In the medical field, mistakes often result in the patients suffering a permanent injury or illness. When such misfortune strikes, the victims may feel helpless with no recourse to pursue or fear recrimination for coming forward.
However, there are laws in place to help protect patients, provide restitution for those who have been wronged, and take the necessary steps to prevent further healthcare errors.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are a lot more common than many people would expect. The number of medical malpractice cases has been steadily rising over the past few years. These unfortunate incidents reveal that many doctors neglect proper medical protocols in treating patients.
Patients have to be extra vigilant when visiting the doctors’ clinics or any medical facility that offers health care, as medical malpractices can occur in almost any healthcare setting.
Some malpractices are severe, and the victims may go on to sue the medical facility for causing them harm.
Here is a look at some common medical malpractices that can lead to lawsuits:
The birth of a child is a joyous occasion for many families. However, childbirth injuries are quite common and occur primarily during the birthing process. Childbirth injuries include broken bones, nerve damage, brain damage, and other serious injuries that may require a lifetime of care.
Recent studies show that between 2-10% of all babies born in the United States suffer from some type of injury that occurred during delivery.
If your child has undergone a childbirth injury due to medical malpractice, and you are unsure about the legal course of action to follow, here is the lawsuit process that will clue you in.
The most common types of medical errors that lead to childbirth injuries include:
- Failure to diagnose a condition that would have been treatable and prevented complications during labor and delivery;
- Failure to properly monitor fetal heart rate (FHR) during labor, or immediately after delivery;
- Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress;
- Failure to recognize signs of uterine rupture;
- Failure to follow established protocols for administering medication or performing procedures on the mother or her baby.
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis shows negligence on the part of the doctor. Sometimes, doctors miss the signs and symptoms of an illness or disease. They fail to administer necessary tests or perform other diagnostic procedures as soon as they should have.
In some cases, misdiagnosis may lead to the dispensing of unnecessary procedures and invasive surgeries that may cause immense pain and misery to the patient and their loved ones.
Doctors are supposed to perform thorough exams and tests when they suspect cancer or any other serious condition. So, if they fail to do so — especially when the symptoms are dormant — then you have credible grounds to sue them. The law protects victims of delayed diagnoses by allowing them to get compensations for their troubles suffered at the hands of inept or negligent medical staff.
Doctors must ensure due diligence when administering care to patients with an injury or disease. As mentioned, a misdiagnosis may cause the doctor to go for invasive tests, procedures, and surgeries that may not be needed at all in the first place.
If your treatment caused you injury or the condition to worsen, then you may have grounds for claim against the doctor.
For example, if you suffered an allergic reaction to a prescribed antibiotic, that could or did lead to internal organ damage, then you can pursue a claim against the doctor for prescribing harmful medicine.
Other examples of wrong treatments include:
- Ignoring to consider a patient’s medical history when prescribing medicine or a treatment option;
- Failing to give instructions for follow-up care;
- Releasing a patient too soon from the hospital;
- Failing to order the right medical tests.
Errors in prescription
Prescribing the wrong medication or wrong dosage quantities is a common medical malpractice claim. A wrong prescription could lead to irrevocable harm to the patient’s health, or even cause death.
The doctor may be called out in the claim for being negligent when prescribing a certain drug with harmful or severe side effects. The claim can also accuse the doctor of not making the drug’s side effects known to the patient.
Other mistakes that warrant a lawsuit include:
- Prescribing a drug that has the potential to harm the patients’ health when used in combination with other drugs already used by them;
- Failure to instruct the patient on proper dosages;
- Failing to monitor the patient’s health closely enough during treatment to ensure the prescription of safe medication;
- Ignoring the patient’s history and any allergies when prescribing medication.
Surgical or procedural errors reveal a doctor’s negligence, inability, or even misjudgment when performing surgery.
The malpractices that lead to lawsuits in this case include:
- Performing the wrong procedure on a patient– A doctor may operate on the wrong area of your body, or he may perform a surgery that is not needed at all.
- Damaging nerves during surgery – Nerves are delicate structures that run throughout your body and control specific functions, such as movement, sensation, and feeling in different parts of your body. Any damage to these nerves can cause permanent disability or even death in some cases (e.g., spinal cord injuries).
- Infection after surgery– a doctor may have operated with unsterilized equipment or not ensured proper scrubbing before surgery which may have caused the infection in the patient.
- Anesthesia mistakes – administering too much or too little anesthesia for the surgery.
- Leaving instruments or other foreign objects in the body’s cavity.
- Inadequate care – The provision of poor patient care at hospitals, medical facilities, such as clinics, or nursing homes warrant a lawsuit claim. The errors most-commonly associated here are failing to adhere by medicine timings, administering wrong dosages, failure to monitor the patients’ vital signs, inadequate nutrition and hydration, and keeping inaccurate records of the patient’s prescriptions and other vitals.
Although it may seem complicated, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is something that can help the victims of medical negligence get justice. These lawsuits ensure that the victims are properly compensated for their troubles that they have had to suffer because of negligent care providers. One should pursue such claims, so that others don’t meet the same fate in seeking care.