Every year, thousands of individuals in the United States suffer due to medical errors, resulting in pain, suffering, and sometimes even death. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, up to 440,000 deaths occur every year due to medical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. That’s approximately 1,200 fatalities every single day.
Medical malpractice is a growing concern, with numerous cases occurring each year. This article delves into the most common medical errors that lead to malpractice cases and provides essential information on what to do if you suspect you’ve been a victim.
Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Do you suspect that a medical error has adversely affected your health or the health of a loved one? If so, you might be a victim of medical malpractice. Recognizing these errors is crucial in understanding your rights and options. Seek legal counsel to help determine whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Elements Necessary for a Medical Malpractice Claim
To establish a medical malpractice claim, certain elements are essential:
- Doctor-Patient Relationship: You must have a doctor-patient relationship, indicating the doctor owed you a duty of care.
- Negligence: You must prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence deviated from the standard of care.
- Causation: You must establish a direct link between the healthcare provider’s negligence and the harm you suffered.
- Damages: You must show that you suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm.
Common Medical Errors
The majority of medical professionals and facilities offer a high standard of care and service. Unfortunately, medical errors can still happen. Here are some of the most common:
- Diagnostic Errors: These include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose. Errors in diagnosis can lead to incorrect treatments or the lack of necessary treatments. This causes patients to suffer for longer periods, and may even allow their illness to progress to the point of being untreatable.
- Medication Errors: Mistakes in medication prescriptions, dosages, or administration can result in serious harm. This can happen not only in hospitals but in pharmacies as well. Physicians and pharmacists might neglect to review a patient’s medical records or prescription history, potentially overlooking allergies or drug interactions that could lead to adverse reactions.
- Surgical Errors: A surgeon could perform a procedure on the wrong body part or conduct the incorrect type of surgery. Additionally, medical practitioners may inadvertently leave surgical instruments inside a patient and neglect proper post-operative monitoring. These surgical blunders can lead to severe complications, including infections, organ damage, and even death.
- Anesthesia Errors: Administering too much or too little anesthesia, or using the wrong type, can lead to complications during surgery. They can even lead to permanent disability and death.
- Infections and Secondary Complications: Infections acquired in healthcare settings and subsequent complications are alarmingly common. Infections that patients acquire in hospitals can lead to severe conditions like sepsis. These infections happen when the hospital and its staff do not thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and areas. They can also occur when healthcare providers fail to follow proper hygiene practices such as handwashing, glove use, and wearing face masks, even when they’re unwell themselves.
- Bad Medical Devices: Malfunctioning or defective medical devices can cause significant harm to patients. In these cases, the doctor or caregiver may not be the only ones liable for resulting patient injuries. The hospital and manufacturer of the defective device may also bear the responsibility.
- Lab Test Errors: Mistakes in lab tests can result in incorrect diagnoses and treatments. The correct test may not be requested, the test might be conducted incorrectly, or there could be errors in how the results are interpreted. All these can result in preventable injuries or even death of a patient.
- Patient-Related Issues: These include improper patient identification, insufficient patient assessment, failure to obtain patient consent, lack of post-procedure care, and inadequate patient education.
- Premature Discharge: A physician may make a mistake in assessing the patient’s condition when they’re discharged. The at-risk patients might be discharged too soon, often because the hospital is busy or is attempting to enhance its financial gains. Discharging a patient before they are medically stable can lead to complications and readmissions.
Common Causes of Medical Errors in Hospitals
Understanding the root causes of medical errors is crucial in preventing future occurrences.
- Miscommunication: Poor communication among healthcare professionals can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.
- Lack of Training or Experience: Insufficient training or inexperience can result in errors during diagnosis, treatment, and surgery.
- Inadequate Staffing: Overworked and understaffed healthcare facilities can lead to rushed care and errors.
- Inadequate Policies: Lack of standardized procedures can lead to confusion and mistakes.
Have a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Fight for You!
Medical malpractice cases stem from a range of common errors that can have catastrophic consequences for patients. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, consult a legal expert who can assess your situation and guide you on the best course of action. Get in touch with Joudeh & Kuller today. Your health and well-being are of utmost importance, and you deserve justice if you’ve suffered due to medical errors.