Top 5 Most Common Medical Malpractice Errors

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For the most part doctors, nurses and other members of a medical staff – whether they work at a doctor’s office or a hospital – strive to do the best job they can. They know how much patients depend on them to treat what are often serious medical problems; they also don’t want to leave themselves open for medical malpractice lawsuits. Sadly however, medical malpractice does happen. That’s why it’s important to find the best Orlando medical malpractice attorneys you can if you feel you have been a victim.  Because of our years of experience, here are our Top 5 Most Common Medical Malpractice Errors.

Medical Malpractice

Of course, no one is perfect and mistakes are made. But unlike in most other professions, mistakes in the medical realm can have dire, even fatal, consequences. And while many mistakes made by medical professionals don’t rise to the level of medical malpractice, some do, and it’s important to know what to look for when determining whether you have been the victim of medical malpractice.

Of medical malpractice cases that make it to trial, the plaintiff was successful 21% of the time (according to a New England Journal of Medicine study of the issue), while 61% of settlements were considered to be favorable to the plaintiff.

Below are the top five most common areas where medical malpractice occurs.

Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis is a Common Medical Malpractice Error

A doctor’s failure to diagnose an ailment or a doctor giving a faulty diagnosis is very common when it comes to reasons malpractice suits are filed. In many cases, not catching something early – like cancer – can be the difference between life and death. If a doctor fails to pay close enough attention to a patient’s medical history or what the patient is describing to them, it can lead to the wrong conclusion, as can misreading test results through carelessness or incompetency.

While many other things could lead to such an outcome – diagnostic errors, miscommunication among the medical staff, even two ailments having similar symptoms – the results can be terrible, no matter what the reason. If a reasonably competent doctor would not have made the same mistake under similar circumstances, then you could have a case for malpractice.

Medication Errors

Another area where doctor – or nurse, staff, hospital, pharmacist – error may come into play is with medications. If a doctor does not make a patient aware of all the side effects involved with a certain medication or doesn’t make sure that a new medicine won’t interact with other medications taken by the patient, medical malpractice may have occurred. This is also true if a dosage administered or marked on a prescription is wrong, whether from carelessness, incompetency or miscommunication. A simple error like the ones described can be harmful, and sometimes fatal, to a patient.

The makers of a medication can even be held liable if their product is mislabeled or if side effects are omitted.

Anesthesia Errors

A small, simple mistake during the process of putting a patient under anesthesia can quickly lead to dangerous consequences. An anesthesiologist has to make sure they know their patient’s medical history thoroughly and that they are administering the right amount of anesthesia.

While too much anesthesia can lead to a myriad of bad outcomes, too little can allow someone to wake up at the exact wrong time during a procedure; either mistake can lead to horrific pain or worse. This, along with the injury to a patient’s throat/mouth/teeth during intubation, failing to monitor vital signs while a patient is under anesthesia and failing to apprise the patient of proper pre-op procedures can lead to possible anesthesiologist malpractice.

Surgery Errors

Most malpractice issues that take place at hospitals occur during surgery. Besides the anesthesia problems cited above, many things can go wrong during the surgical procedure, including equipment failure, miscommunication among the operating team, an incorrect incision site/surgery on the wrong part of the body and – although it is not common – a surgical instrument can be left inside a patient after they are sewn up.

Improper planning before the surgery or poor care afterward – medication errors, bad post-op instructions, infections from lackluster care – can also lead to malpractice issues.

Childbirth Errors

One of the most common areas of medical malpractice is childbirth. In fact, OBGYN’s have more malpractice suits filed against them than any other type of doctor. The main reason for this is the sheer length of time prenatal care takes and the inherent danger in bringing a child into the world.

In the months leading up to the birth, many things can go wrong. A doctor can fail to diagnose many common ailments that come with pregnancy, including preclampsia, gestational diabetes, anemia, hypoglycemia and Rh incompatibility. A diagnosis failure can also occur when it comes to identifying birth defects, ectopic pregnancy or a disease that could be contagious to the fetus.

More can go wrong during the birthing process itself. A failure to anticipate complications due to the baby’s size and position, failing to notice that the umbilical cord has become wrapped around the baby’s neck, not noticing signs of fetal distress and not knowing when to call for a c-section are all ways in which a doctor can open themselves up for a malpractice suit during childbirth.

One wrong move can leave a mother and/or her baby injured or worse.

Is It Malpractice?

An important thing to remember when deciding if what a medical staff has done or hasn’t done rises to the level of medical malpractice is that simply being unhappy with your level of care is not enough. There has to be injury as well as a medical professional failing to provide a standard of care that other medical professionals would be able to provide under the same circumstances.

If you live in Florida and think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice or simply have more questions, contact the attorneys at Badgley Law Group for a free legal consultation. Let their experience and expertise work for you.

Additional reading:

Shocking Hospital Error Statistics Leading to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

The Dangers of Medication Errors

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