Common Mistakes that Might Lead to Medical Malpractice
Summary: Under most state laws, medical malpractice is defined as an act or omission by a healthcare provider, such as a physician, that deviates from the normal standards of practice in the medical field, which causes a patient injury or death. Medical malpractice is a type of tort law and involves civil court and not criminal proceedings. Medical malpractice lawsuits attempt to provide financial compensation to a patient who was provided substandard care and was injured.
Major Types of Mistakes in a Medical Malpractice Case
There are several common reasons that medical malpractice lawsuits are filed. Below are some of the most common
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are both types of medical malpractice. When a healthcare provider does not diagnose your medical condition or makes an incorrect diagnosis, you can suffer a catastrophic injury, or even die.
Many serious medical problems, such as cancer, go through stages. Many forms of cancer are treatable when they are seen by the doctor early. But they can be fatal once they have progressed to later stages.
Failing to correctly diagnose a serious medical problem can cause you to get medical treatment for the wrong medical problem. This can cause great pain and side effects that are unnecessary. You also are prevented from the timely receiving of a treatment that could improve your actual medical condition.
Surgical mistakes are the reason for a large number of these lawsuits. Some surgical errors are subtle. While you might hear about a severe case on the news, such as a doctor amputating the wrong limb, these types of cases are very rare.
The majority of surgical errors happen from negligence that occurs during the procedure. For example:
- The doctor did not perform proper preoperative procedures, leading to a poor outcome or infection.
- The provider did not account for your pre-existing condition that needed special care.
- The medical provider did not follow routine, established medical procedures.
- The doctor did not initialize the surgical area before he started.
- The doctor did not use proper post-operative protocols or did not give enough self care instructions to you, the patient.
Some of the common complications arising from surgical mistakes are:
- Blood clots
- Serious, often fatal infections
- Respiratory failure leading to brain damage
- Reopening and/or infection of wound.
Most surgeries require local or general anesthesia. The area that is being treated may be numbed, or you will be put under full anesthesia.
No matter the type of anesthesia is used, the doctor must administer the anesthetic properly. To do so, he or she must account for your age, weight, gender, medical history, allergies to drugs and more. If the doctor rushes through this process and makes mistakes, you could suffer severe complications.
Common errors seen in anesthesia are:
- Dosage errors
- Delay in delivery
- Not adequately monitoring a patient that is under anesthesia
- Sedation for too long
- Not recognizing or responding to patient complications
- Malfunctioning drug delivery equipment
- Not providing enough pre-sedation instructions prior to the surgery.
Not Getting Informed Consent
Patients must be allowed to make fully informed decisions about the treatments they receive. You have the right to choose whether or not you want to undergo a medical procedure. In the ER, if the patient is incapacitated, doctors have some leeway about whether to do an operation without consent. But in other cases, doctors must discuss with you your diagnosis, talk about alternatives, and get written informed consent from you before the surgery is begun.
Each year, infections affect nearly two million people who receive health care. This leads to almost 100,000 deaths. Some of these cases could be the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Improper dosage, administration and simple drug mix-ups often cause patient harm and sometimes death.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a possible medication error, you should talk to a medical malpractice attorney in your area today.
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