We trust those who give us medical care to do their best to heal us. However, sometimes those we entrust to give us medical care make careless mistakes that lead to debilitating injuries and even death. In order for us to have any trust in the system, medical professionals are required to give you a reasonable standard of care. When someone suffers damage from a medical practitioner’s negligence, it is called medical malpractice.
Obviously, we commend doctors for the good work they do, but people die in this country every day from preventable mistakes. Studies have estimated that over 250,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the U.S. alone! It is one of the most common causes of death in the country. Here are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Usually one of the first steps of medical treatment is finding a diagnosis. Doctors do make mistakes and can misdiagnose a problem, but that does not necessarily mean it is malpractice. There has to be harm done to the patient because of the misdiagnosis.
Additionally, there has to be a failure to live up to a basic standard of care. In other words, the doctor would have to handle the patient less competently than other doctors would have. This would include failure to run the correct tests, for example.
#2: Surgical Error or Unnecessary Surgery
Surgeries require precision and accuracy to be successful. Unfortunately, surgeons or their assistants make errors that injure patients. For instance, a medical tool is left inside the patient’s body, or the wrong kidney is taken out.
Sometimes, the mishandling of medical records can even cause surgery to be done on the completely wrong person. In cases like this, it is obvious to see how the surgical team’s negligence caused harm to the patient.
#3: Anesthesia Error
Anesthesia error goes along with surgery. Anesthesia, for those who aren’t familiar, are the drugs that stop a patient from feeling anything during their surgery. With these powerful drugs, the patient’s response to the anesthesia has to be monitored very closely. There have been cases where patients have died from an overdose of anesthesia. Some patients have not been given enough and woken up during surgery. It is the anesthesiologist’s job to ensure that these things do not happen. If they fail to do so, it may be medical malpractice.
#4: Birth Injury
Childbirth can lead to a number of complications. Both the mother and the child can suffer lifelong consequences and even death if things go wrong. If harm is caused to either patient by the incompetence of a doctor, then it may be medical malpractice. Examples include failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake or the mother’s blood loss.
#5: Environmental Error
Environmental errors are a rare form of medical malpractice, but they do happen. They occur when harm is caused by the environment of the hospital or medical facility. This could include things like unsanitary conditions causing an infection.
#6: Medical Product Liability
Doctors rely on medical devices and tools to help them administer treatments. If one of these products fails and causes damage to a patient, this is a type of medical malpractice. An example of this would be a vein stint that breaks off and causes damage to a patient’s heart. If the manufacturer had known or should have known about this defect, then they acted negligently and are liable to pay damages to victims.
#7: Failure to Treat
Hospitals can be crowded. Patients in emergency rooms have to wait hours for treatment at times. Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor is not properly staffed and patients are not able to be treated because of it. Other examples include releasing a patient before they should be released, not offering needed follow-up care, or refer the patient to the right specialist.
These are just a few of the most common types of medical errors, but they all follow the same basic requirements. If a medical practitioner fails to follow the basic standards of care and causes damage or harm to a patient, it is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you believe you have experienced any of these medical errors, you should reach out to our personal injury lawyers to see if you have a case.
Concerned that a medical error has affected you? Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 or fill out an online contact form for a free consultation regarding your case.