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8 Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims

by Ragini Salampure

Medical technology has come a long way over the years. And while the number of medical errors has certainly gone down over the years, they certainly have not disappeared completely. In fact, medical errors are one of the main causes of death in the United States. 

While certain diseases aren’t always preventable, medical malpractice certainly is. Doctors’ offices tend to be overscheduled and understaffed, which can lead them to make hasty calls and fatal mistakes. 

Whether you are a concerned family member or a patient, it is definitely worth knowing about the most common types of medical malpractice claims. When you are aware and proactive, you can make sure that you and your loved are being properly cared for. 

So keep on reading and we will walk you through the top medical malpractice claims that you are going to want to know about!

1. Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnoses

One of the most common causes for a medical malpractice claim is a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis. While they might seem like similar problems, they are both unique.

A misdiagnosis is when a doctor completely misdiagnoses a patient. That patient might be treated for a condition that they don’t actually have and won’t get better when they are supposed to. The correct diagnosis is usually made much later and it will likely be too late by then. 

A delayed diagnosis is when a doctor eventually comes to the correct diagnosis but they don’t do so in a fast enough time. They might put off getting tests for the proper diagnosis while the patient sits in pain. 

A patient might also complain about an issue and the doctor will tell them that they don’t need to worry about anything. It will then be revealed later that they felt the early symptoms of a serious illness.

2. Failure to Treat

When there is a negligent lapse in a patient’s care, that is considered to be a failure to treat. It has also been called a failure to diagnose. This is when a doctor sees a patient but they fail to diagnose an illness or injury.

This means that they fail to recommend care or treatments. Failing to refer the patient to a specialist, failing to order the correct tests, and dismissing a patient’s presentation of symptoms can all lead to failure to treat.

3. Childbirth Injuries

The United States has a relatively high childbirth fatality rate. Unfortunately, many of these fatalities are preventable. They are usually due to failure to diagnose, overworked medical staff, and a relaxed safety protocol in medical facilities. 

Even if the mother doesn’t face any issue, a child that is born with serious injuries could end up having life-long disabilities. Negligence can occur during the delivery of the baby or even during prenatal care.

4. Lack of Informed Consent

It is the responsibility of the doctor to give the patient all of the information that she or he needs to make a smart decision about having surgery before the operation. The doctor needs to provide all of the facts about the operation.

If the patient didn’t receive enough information, they may not have given informed consent. This is despite the fact that the patient signed the release forms. This could expose the health care facility to liability for future surgical complications or errors.

5. Surgical Errors

Despite rules and regulations, surgical errors are fairly common. A lot of these errors aren’t life-threatening. But they’re still dangerous and debilitating. 

Common causes for surgical error claims include brain damage during sedation, anesthesia errors, bleeding, post-operative infections, operating on the wrong patient, and operating on the wrong side of the body.

6. Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is very common in surgeries as well as with outpatient procedures. Errors with anesthesia can be devastating. This is especially true when the patient isn’t properly monitored or a proper medical history isn’t taken.

Patients can suffer from allergic reactions, heart attacks, organ failure, brain damage from a lack of oxygen, and drug interactions.

7. Poor Pre- or Post-Operative Care 

A patient’s ability to survive successfully an operation will depend on the patient’s pre- and post-operative care. Health care providers get special training on how to prep a person for an operation.

This can include:

  • choosing the correct anesthetic
  • assessing the patient’s physical fitness for the surgery
  • telling the patient not to eat a specific number of hours before

After surgery, a patient will need attentive support and care to stop the chances of infection and to promote recovery. Negligent patient care after or before an operation could increase the risk of mortality, illnesses, infections, and complications.

8. Emergency Room Mistakes

Emergency rooms can be very different from one hospital to another. These tend to be stressful environments that see hundreds of patients a day. 

It is easy for an emergency room to become dangerous and disorganized. All kinds of mistakes can take place in this kind of environment. 

Because of this, it is very important that you know who can be sued for medical malpractice.

The Importance of Knowing the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims 

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of what the most common types of medical malpractice claims are. As we can see, there are many different kinds of problems and mistakes that could come up. You need to be aware of these issues in case you or a family member is ever a patient who is worried about medical malpractice.

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