The advancement of technology has improved healthcare outcomes greatly. From MRIs and X-rays to CAT scans and ultrasounds, technology has dramatically changed how healthcare is practiced today. From allowing surgeons to practice on computer simulations before carrying out procedures to enabling doctors to carry out their work in the comfort of a sterile lab – technology has allowed researchers and innovators to shape medicine into what it is today. However, despite the many benefits technology has brought us, even the most advanced equipment can be vulnerable to human error and oversights made during critical stages.
Medical malpractice cases have been rising at an alarming rate in the past few years. Medical negligence is a common and recurring cause of catastrophic events in hospitals. The repercussions of medical malpractices can be majorly serious. The standards that doctors are held accountable to are federal laws, which means they can be penalized if they fail to follow them. This article aims to provide you with a brief insight into the six most common types of medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Delays in diagnosis or misdiagnosis can lead to a patient’s worse outcomes, especially if they suffer from a terminal illness like cancer. This allows cancer to spread further throughout the body before treatment begins. This is especially true for cancers like mesothelioma, which are often slow-growing and hard to detect early but become more aggressive if left untreated for too long. If you or your loved one were suffering from this disease and weren’t diagnosed on time, you can read up about mesothelioma lawsuit settlements and understand how to proceed with the lawsuit. You can demand financial compensation for the emotional and physical pain endured due to your healthcare provider’s medical negligence.
Doctors may make mistakes when diagnosing any cancer because:
- They misread or ignore signs and symptoms.
- They do not order tests and scans timely.
- They do not examine their patients thoroughly enough or at all times during treatment.
- They do not follow up on test results or other information that could reveal an error in diagnosis.
As discussed above, misdiagnosis is a serious problem, and it gives birth to many others. Misdiagnosis causes your doctor to do invasive tests, procedures, or surgeries. They may even prescribe the wrong medication that can make your condition worse than before.
Other examples include:
- Overlooking a patient’s medical history.
- Giving inadequate or no instructions for follow-up care.
- Discharging a patient sooner than needed.
- Not conducting the proper diagnostic tests.
For example, some types of infections require immediate treatment with antibiotics, while others may require longer courses of medication depending on the severity of the condition and whether it has spread throughout the body (systemic). Failure to treat an infection properly can lead to serious health consequences, including organ damage and even death. If your treatment is causing you more pain and harm, you have every right to file a lawsuit.
Another widespread medical malpractice claim is prescribing an incorrect dosage of medication or entirely wrong medicines. Taking the wrong medication or improper dosage can cause serious harm, which may lead to death. Other mistakes that qualify as negligence include:
- Prescribing a drug with dangerous side effects or refusing to disclose the side effects.
- Not taking patient’s history of any allergies or any other medicine they are already taking
- Prescribing a drug that reacts with ongoing treatment or other medicines
- Not instructing the patient or their caretaker well about the administration of drugs
Childbirth is a precious moment cherished by the expectant parents. Unfortunately, birth injuries are prevalent and can occur when a baby sustains an injury due to medical negligence during the birthing process. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 7 out of 1000 newborns suffer from an injury. Many injuries heal on their own as the child grows but sometimes can result in serious conditions like cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brain damage (that can hamper normal growth of the baby), and improper muscle tone that affects mobility. If your child went through a birth injury that resulted in brain damage and other disabilities, you could file for a childbirth injury lawsuit.
There are many different types of medical malpractice cases that can occur during childbirth:
- Birth injuries from forceps delivery or vacuum extraction (also called a cesarean section)
- Birth injuries from lack of oxygen to baby in the womb during labor and delivery
- Injuries sustained during labor when the mother is given drugs to induce labor or speed up contractions
- Failure to monitor fetal heart rate to recognize signs of distress
- Ignore uterine rupture.
Emergency room errors
Emergency rooms usually see most of the tension and drama in the hospital. Immediate attention is required for urgent cases, and the medical staff is expected to be at the top of their game. When you go to an emergency room for treatment for an injury or illness, you expect doctors and nurses to diagnose your condition timely and correctly and provide appropriate medical care if needed. Suppose they fail to do so because they did not properly diagnose your condition or administer the wrong treatment. In that case, you could have grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against them. Inadequate care given can cause serious emotional pain to the patient and their caretakers, and the law of the state ensures this pain is compensated for.
Although it is pretty understandable that a busy day means distracted healthcare staff, the burden solely falls on the administration to ensure ER protocols are followed and every patient admitted is well-taken care of.
Surgery is another area where medical malpractice can occur if the procedure is not performed correctly or if patient consent was not obtained before surgery. Here are a few examples:
- A doctor may have operated unnecessary or on the wrong region of the body. Nerve damage during the procedure
- A patient contracts infection due to unsterilized equipment
- Giving too much or less anesthesia
- A surgeon leaves an instrument or any other object in the body
- Inadequate care is provided during pre-op, surgery, and post-op care, leading to infections or bedsores.
Medical malpractice is quite common and leads to stressful situations. Therefore, if you are ever in the unfortunate position of being involved in a medical malpractice case due to an injury at the hands of a healthcare professional, you must understand what these types are and how the state protects your rights. Hopefully, this information will help readers have a more thorough understanding of the types of negligence that nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals are liable for so that they can take the right action at the right time!