When you go to a doctor, you trust that they, as a trained medical professional, will act in your best interests and place your safety above all else. However, sometimes mistakes happen.
Every year, more than 250,000 people die across the United States due to medical errors. This adds up to around 10% of all deaths. Hundreds of thousands of others do not die but live with life-altering consequences. From a misdiagnosed brain injury to patient negligence and the prescription of the wrong drug, medical malpractice can take many forms. These are the 5 most common forms of medical malpractice in the United States.
All medical procedures begin with a diagnosis. This diagnosis is hugely important as it dictates the course of treatment. Any mistake in the diagnosis could be compounded by dangerous and unnecessary treatment procedures.
As a result, diagnostic errors are among the most common medical malpractice claims. Not all cases of misdiagnosis immediately qualify as medical malpractice cases. Rare conditions can be notoriously difficult to diagnose. However, if your doctor missed a routine diagnosis, you could have a strong case for medical malpractice.
Although not as common as diagnostic errors, given the risks associated with surgery, surgical errors are often among the most devastating medical errors. Cases where surgeons performed an incorrect procedure, carried out surgery unnecessarily, inadvertently damaged organs or tissue, administered the incorrect quantity of anesthesia, or provided inadequate aftercare could all qualify as medical malpractice cases.
The United States is the most medicated country on earth. But when mistakes occur with these medications, the consequences can be catastrophic. Mistakes can happen when the doctor prescribes the wrong quantity of medication or the wrong combination of medication. Tragedy can also occur if a pharmacist fills the wrong prescription or hands over the wrong strength.
Injuries During Childbirth
Birth injuries can be among the most traumatic forms of medical malpractice. In extreme cases, the result of a small mistake on the part of the doctor can leave lasting disabilities on the child and even cause the death of both the mother and baby.
Medical malpractice cases surrounding childbirth can include inadequate prenatal care before the birth, negligence, and incorrect administration of medication.
Failure to Treat
This is not as common as other forms of medical malpractice on this list, particularly in the United States where the training and structure of the healthcare industry put significant emphasis on doctors offering comprehensive treatment plans for the patient. However, some cases of a doctor or medical professional failing to treat an accurate diagnosis do occur.
In most cases where doctors fail to adequately treat a patient despite having the correct diagnosis, the professional is overworked and has too many patients to provide them all with quality care. Failure to treat a patient could involve providing no follow-up care, failure to refer the patient to a specialist or early discharge from the hospital.
If you or any of your loved ones have fallen victim to medical malpractice, it is essential you seek legal council at the earliest opportunity to protect your legal rights.