Medical experts in any field are expected to only provide the absolute best care while performing their job duties. Otherwise, a patient’s wellbeing can be lost and they may suffer serious injury or death. However, despite the constant reminder from internal and external sources to always adhere to the utmost standards of medical care and procedures, medical malpractice remains prevalent across the country.
What Are the Common Medical Malpractice Types?
- Delayed diagnosis: Patients need correct diagnoses and with as little delay as possible in order to best fight off health conditions and recover from injuries. Being diagnosed for the wrong disorder jeopardizes the patient’s overall health. It may even lead to unnecessary medical procedures that can cause an arrangement of different, new problems on their own.
- Failure to diagnose: In addition to a delayed diagnosis, patients who have been misdiagnosed or have not been diagnosed at all can lead to serious harm, including loss of mobility, chronic pain, worsening illness, or even death.
- Emergency department lapses: A hectic emergency department at a hospital is stressful and must be carefully organized by management staff. Doctors, nurses, and surgeons have to know who is on-hand and who will be assigned to each patient as they arrive. Miscommunications can cause lapses in treatment that end up costing lives, becoming classified as emergency room malpractice.
- Medication errors: Prescription medications can work wonders for patients, but only when prescribed correctly. The wrong dosage of the right drug can be just as dangerous as the wrong drug altogether. Patients with incorrect prescriptions may not realize they are being harmed by their own medicine until years later, possibly following a subsequent re-diagnosis.
- Surgical errors: The mistakes of a surgical team are often the most egregious out of any type of medical malpractice. There are cases of the wrong body part being operated on, anesthesia being administered in dangerous levels, and even surgical instruments like gauze or needles being left inside a patient after the surgery is completed.
- Incorrect treatment: Physicians providing the wrong treatment for a critical illness or injury could leave the patient with serious or even deadly consequences.
- Birth injuries: Doctors or technicians making an error during pregnancy, labor, or delivery can result in an injury or death to the baby. The most common injury is cerebral palsy, which is a result of of the newborn being deprived of oxygen during the birthing process. Other issues that could qualify as malpractice include improper fetal monitoring, fetal lacerations, or delayed C-section, when necessary.
- Bedsores: Patients left in one position for too long can develop bedsores or pressure ulcers. These are a sign of neglect or inadequate care, most commonly seen in long-term patients of hospitals or nursing home residents. If these occur and are left untreated, bedsores can become infected and quickly lead to more serious health problems.
- Anesthesia mistakes: During surgery or when offering pain management, anesthesiologists are tasked with creating the right balance of medications to accomplish the goal without causing damage. However, a mistake made by the nurse anesthetist or the anesthesiologist can cause permanent injury, brain damage, or death. These mistakes most commonly occur as a result of failing to review the patient’s medical history or providing inadequate monitoring of vital signs during procedures.
- Dental mistakes: Doctors and physicians in hospitals aren’t the only ones who are subject to damaging mistakes. Dentists and oral surgeons can cause serious harm due to misdiagnosis of conditions or diseases such as oral cancer or make a mistake when administering anesthesia or medication.
What Causes Medical Malpractice Events?
While it is true that everyone makes mistakes at work, we can all agree that medical professionals and practitioners must be held to a higher standard than people in other occupations. After all, a single mistake could be the direct and only cause of someone suffering a serious injury or losing their life. With this said, the causes of medical malpractice are often in alignment with the causes of any other sort of occupational error.
Medical malpractice is commonly caused by:
- Inexperience with a certain medical procedure
- Exhaustion from long hours or shifts
- Mixed up patient files
- General negligence
How Does Lack of Informed Consent Contribute to Medical Malpractice?
Informed consent is a fundamental, ethical principle that provides patients with the right to be fully informed regarding potential risks, benefits, and available alternatives for medical procedures or treatments prior to making a decision. It serves to provide a vital safeguard that promotes patient autonomy and ensures medical professionals uphold their duty to provide all information and involve patients in their own healthcare decisions.
When there is a failure to disclose this essential information, or when patients are not given the opportunity to ask questions or fully understand their options, it can result in uninformed decision-making. Lacking complete information, knowledge, or understanding can have patients undergoing procedures or treatments without full comprehension of the potential risks. In these events, if harm or injury does occur, patients can argue that a different decision could have been made had they been properly informed in the first place, leading to a valid medical malpractice claim.
Get the Compensation You Deserve After Medical Malpractice
It is important to remember that there is no excuse for medical malpractice, only causes. If you or a loved one have been harmed through the mistakes of a doctor or physician, then you should consider how you can gain fair compensation for resulting damages, including medical costs, lost wages and undue pain and suffering. You can begin exploring your legal options by calling (314) 241-2929 and talking to The Simon Law Firm and our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers. Since 2000, we have been able to collect more than $1 billion in recoveries for our clients through successful case results, including those related to medical malpractice claims.
Find out more by contacting us and requesting your own free initial consultation.