The Top 8 Common Examples of Medical Malpractice You Should Know About
Medical malpractice remains a widespread problem despite advances in both medicine and healthcare technology. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to recognize when it occurs and how best to protect yourself. Here are eight examples of medical malpractice and the warning signs that go with them to help you better understand what it is and how to protect yourself.
Negligence During Treatment
Negligence during treatment is a widespread form of medical malpractice. Patients entrust doctors with their care during sickness or injury, so it’s imperative for doctors to make sure their treatment doesn’t do more harm than good and doesn’t exacerbate the underlying problem. When giving medical care, every patient has different needs that must be taken into account. If this isn’t done right, the patient may have a bad reaction.
For instance, if the wrong medication is prescribed, its dose is incorrect, or drug-drug interactions aren’t assessed accurately by a physician, then the patient’s condition could deteriorate or even lead to medical emergencies such as an overdose, a heart attack, a stroke, or death. Also, some treatments, like surgery, may need techniques that aren’t standard, but these should always be based on research that has been shown to work and is backed by doctors from different fields.
Failure to Monitor Patient Safety and Well-Being
When a patient is under the care of a medical professional, there is an expectation that their safety and well-being will be closely monitored. This requires medical staff to give personal attention and care during each step of treatment for maximum protection of the individual. When someone has been sedated, or ventilation equipment is needed, it can be especially scary to miss such important signs.
If doctors and nurses don’t keep a close eye on a patient’s condition, it could lead to serious injury or death. In one sad case, a woman who had plastic surgery was hurt for life because her nurse didn’t check her oxygen levels and heart rate after the surgery. She fell into a coma due to hypoxia, resulting in irreversible brain damage. When this doctor finally took action when they noticed any changes in oxygen levels or vital signs after their procedure, he was found guilty of negligence.
Cases like this show how important it is for healthcare workers to keep an eye on their patient’s safety and well-being at all times during treatment. Doctors, nurses, and other providers must pay close attention to any potential warning signs so that they can act promptly if any arise. By doing this, healthcare workers make sure that their patients are safe and constantly watched while they are being treated.
Lack of Quality Care and Attention
Medical malpractice often stems from a lack of quality care and attention. When healthcare providers fail to give patients their full attention or provide inadequate treatment, even minimal neglect can cause life-altering harm, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Healthcare professionals must guarantee all patients receive quality treatment and appropriate care. Failing to do so can lead to serious physical injuries and mental suffering for the patient. Unfortunately, many people get bad care because doctors make mistakes, like not noticing symptoms or not making the right diagnosis.
On the other hand, many medical malpractice lawsuits are just people trying to take advantage of the medical system without a good reason. Unfortunately, these types of lawsuits put unnecessary stress on medical providers and often require a lot of money to defend oneself against.
Doctors are required by law to give their patients good care and attention, but they are not expected to be perfect or to be right 100% of the time when they make a diagnosis. As long as they follow legal protocol while providing care, doctors tend not to face legal malpractice claims.
Giving Unnecessary Medications
Inappropriate medication use is another example of medical malpractice. Unnecessary drugs can put patients at serious health risks, such as organ damage or allergic reactions. A prime danger with medications arises when a physician prescribes the wrong one due to an incorrect diagnosis, an insufficient drug dosage amount, or prescribing drugs that negatively interact with other drugs given to the patient. Also, doctors could just treat the symptoms without properly diagnosing and treating the underlying illness. This would leave the symptoms unresolved and out of control.
There is evidence that medication is used incorrectly in about 13% of hospital admissions and 30% of long-term care admissions on average. One study found that about 2 million of the 5 million adverse drug events that happen every year in hospitals were caused by the wrong way drugs were given. This caused hospitals to spend a lot of money on healthcare.
It’s important to know that just giving someone medicine to treat their illness isn’t always considered malpractice. Most experts agree that misprescribing or overmedicating a patient can be illegal if it hurts the patient. On the other hand, doctors may sometimes give medication to protect a patient from harm before they have time to make a proper diagnosis.
When medication is involved, physicians and pharmacists should always double-check what has been prescribed for accuracy and potential interactions with other drugs taken by their patients. Doing this helps protect everyone involved from potential medical malpractice claims due to incorrect medications being given.
Poorly Executed Surgical Procedures
When it comes to medical malpractice, improperly performed surgical procedures are a major concern that must be taken into account. Complications that happen because of a lack of skill or technique can be very bad since operations usually involve sensitive tissues, organs, or systems inside the patient, as well as the need for anesthesia and pain control. Medical professionals must treat their patients with the same level of care that a reasonable doctor with similar training and experience would. If they don’t, it could be considered malpractice.
Malpractice by the surgery team could include not sterilizing equipment properly, making surgical mistakes (like not removing all cancerous growths), giving the wrong amount of drugs or anesthesia during the operation, leaving behind foreign objects like sponges or robotic instruments when closing an incision, operating on the wrong body part or patient entirely, even when the right patient is found, and more. Despite advances in screening processes like barcode technology for patient identification in larger hospitals, such instances still happen around 4,000 times annually in America alone.
Denying Patients Necessary Treatment
Medical malpractice could happen when people don’t get the care they need, even if they don’t get physically hurt. This type of practice occurs when a doctor denies their patient treatment for an illness or injury even though it is known that such care would benefit them. As a result, patients can suffer both physically and psychologically as a result of negligence on the part of their physician. On the other hand, it’s possible that the doctor meant well and made a decision based on what was best for the patient’s health. Maybe they came to the conclusion that some treatments wouldn’t help much, would put the patient at more risk because of complications, or would go against another important medical protocol.
No matter why they make a decision, health care workers must keep patients in the loop about any action (or lack of action) that could affect them. Without effective communication between doctor and patient, medical malpractice, such as the incorrect denial of necessary treatments, could occur. It’s important for both sides to know about this possibility so that people who want medical advice can get better care.
Patients should become knowledgeable about the common risks associated with different treatments so that they can thoughtfully collaborate in the decision-making process with their doctor. Evidence-based practices and research will inform both sides of this debate, ensuring that decisions are made according to best practices. Denial of necessary treatment is one example where medical errors can cause more harm than just physical injuries and damage; going forward, we’ll examine how incorrect diagnoses leading to health-related consequences fit into this equation.
Errors Causing Health-Related Harm
Medical malpractice errors that cause health-related harm are among the most tragic and damaging. This is what happens when a doctor or other healthcare worker does something careless or wrong that hurts or kills a patient. For instance, if surgery were performed incorrectly and an instrument was left inside the patient, this could result in severe injury. Another example would be a patient getting hurt because the doctor didn’t take the right precautions during a high-risk treatment.
On the one hand, medical professionals should be held accountable for any negligence that causes injury or death to patients. When a professional chooses to perform an action or procedure that results in physical harm, such as injury, disability, or organ failure, then they have some form of legal responsibility. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers have been trained and entrusted with providing quality care while making informed decisions that prioritize patient safety. When those decisions lead to poor outcomes, victims of medical malpractice have the right to seek justice.
On the other hand, people make mistakes, and sometimes, even with all precautions taken, bad outcomes may still occur that were unavoidable and not caused by negligence. When those errors cross the line into recklessness or ignorance, legal action should be taken against those responsible. To prove negligence in relation to health-related harm caused by errors requires expert witnesses who can testify as to what standard practice requires compared to what was actually done and how this caused physical harm to the wronged party.
Lastly, when medical mistakes caused by mistakes in medical care hurt people’s health, it is important for those hurt to get legal help so that those responsible can be punished. As we move on to discuss another common example of medical malpractice—the lack of an appropriate act or response—let us remember the tragic outcomes experienced by victims and take measures so similar situations are avoided in the future.
Lack of Appropriate Act or Response
Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to take reasonable action for the safety and well-being of their patients. This could happen if a doctor doesn’t correctly diagnose a condition, gives the wrong prescription or treatment plan, or doesn’t do the tests and treatments that are needed after an illness has started.
When doctors or nurses don’t take the right steps or respond in the right way, patients can have serious medical problems that could cause long-term damage or make them sicker. Those affected may be eligible for compensation from the practitioner for any harm caused due to their negligence.
Healthcare professionals sometimes disagree as to what constitutes an acceptable response time. What may be considered reasonable by one party may not meet the expectations of others. For instance, some physicians believe results should be obtained within 24 hours, while others might argue that 48 hours is sufficient, given the nature of an examination.
Medical negligence claims often hinge on evidence showing a patient’s safety was put at risk due to the inaction of a healthcare professional. Expert witnesses may be called upon in these cases and offer insight into industry standards regarding expected practice and care as well as an opinion regarding what might have happened if the professional had acted differently given the clinical situation presented by the patient.
In the end, figuring out if there was an inadequate response means going through a lot of information to see if the right care and treatment procedures were followed in a certain situation. If it turns out that a professional didn’t take the right steps or respond in a reasonable amount of time according to accepted standards, they could be held responsible for any damages that happened because of their carelessness.
Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice? At SEAY/FELTON LLC Trial Lawyers, we specialize in medical malpractice cases and can help you understand the common examples of medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, anesthesia errors, failure to diagnose, and wrong treatment are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, don’t wait. Call us today at (404) 902-6444 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers. We can help you understand your legal rights and options and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t suffer in silence. Call now and let us help you get justice for your medical malpractice case.