Malpractice is defined as the improper, illegal, or negligent actions of a professional. Although any professional can be accused of malpractice, it is often used in the medical profession when a healthcare provider is negligent or careless.
Understanding the most common reasons for malpractice can help you better understand if you may have a valid malpractice claim. The following are the five most common reasons medical malpractice lawsuits are filed.
5. Prescription Drug Errors
The fifth most common malpractice claim is related to errors with prescription drugs. Errors can occur at multiple levels of the prescription drug chain. According to the Harvard Medical Malpractice Study, 32 percent of medication-related claims involved the death of the patient.
The report also found that doctors prescribe billions of medications each day, and more than 100 million people in this country take four or more medications. This can lead to the prescribing of drugs that may adversely interact with each other. In some cases, the malpractice is related to miscommunication and misinterpretation, such as when a doctor does not clearly write the name of a medication and a pharmacist confuses it with a different drug.
4. Birth Injuries
The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but when something goes wrong, it can be devastating. A mother may suffer from prolonged labor, which can lead to oxygen deprivation or nerve damage in the child as well as excessive bleeding in the mother.
A doctor using forceps or vacuum extraction improperly can cause injuries to the head, neck and shoulders. The child may suffer from cerebral palsy due to head trauma during the delivery. If an injury occurs to the mother or the child due to negligence or carelessness on the part of healthcare providers, there may be grounds for a malpractice claim.
3. Failure to Treat
There are several ways that someone may have a malpractice claim for failure to treat. Doctors are human and they make mistakes. However, when the failure to treat is significant and leads to additional medical problems or death, the healthcare provider may have been negligent or careless. Some examples of failure to treat include:
- Denial due to lack of insurance or the wrong type of insurance
- Failure to refer to a specialist
- Lack of treatment in a timely manner
- Neglecting to assess and monitor your condition
- No information provided about available treatments
- Not adhering to standards of care
- Not performing medical tests
2. Surgical Errors
There have been instances where surgical tools or sponges have been left inside someone during surgery, leading to infections that could be life-threatening. The surgeon may injure a nerve or perform an incision in the wrong location. There have even been instances where a surgeon operated on the wrong body part, removing a left leg instead of a right for instance.
A doctor who is fatigued is more likely to make surgical errors. In addition, there have been cases where a doctor is under the influence of drugs or alcohol before surgery, leading to catastrophic errors.
The most common malpractice claim is for misdiagnosis of an illness. Misdiagnosis does not necessarily mean that the doctor provided you with an incorrect diagnosis. It could mean they did not diagnose you properly in time to provide proper treatment or they may not have recognized complications that could result in further illness or death.
The doctor may also diagnose one condition and not realize that you have another condition at the same time. For example, you could be diagnosed with acid reflux which can be easily treated with medication. A few weeks after that diagnosis, you suffer a heart attack because the doctor failed to notice a heart condition that could cause symptoms similar to acid reflux.
If you believe you have been the victim of malpractice, you need to talk to a trusted and established law firm such as Pintas and Mullins. Malpractice can be difficult to prove, and doctors win the majority of cases. It’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side if you want to have the best chance of getting compensation.