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5 Common Types Of Malpractice Found In Hospitals & What To Do If You Fall Victim

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Medscape surveyed thousands of physicians about malpractice. More than half admitted they’d been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Surgeons and OB/GYNs were the most likely to be sued. Of those lawsuits, 3 out of 10 cases were settled before the trial.

Hospital doctors and nurses are not infallible. While exact statistics on the actual numbers of patients who are injured or harmed due to malpractice are hard to find, MD Magazine estimates that it could be as high as 4 million.  It’s also estimated that up to 400,000 wrongful death cases occur due to malpractice.

Those are the numbers. What about the most common types of medical malpractice? What’s happening in medical settings that lead to malpractice claim? These medical mistakes top the list. If you feel you’re a victim of any of these malpractice types, seek a free consulation from an attorney.

Errors During Surgery

Surgical errors are very common. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than three-quarters of surgical errors occur when the wrong side or area of the body is operated on. Other common errors are the wrong surgical procedure or the incorrect patient is taken into surgery.

Here’s an example of a surgical error that occurred in Florida. A woman went to the hospital in 2016 to have bones in her back fused following a car crash. As she was prepped for that back surgery, another surgeon thought he saw a tumor in her pelvis. While he was only instructed to make the incisions that exposed her back, he decided to immediately remove the mass. That mass turned out to be a healthy kidney.

Failure to Properly Treat the Condition

Sometimes, patients go to the doctor, wait for the diagnosis, and then head home with the doctor’s instructions in hand. They do everything they’ve been told, but they take a turn for the worse. They may not even try to treat a condition at all for one reason or another or offer just one solution when there are several. Failure to properly treat is a common malpractice error.

A New Hampshire woman went to the hospital with abdominal pain and learned she had an abscess and that an abdominal surgery was needed. No other options were given despite experts at other hospitals saying they could have just drained the abscess using a less invasive technique. The surgery caused complications, which lead to a lawsuit involving informed consent.

Injuries During Birth

Injuries during a birth are also a leading reason to consider a malpractice case. It may happen more often than expected because there are no federal rules stating medical residents must have a more experienced physician in the room when a c-section is performed.

A Louisiana couple was excited for the arrival of their child. When the baby’s heart rate dropped during a labor, an emergency c-section was ordered. While the husband was suited up for the delivery, the wife underwent the surgical procedure. The doctors turned out to be three residents who ran into complications. Almost half an hour passed before the residents called for help after her uterus ruptured.

Mistakes With the Diagnosis

When a doctor fails to diagnose a health issue, it can cost a patient his or her life. One of the most common mistakes involves diagnosing cancer. Melanoma is one type of cancer that’s often missed. A doctor sees a mole, doesn’t believe it looks suspicious, and doesn’t refer the patient to a specialist or order the mole to be biopsied.

Here’s an example of a highly-publicized medical malpractice case. In 2003, actor John Ritter was on the set of his popular TV show 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter when he suddenly didn’t feel well. He said his chest hurt, he felt nauseous, and he was dizzy. He was allegedly diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction, but he actually had an aortic aneurysm. While a jury didn’t find the doctor guilty of wrongful death, the family did get $14 million in other settlements.

Mix-ups With Medications

Over the year, several changes have been implemented to reduce the risk of a medication error. That doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Doctors have to write legibly now, though most type out orders and send them to pharmacies directly. There are still cases where mistakes are made, and this is a good example.

A doctor in Tennessee prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to a patient who had claustrophobia and needed a CT scan. The nurse in charge of giving the patient the medication didn’t find it in the system, so she used another method to get the medication and clicked on the first result. She didn’t notice that the wrong medication came up in the results. The patient was given the paralytic medication and went into cardiac arrest.

Do You Have a Case?

While mistakes happen, in a medical setting there should be a system in place to double and triple check medications, test results, or procedures. If you feel you’re a victim of malpractice, talk to our lawyers. You could have a valid complaint.

Our team will fight for you. There’s a reason Trial Lawyers For Justice is considered the best trial firm in the Midwest. Let us know more about your medical situation via live chat or call 866-854-5529 at any time of the day or night for free advice.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".