Each year, millions of individuals undergo inpatient and outpatient treatment in hospitals and medical facilities for a variety of reasons. The Center for Disease Control states that in 2012 alone, nearly 51.4 million medical procedures were completed on patients within the United States. When an injury or serious illness occurs that requires the attention of a medical professional, it is assumed that the trust we place in our physician or healthcare provider will not be taken for granted. In some instances, however, negligence can occur, resulting in medical malpractice. To fully understand how medical malpractice and healthcare provider negligence may affect you, we have compiled a list of the five most common medical malpractice errors.
Prenatal or Childbirth Errors
One of the most joyous times in life is bringing another human into the world. Unfortunately, errors in the healthcare field happen far too often, resulting in a wide range of injuries to both the mother and the unborn or newborn child. Prenatal medical malpractice errors may include failure by your physician or provider to diagnose conditions affecting the mother, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or anemia. Failing to identify birth defects, ectopic pregnancies, and other diseases that could potentially harm the fetus are common as well.
Errors in childbirth are also common, including failing to identify or respond to distress of the fetus during birth, not ordering a cesarean section when one is most appropriate, or not accommodating birth complications in a timely manner. Both the child and the mother can have long-lasting injuries due to these negligent actions before, during, and after birth.
All too often diagnoses are delayed or missed altogether, resulting in more severe illness, disease, or even death. A misdiagnosis is common when symptoms are not fully obvious either to the patient or the physician, and often comes with conditions such as stroke, heart attack, meningitis, appendicitis, and diabetes. Patients are only able to receive the correct treatment when the correct diagnosis is given in a timely fashion, and a delayed or incorrect diagnosis could result in medical disaster.
Excessive Testing or Unnecessary Treatment
Although less common than birth defects or misdiagnosis, excessive testing and treatment are a form of medical malpractice error. In some cases, patients did not need a procedure or surgery based on their diagnosis, leading to an undue risk taken on by undergoing surgery. Similarly, excessive testing of patients when a diagnosis is already known or when treatment has already been completed successfully can occur. Both of these scenarios lead to an unnecessary amount of medical bills for patients over the long run.
Prescription medication errors are also common in the medical field. Whether administered by a nurse, physician, or other healthcare provider, prescription drug errors most often involve an incorrect dosage. For some patients, however, incorrect medications are given due to labeling errors or provider negligence. Allergic reactions and unknown side effects are also considered errors in some cases, each of which can lead to harmful results for the patient.
Failure to Prevent Infection
Medical facilities are assumed to meet a high standard of cleanliness, as are the instruments used to administer medication and perform procedures. However, nearly 1.7 million individuals are diagnosed with a hospital-related infection each year, according to the Center for Disease Control. Because patients in a hospital setting often already have an illness or disease that leaves their immune system less capable of fighting infection, hospitals have a responsibility to maintain a higher standard of sanitation.
Carey, Danis & Lowe | Medical Malpractice Lawyers Who Care
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we understand how traumatic medical malpractice can be for you and your family. Our firm represents numerous victims of medical malpractice, and we work hard to get the patient and the family the compensation they deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you are concerned that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. To learn more about your rights as a victim of medical malpractice, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe today.