Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional deviates from the accepted standard of medical malpractice and causes injury to the patient. The term medical malpractice encompasses many types of negligent actions and omissions under an array of different circumstances. This blog discusses the six most common medical malpractice claims filed against physicians and healthcare providers. Contact us today to speak with a medical malpractice attorney!
Common Medical Malpractice Claims
Bad outcomes and mistakes can happen. Not every bad outcome will lead to medical malpractice case. A bad outcome can be due to a known risk of the procedure and not due to negligence. However, doctor’s are required to practice medicine with a high degree of care.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. If a doctor misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose a patient and another doctor under similar circumstances and skill sets would have made the diagnosis, it constitutes medical malpractice under the law. Misdiagnosing any medical condition can lead to worsening symptoms, additional ailments or conditions, improper treatment, and even death.
Failure to Treat
When discussing or thinking about medical malpractice, most people envision a physical affirmative act that causes injury. However, failing or omitting to take necessary action is just as dangerous. Failing to treat may violate accepted medical care standards and is a common cause of malpractice claims.
Some examples of failure to treat medical malpractice include:
- Failing to order diagnostic and medical testing,
- Not providing adequate follow-up care,
- Improperly discharging a patient (e.g., releasing them too soon),
- Failing to provide proper discharge instructions, and
- Failing to take into account a patient’s medical history.
The failure to treat can occur in many different circumstances but can be devastating.
Obstetrical and Childbirth Mistakes
An obstetrician, commonly called an OB, monitors your pregnancy and is expected to safely delivers your baby during childbirth. However, OB negligence is a far too common reason for childbirth malpractice that can result in catastrophic and permanent injuries to the baby and mother.
Negligent OB conduct during pregnancy and childbirth includes inadequate prenatal care and monitoring, unsafe delivery techniques, and delayed diagnosis and treatment of the condition of the baby during labor. You can hold your physician responsible if you believe medical malpractice led to your child’s injury, such as cerebral palsy, a broken bone, or any other injury or condition that occurs during birth due to negligence.
Emergency Room Malpractice
Emergency rooms are often the busiest department of any given hospital. Many ERs are overcrowded and understaffed. This can leave the physicians, nurses, and staff spread too thin and pushed to see too many patients at any time. Overcrowding and understaffing can lead to mistakes and errors, but it can also cascade into other problems, such as delayed treatment.
ER malpractice can include several types of malpractice claims, including:
- Medication errors,
- Charting mistakes,
- Improper diagnosis,
- Insufficient patient monitoring, and
- Delayed diagnosis and treatment.
ER medical malpractice can snowball into severe medical malpractice, resulting in additional injuries and even death.
Surgical malpractice can be some of the most catastrophic, complex, and challenging to prove. Many types of surgical errors might constitute a medical malpractice claim, including the following:
- Wrong-site surgery;
- Leaving objects behind inside the patient;
- Performing the wrong procedure;
- Performing unnecessary surgery;
- Failing to sterilize instruments properly;
- Damaging nerves, tissues, or organs during surgery;
- Anesthesia mistakes, including administering too much or too little;
- Lack of follow-up and post-operative care; and
- Inserting defective or recalled medical devices.
Any surgery comes with inherent risks, but it is the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other medical staff involved in the surgery that are responsible for providing a reasonable standard of care to the patient.
Holding these medical professionals accountable for their mistakes or negligence can be challenging, given that the patients are almost always unconscious and unaware of what is being done. It can make discovering and diagnosing the mistake and injury difficult. However, with the right legal team, you can successfully seek the justice you deserve.
Medication and prescription drug errors are common medical malpractice claims and can leave patients with devastating injuries and consequences.
Some common examples of medication errors include:
- Administering the wrong medication,
- Prescribing the wrong medication,
- Giving an incorrect dose,
- Prescribing multiple medications with known interactions with each other,
- Providing a drug to a patient with a known allergy, and
- Failing to observe or make a note of reactions.
Medication errors can occur at your doctor’s hands but also commonly occur because of nurse negligence. Regardless, you have options if a medication or prescription error injures you.
Other Types of Medical Malpractice
In addition to the common medical malpractice claims discussed in detail above, there are many other acts or omissions that can give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Some additional examples of medical negligence include:
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results;
- Poor follow-up or aftercare;
- Premature discharge;
- Failure to recognize symptoms or side effects;
- Failure to order proper testing; and
- Failure to adequately document or chart.
The examples discussed here are not exhaustive, and your doctor may have committed another form of negligence that would entitle you to recovery.
Filing Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you suspect you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should not wait to consult with an attorney. Contemplating filing a lawsuit can seem daunting, but we are here to help.
A medical malpractice lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. The complaint must describe in reasonable detail the specifics of your claim and the relief you seek.
In Colorado, you must file a certificate of review within 60 days after serving the named defendants with the complaint. The certificate of review requires you to consult with a medical expert to review the facts of your case. The medical expert must conclude that there is substantial justification for your claim. Among other things, this requirement ensures the courts are not flooded with frivolous lawsuits.
What Sets Us Apart?
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., our medical malpractice clients benefit from top-notch legal representation and a medical doctor on the team. Being injured by a doctor or healthcare provider you trusted can be devastating and leave you trying to understand what happened while simultaneously dealing with the physical and financial repercussions. Let us help you hold them accountable. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.