When a medical professional fails to provide appropriate care to patients, the results are often devastating. When their actions result in death or injury, it is considered medical malpractice. Fortunately, most healthcare professionals deliver quality care and make accidents an exception rather than the rule. Despite the best intentions, though, mistakes sometimes happen. Even worse, medical professionals occasionally act negligently, leading to serious consequences for the patient.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as the result of medical malpractice, you have certain legal rights and may be entitled to receive financial compensation. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of doctor error. It often occurs with complex conditions like heart attack, pulmonary embolism, cancer, infections, tumor or heart disease because patients do not always present with textbook symptoms. In these situations, the consequences of a misdiagnosis can be deadly.
A lot can go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth. When something goes wrong as the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence or mistake, it is classified as medical malpractice. If a mother or child is injured during pregnancy or delivery, you may have a valid obstetric/gynecological negligence case.
Examples of negligence during pregnancy include failure to diagnose a medical condition such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia in the mother, failure to detect birth defects and failure to detect ectopic pregnancies. During childbirth, failure to anticipate birth complications, failure to respond to fetal distress and improperly using tools like a vacuum extractor or forceps may be considered negligence.
Prescription medications can be lifesavers, but if they are incorrectly prescribed, the consequences can be deadly. Medication errors can occur if a doctor makes a mistake when writing a prescription, administers a drug incorrectly or fails to notice a harmful drug interaction. The most common error is improper dosage, but in hospital settings, it is fairly common for a patient to be given someone else’s medication by mistake. Sometimes pharmacists are responsible for medication errors, too.
Even the smallest mistake by an anesthesiologist can result in brain damage, permanent injury or death. This type of mistake is fortunately uncommon, but it still sometimes happens. Giving too much anesthesia, failing to check the patient’s medical history to determine possible complications and failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs are some of the most common types of anesthesia errors. Using defective equipment or improperly inserting a breathing tube may also constitute medical malpractice.
Anesthesiologists are also responsible for informing patients of important preoperative and postoperative procedures. Patients may need to abstain from eating for a certain period of time before surgery or take other precautions before or after the procedure. It is negligent if the anesthesiologist fails to inform the patient of these things and injury occurs.
While most surgeries are completed without any major complications, surgeons can and sometimes do make mistakes. Failing to properly control bleeding, damaging a nerve and leaving foreign objects inside the body are the most common mistakes. There have even been cases where a surgeon operated on the wrong body part or performed a procedure on the wrong patient.
Even if the surgery goes well, errors may still occur if a patient does not receive appropriate postoperative care. Nurses sometimes make mistakes when administering medication following a procedure or fail to abide by the correct processes for preventing infection. Even simply failing to provide the patient with sufficient instructions for taking care of themselves after leaving the hospital could be deemed negligent.
Searching for Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, illness or death as the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex, though, so it is important to work with an attorney with extensive experience in the field. Medical malpractice lawyers are familiar with the complexities of these cases, and they know how to find qualified medical experts to help you win your case. Insurers also tend to have greater respect for medical malpractice lawyers than for attorneys who do not specialize in these cases, meaning they are more likely to pay top dollar at settlement time.
Medical malpractice is rare, but when it happens, the results are often devastating. If you believe you or a loved one has fallen victim to the negligence of a medical professional, don’t face the legal process on your own. Contact the experienced and compassionate attorneys at the Kopelman Sitton Law Group to schedule a consultation.