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Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence in the United States

by Bruce Fagel on May. 07, 2012

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Medical malpractice and medical negligence includes: Medical misdiagnosis, failure to treat a medical condition in a reasonable period of time, surgical mistakes, anesthesia mistakes, and medication mistakes.

Each year, nearly 225,000 people in the United States die because of medical malpractice.  This places medical malpractice deaths as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart attacks and cancer.  Countless others are injured as well from medical malpractice and many cases are never reported or legally pursued by patients.

When doctors are given their medical license, they take the Hippocratic Oath which is a promise to treat their patients to the best of their ability and avoid causing them harm.  When a doctor or any other medical professional violates this oath, they are considered negligent in legal terms.  A medical malpractice lawyer will attempt to determine if a medical professional acted negligently by comparing their performance to the accepted medical standard of care.  Medical malpractice defines negligence in which a medical professional or a medical facility did not take the proper action required in a reasonable amount of time and this negligence caused injuries to the patient.

What is medical malpractice and negligence:

Medical misdiagnosis - A misdiagnosis of the symptoms could cause a patient to receive incorrect treatment.  An example of misdiagnosis would be a patient who is displaying the warning signs of a heart attack but is misdiagnosed with strained muscles, and ends up having a heart attack. 

Failure to treat the medical condition within a reasonable amount of time - If the patient is injured as a result of not being diagnosed or treated within a reasonable amount of time or if the doctor does not follow up with treatment after the initial appointment in a timely manner and the patient is injured as a result.

Surgical mistakes - Surgical errors are a common form of medical negligence.  Because of the complications of surgery and the precision required, if a surgeon accidentally cuts or cauterizes a vital organ, foreign fluids can enter the organ and cause severe infections, sepsis, or septic shock which can lead to a patient’s death. Other surgical mistakes include removing the appendage from the wrong side of the body. 

Anesthesia mistakes:  Administering anesthesia poses a high risk during surgery. Anesthesia mistakes can cause serious and permanent brain injuries to the patient and even death.  Even if the operation was successful, the patient can still be seriously injured or die from an anesthesia mistake made after the operation on the surgical floor or in the post anesthesia recovery room.

Medication mistakes:  A medication mistake can occur if the doctor or nurse prescribes the incorrect dosage of a medication, the wrong medication, or does not thoroughly screen a patient for other medications they may be taking, or allergies they may have to certain medications.  A common occurrence with medication mistakes involves a doctor or nurse administering a medication to a patient as they are exiting their shift but failing to communicate this to the next shift’s doctor or nurse, causing twice the dosage of a drug to be administered to the patient.  This can result in an overdose.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured or died as the result of medical malpractice or medical negligence, you should contact the best medical malpractice lawyer possible.  Call the Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel & Associates at (800) 541-9376 for a free consultation.  Dr. Bruce Fagel is a leading medical malpractice attorney and a licensed medical doctor.

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