ERNST & YOUNG
Unbelievably, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in America. This is according to a recent survey by the John Hopkins School of Medicine. More surprisingly, these deaths are almost entirely preventable since they primarily result from institutional or human error. Here is our list of shocking medical mistakes that doctors and hospitals commit, and how to pursue compensation if you or a loved one falls victim.
1. Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose a Medical Condition as Medical Mistakes
A recent report by CBS News indicates that nearly 12 million Americans on outpatient care get misdiagnosed every year. Failure to diagnose an ailment and misdiagnosis are among the most common and shocking medical mistakes. Often, this results from the similarities between the symptoms of different illnesses or the failure to diagnose some symptoms accurately.
Accurate diagnosis is critical to patient care because it allows physicians to create effective treatment plans. On the flip side, if a patient receives a wrong diagnosis, they won’t receive the necessary treatment. This can result in serious personal injury or even death.
2. Anesthesia Errors
A small and simple mistake when administering anesthesia can have severe consequences. Errors involving anesthesia administration can cause injury or death, and they include:
- Failure to evaluate patients’ medical records to identify possible complications during and after surgery
- Failure to inform patients about critical preoperative instructions, including not drinking or eating before the procedure
- Improper placement of the breathing tube
- Administering too much/too little anesthesia
- Not monitoring patients after administering anesthesia
- Using defective equipment
While an overdose of anesthesia can lead to several bad outcomes, administering too little anesthesia comes with the risk of a patient waking up at the wrong time. If that happens during the procedure, the patient may experience untold pain or worse. This can lead to an anesthesiologist malpractice claim.
3. Surgical Errors
Most medical mistakes occur during surgery. These mistakes often have devastating consequences to patients due to the delicate nature of most surgical procedures. Some of the ramifications of surgical errors include infections, medical complications, and even death.
Surgical error malpractice claims can result from improper administration of anesthesia, poor planning before the procedure, equipment failure, miscommunication among the surgical team, operating on the wrong part or patient, and leaving foreign objects inside a patient.
Poor post-surgical care that leads to infections, administration of improper medications or dosages, and the failure to provide a patient with correct instructions for postoperative recovery are also grounds for surgical error malpractice claims.
4. Childbirth Errors and Injuries as Medical Mistakes
An obstetrician or physician’s negligence during or before childbirth is another common medical mistake. More medical malpractice suits get filed against OBGYN’s than other medical professionals. The primary reason for this is the comparably long time prenatal care takes and the dangers of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.
A lot can go wrong during a pregnancy. For instance, a doctor may fail to diagnose pregnancy-related ailments such as anemia, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, Rh incompatibility, and hypoglycemia. There could also be a misdiagnosis of birth defects, an ectopic pregnancy, or diseases contagious to the fetus.
During birth, failure to anticipate and mitigate complications resulting from the baby’s position and size, failure to spot that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, failure to identify signs of fetal distress, or not knowing when to undertake a c-section, are some of the ways doctors open themselves up for malpractice suits. A wrong move can leave the mother or/and her baby injured or worse.
5. Medication Errors
Another area where doctors make medical mistakes during the administration of the prescribed medication or treatment. If a doctor or nurse fails to inform a patient of the side effects of a specific medication or fails to ensure that the medication won’t interact negatively with other medications, malpractice will have occurred.
Furthermore, medical malpractice may also occur if the dosage administered to a patient is wrong or the prescription itself is incorrect. A malpractice claim can be lodged, whether the error resulted from carelessness, miscommunication, or incompetence. Remember that a simple medication error can be harmful or even fatal to a patient. Also, a pharmaceutical company can be held liable if its product is mislabelled or the side effects are omitted.
6. Unnecessary Tests and Treatments
Every year, Americans spend more than $700 billion on treatments and tests they don’t need. When you find yourself undergoing an unnecessary treatment or test, your bank account isn’t the only thing on the line. X-rays expose you to dangerous radiation, MRIs and CT scans link to kidney failure, and even drawing blood comes with a risk of infection.
It’s good practice to ask your doctor whether the tests or treatments you undergo are necessary and whether there are other options. If the treatments/tests were unnecessary or had options and led to severe consequences, they qualify as medical malpractice. Therefore, you can file a malpractice claim against the hospital or doctor who administered them.
Getting the Help You Deserve After Medical Mistakes
Most medical practitioners have the right skills and competence. In the last 30 years, only 2% of physicians have accounted for 50% of medical malpractice payouts. Medical malpractice is a breach of these professionals’ duty to provide competent care. Thus, if you or a loved one falls victim to any form of medical malpractice, it’s best to contact a medical malpractice lawyer.
Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek, LLC is the go-to law firm for medical malpractice cases in Maryland. If you’re a victim of medical malpractice, we’ll help you to file a claim against the negligent healthcare providers and help you to recover damages for your emotional and physical injuries. Our attorneys gather evidence that connects your injuries to a medical facility while pursuing the compensation you deserve.
So, if you or a loved one gets injured due to a healthcare facility/provider’s negligence or death has occurred, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced medical malpractice attorneys. We look forward to helping you navigate through this difficult and trying time.
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Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
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