Medical malpractice is something that occurs when a physician or other healthcare provider, hospital or another type of medical facility, through omission or negligent act, injures a patient. I may be the resort of a treatment error, errors in health management, aftercare, or diagnosis.
For a claim to legally be considered medical malpractice, and generally for a medical malpractice lawyer to take on the case, the incident must have violated the usual standard of care which is the recognized, accepted treatment according to prudent healthcare professionals in similar or the same circumstances. The injury must have been caused by the healthcare professional’s negligence for a medical malpractice claim to be considered valid. The victim must also be able to prove that the injury sustained wouldn’t have occurred without that negligence. As these lawsuits are very expensive to mitigate, for a case to move forward, significant damages must have resulted from the injury as well. If damages were minimal, it might cost more to pursue the case than what the potential recovery is likely to be.
No matter what type of medical malpractice all of those factors must be involved for the case to proceed. While these cases are fairly rare, when they do occur the consequences can be devastating in many ways.
Incorrect or Delayed Medical Diagnosis
The most common type of medical malpractice involves a delayed or wrong diagnosis. It must be something the doctor failed to notice that another prudent doctor working under similar circumstances would have taken into account. One study published in BMJ Quality & Safety found that approximately 12 million adult patients seeking outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed every year, and in about half of those cases, the misdiagnosis had the potential to result in serious harm.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an estimated 1.3 million are injured each year in the U.S. as a result of medication errors. Sometimes a patient is given the wrong prescription and in others they’re simply given the wrong medication. Dosage mistakes are also common. For example, a nurse might give a patient too much or not enough of a particular drug. Another mistake that can occur is when a drug is given through a pump and it malfunctions or was used when it wasn’t working properly to begin with.
The Labor and Delivery department at a hospital is where another one of the common medical malpractice cases occur, as there are many different types of injuries that can happen during the birthing process to the infant, or to the fetus during pregnancy. Damaged nerves, broken bones, and cerebral palsy due to the result of damage to the brain during the birth are some of the more frequently occurring birth injuries. In some cases, an injury may be the result of failing to diagnose a condition the mother had during pregnancy like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Improper use of forceps or failing to perform a cesarean section are among some of the other causes.