State and federal legislation requires health care professionals to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. This duty of care is defined by the care standards that other healthcare practitioners of the same qualifications would adhere to. If a medical professional deviates from these care standards and causes a patient injury, this is called medical malpractice.
You might not realize just how common medical malpractice really is. According to a study published in the medical journal Health Affairs, medical errors and other problems occur in as many as 33% of all hospital admissions.
A large number of medical malpractice claims litigated by a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer trusts, include these five types of errors:
- Childbirth and Prenatal Care Injuries
The list of injuries that can occur as a result of physician negligence during childbirth is very long. It includes failure to anticipate complications, failure to respond to signs of fetal distress, failure to anticipate the need for a caesarian section, and failure to diagnose an underlying maternal health complication — among many other problems.
- Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
By the time the patient receives the correct diagnosis after an incorrect or delayed diagnosis, it might be too late for any medical treatments to prevent further harm. Many competent physicians domake diagnostic errors — this is common, and it’s not necessarily considered negligence. The factor that is key to the determination of medical malpractice is whether or not a physician in a particular case used the same diagnostic standards as other skilled physicians in his or her specialty.
- Mistakes During Surgery
There’s always some element of risk in any surgical procedure. Patients acknowledge these risks by signing a document giving informed consent to a surgical procedure. Surgical malpractice involves preventable errors that go well beyond these known risks. This might include surgical instruments that were inadequately sterilized or surgeons who were compromised by fatigue. In some cases, surgeons may even operate on the wrong surgical site or on the wrong patient.
- Errors in Anesthesiology
Anesthesia errors might also occur during an inpatient or outpatient procedure.. An anesthesiologist might accidentally administer a medication to which a patient is allergic, or fail to monitor a patient’s vital signs adequately. Even a seemingly trivial deviation from standard anesthesiology protocols can result in serious damage.
- Prescription Errors
Medication errors could occur in a variety of different ways. A physician may prescribe an incorrect medication or the correct medication in an incorrect dose; a nurse may administer an incorrect medication dose; or automated equipment designed for administering medication may malfunction.
If you some you love has been the victim of any one of these errors, you might be able to make a strong medical malpractice claim. Contact a local medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation today — it might just make all the difference.