work properly, leading to surgical complications or other problems. This might occur if the device is faulty, the equipment is outdated, broken, or if other defects exist.
6. Birth Injuries
Many medical malpractice cases occur because some mistake or judgment error is made during childbirth. Childbirth is an extremely complicated process, and it often lasts several hours or even days. There are many factors doctors, nurses, and midwives need to consider when they deliver a baby, both for the sake of the mother’s health and her unborn child’s. Any errors, no matter how small, could be extremely damaging. The baby or mother might be having a difficult labor, and sometimes that means the doctor should call for a cesarean in order to avoid putting additional stress on either, which could deprive the baby of oxygen or could cause the mother serious harm. Or, if tools are needed to assist during delivery, any incorrect use could lead to broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries, muscle tears, or damage to the baby’s nervous system. Most of these types of injuries are preventable, but unfortunately, when they occur, they can cause lasting damage to the child and might also lead to health risks for the mother.
If you or someone you love suffered because of the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional or healthcare facility, our firm wants to help.
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