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What are the most common types of medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Personal Injury

Medical malpractice is a serious concern in the United States. There are many laws regulating the medical industry to limit mistakes that could harm patients. Medical professionals need extensive education and state licensing. They must follow laws restricting the administration of dangerous drugs and best practices established within the medical profession for the care of patients.

Unfortunately, not all medical professionals consistently meet current standards and best practices. Medical malpractice occurs when a physician causes harm to a patient through negligence, misconduct or unprofessional care. Medical malpractice has become a leading cause of premature death in the United States. The following are some of the most common forms of medical malpractice that people could experience when receiving professional care.

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose

Multiple different maladies could potentially cause the same types of symptoms. Therefore, doctors typically need to follow certain procedures to properly diagnose their patients. They may order testing that would give them an affirmative diagnosis or rule out certain causes of symptoms.

When a doctor reaches the wrong diagnostic conclusion, professionals refer to that as misdiagnosis. When they cannot diagnose a patient at all, that is a failure to diagnose someone. Both scenarios can lead to a patient not receiving proper care. Misdiagnosis might also compound someone’s underlying medical challenges by forcing them to endure treatment they do not require for a condition they do not have.

Medication errors

Medication errors can occur in many different settings. Doctors might fail to review someone’s chart and could recommend a drug that has a known interaction with another prescription they currently take. A pharmacist might dispense the wrong drugs, or a nurse might make a mistake when inputting dosage information into an intravenous (IV) drug delivery system. Medication errors can lead to the failure of treatment, a drug overdose or numerous other medical issues for the patient.

Surgical errors

Severe surgical errors are relatively rare. Still, with millions of surgeries performed in the United States every year, there are hundreds of preventable mistakes that occur in operating rooms every month. Performing an operation on the wrong part of someone’s body, items left behind inside of a patient and even anesthesia mistakes can have dire consequences for the patient.

Provided that there is documentation of an error and proof that it caused losses, it may be possible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against an individual medical professional or a facility. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can financially compensate those harmed by the incompetence or unprofessional conduct of a doctor or other medical care provider.