When we seek care from medical professionals, we trust that they will treat us and our loved ones like family. Even if the surgery or medical procedure is serious, we expect the operating doctor to perform the procedure ethically and adequately — not to take shortcuts or deviate from best practices. However, this is not always the case.
When a medical professional provides substandard treatment or avoids taking ethical action, the possibility of patient harm rises significantly. If the patient is harmed, they have a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit citing negligence that led to a medical error causing harm or injury.
Medical negligence can occur in several ways. What are the most common causes?
Between 2013 and 2017, harmed patients cited diagnostic errors in 33% of malpractice lawsuits. These improper diagnoses can lead to missed or unnecessary treatment leading to patient harm, injury, or death. Diagnostic errors most commonly affect patients dealing with tumors, heart disease, infections, and blood clots.
2. Childbirth errors
While some birth injuries occur naturally, others are due to negligent behavior by Ob/GYN’s or their staff. Medical malpractice can occur during childbirth if the operating physician improperly uses their forceps or a vacuum extractor, fails to perform a C-section, or puts the mother at harm by incorrectly identifying the fetus’s size.
However, negligence doesn’t always happen during the act of childbirth. Rather, the negligence can be traced back to previous stages in the pregnancy when the physician failed to identify a medical issue the mother was experiencing. Examples include:
- Gestational diabetes
3. Anesthesia or surgical errors
Negligent acts surrounding anesthesia administration can be very dangerous. Anesthesia malpractice claims could include:
- Failing to obtain a full history of the patient’s prior experiences with anesthesia, which could cause complications
- Miscommunicating the proper pre-operating procedures
- Improperly reading or neglecting vital signs
- Administering too much anesthesia
- Using faulty equipment
- Incorrectly placing a tracheal tube
Surgical errors can include:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Harming an organ adjacent to the surgical space
- Leaving medical tools inside the body
Other negligent actions could include failing to provide a patient with proper information to make an informed decision (informed consent), prescribing the wrong or improper medication dosage, or personally administering the wrong medication, causing harm, injury or death.
If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of medical negligence, an attorney can help you take action to obtain compensation for any wrongdoing.