You’d think that with the technology at medical professionals’ disposal that error rates in the profession would be extremely small. Yet, this isn’t the case. In fact, tens of thousands of people continue to be harmed each year by errant medical care. Here are some of the most common ways that this medical malpractice occurs:
1. Diagnostic errors
Misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses play a significant role in many medical malpractice cases. In fact, one study found that about a third of all medical malpractice claims are based on diagnostic errors. Some of the most common ways that these errors occur are when:
- A doctor fails to recognize signs and symptoms of a medical condition
- A doctor fails to order appropriate testing to render an accurate and timely diagnosis
- A doctor fails make a referral to a specialist when the condition in question is outside of the doctor’s field of practice
- Test results are misread or otherwise misinterpreted
- Test results are lost and never reported
- Diagnostic tests are improperly performed, thereby giving inaccurate results
Any of these errors that cause a medical condition to worsen, perhaps even to the point that it becomes fatal.
2. Improper treatment
In some instances, patients simply aren’t given the care that they need even when their diagnosis is clear. This is sometimes seen when hospitals release a patient too early or when medical professionals fail to give clear instructions on necessary follow up care. One reason this type of malpractice occurs is because doctors are often overwhelmed with patients, meaning that they don’t devote the amount of time necessary to ensure that each patient receives the individualized care that he or she needs.
3. Surgical errors
This type of medical malpractice often receives a lot of attention because it’s so egregious. A surgical error, though, can include any of the following:
- Conducting a surgical operation on the wrong body part
- Conducting the wrong surgery on a patient
- Leaving foreign objects, such as surgical sponges and surgical tools, inside of a patient
- Accidentally nicking organs
- Administering an improper amount of anesthesia
Again, surgical errors can prove fatal. But even those who are fortunate enough to survive can face lifelong challenges that they never expected and never deserved.
4. Medication errors
Being given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a correct medication can prove extremely harmful and even lethal. Medical professionals therefore have to be careful when administering medication, which can sometimes be challenging when differing medications have similar names, a doctor’s note is hard to read, and medical professionals are in a hurry.
Have you or a loved one been harmed by medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is more common than many people realize, this despite the fact that hospitals and professional organizations have tried to implement strategies to protect patient safety. But if you or a loved one has been hurt by a medical professional’s error, then you know that those attempts mean nothing.
In those circumstances, you probably want some answers, some accountability, and some compensation to help offset your damages. That’s where legal action can come into play. If you succeed on a medical malpractice claim, then you may be able to secure the financial resources that you need while shining a light on the preventable behaviors that have resulted in tragedy. Hopefully then you can focus on your recovery while at the same time deterring errant medical professionals from operating in a way that will harm someone else.