Doctors in Arizona and throughout the country are expected to give patients the highest level of care possible. When they deviate from industry standards, they may commit medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases largely are due to negligence and/or errors. Medical errors can have devastating effects on patients and even be fatal. Patients may experience several forms of medical malpractice.
Here are a few of the common ones:
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Delayed or missed diagnosis account for a majority of malpractice claims. A misdiagnosis means the doctor made a diagnosis but an incorrect one. A delayed diagnosis involves not diagnosing the condition in time for effective treatment.
An incorrect or delayed diagnosis causes the patient to get unneeded treatment for a condition they don’t have. Certain conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, are prone to misdiagnosis because they have similar symptoms to other conditions.
A delayed diagnosis can mean the patient goes for months or even years with no treatment or medication for a condition they do have. This can also lead to delays in referrals to specialists to treat the problem.
Surgery and anesthesia
Many things may go wrong in an operating room, especially in an emergency when the staff doesn’t know a patient’s history. Some common surgical errors include operating on the wrong patient or body part, neglecting to give pre-op or post-op instructions and leaving instruments inside a patient.
If a patient is allergic to a certain anesthesia, even a small amount could cause issues. Other anesthesia errors include incorrect intubation, failing to monitor vital signs and administering too much anesthesia.
Medication errors may occur anywhere along the chain of diagnosing to distribution in several ways. Common medication errors occur when a patient gets the wrong dosage or the incorrect medicine for a misdiagnosed condition.
Illegible handwriting may cause a pharmacy or nurse to give the patient the wrong prescription or wrong dosage. Sometimes, the doctor may prescribe the correct medicine and write legibly, but the nurse or pharmacist gets distracted. In addition, miscommunication can cause errors, and some drug names sound alike or have similar medical abbreviations.
Medical malpractice is often preventable, and injured patients can sue the responsible parties. Not every medical error is malpractice, but an experienced attorney can help you determine if what happened to you or your loved one will meet the legal standard.