Malpractice occurs when a trained professional commits an error that puts their patient or client at risk. Medical malpractice – when a doctor or other medical professional commits the error – leads to injuries and illnesses, and all too often can be fatal. When medical malpractice occurs, the person harmed has the legal right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The lawsuit can include the doctor treating the patient, as well as surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals in the office or hospital whose action or inaction led to the injury or illness.
Most cases of medical malpractice fall into one of four categories, including:
- Negligence affecting pregnancy and childbirth
- Mistakes in prescribing or administering medication
- Surgical errors
People visit their doctors when they are experiencing symptoms of a medical issue so they can get a professional opinion as to the cause of their distress. Sometimes these symptoms are mild and relatively easy to cope with, while other times symptoms occur chronically and interfere with a person’s quality of life, or they are a sign of a serious disease or disorder.
In order to provide appropriate treatment, a doctor must first identify the problem. When a doctor fails to identify the cause of a person’s symptoms, it can cause a disease to progress and become more difficult to treat. If a doctor identifies a patient’s symptoms as being related to the incorrect disease, it can lead to unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, applications of treatment.
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis occurs more frequently than most people imagine. The most common issues to be misdiagnosed include tumors, blood clots in the lungs, heart disease, and heart attack.
Negligence Affecting Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirth is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life, but that excitement can quickly diminish if a medical issue with the baby arises. In some cases, these issues arise because a doctor makes a mistake or overlooks an issue. This is known as obstetric or gynecological negligence, or negligence affecting pregnancy or childbirth, depending on when the issue occurred.
There are a number of examples of instances or times during a pregnancy during which negligence could occur, including:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- Gestational diabetes
- Placental abnormalities, including placenta previa or placental abruption
- Negligence in administering anesthesia during labor or a Caesarian section
- Excessively long labor that causes injury to the mother and the baby
- Surgical negligence during a caesarean section
- Hemorrhage of the mother during pregnancy or labor
- Shoulder dystocia or another nerve injury of the baby during labor
- Premature birth
It’s common for pregnancy or labor to not go as planned, but that does not automatically mean it was due to something done by a woman’s doctor or medical staff. Medical malpractice, like all personal injury cases, are determined by negligence, so it must be proven that a woman’s doctor acted unreasonably or did not provide the care a qualified doctor would be expected to provide under her particular circumstances.
Mistakes in Prescribing or Administering Prescription Drugs
Use of prescription medications is common in the medical industry, but unfortunately, there are many instances in which patients are given the wrong drug or dosage of a drug. This is not only a concern for doctors, but also for medical staff and pharmacists. These people are expected to pay close attention to detail and be aware of all circumstances involving a patient when providing prescriptions for medications and the medications themselves.
Surgical errors are one of the most common reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits because the effects of a surgical error are so frequently devastating. Even the most basic surgical procedures put patients at risk, and surgeons and medical staff are expected to do everything within reason to ensure a patient’s safety during a procedure.
Surgical errors can include a variety of problems, including:
- Operating on the wrong part of the body
- Damaging a nerve
- Leaving a foreign object in a patient
- Failing to control bleeding
- Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong patient
- Misadministration of anesthesia during a surgical procedure
- Failure to properly move a patient during a surgical procedure
As a patient, you are entitled to reasonable medical care from any medical professional treating you. If someone neglects to provide what is considered reasonable medical care, either intentionally or unintentionally, you might have a right to take legal action. Our goal is to ensure patients understand the risks they face when seeking medical treatment and to make sure they understand they can receive compensation should medical negligence cause them harm.