What Are the Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice?
When you visit a doctor, take a trip the emergency room, or schedule a procedure with a surgeon, the expectation is that they’ll take good care of you. Depending on the underlying cause, they may not be able to promise the exact outcome you’re looking for. However, at the very least, they can promise to do everything within their power to offer the standard of care you deserve.
Unfortunately, doctors are only human and are susceptible to making mistakes – both deliberately and unintentionally. As a patient, you have rights.
What is Medical Malpractice?
The term medical malpractice certainly envelops a variety of different issues and is essentially a catchall for a serious blunder in a healthcare setting.
“Generally speaking, you have a medical malpractice claim if your health care provider committed medical negligence,” The Colleran Firm explains. “In other words, if he or she violated the accepted standard of care, causing you or a loved one injury, a claim may be present. It’s important to have evidence that your health care provider’s actions directly caused harm.”
The Top Claims in the U.S.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different examples of medical malpractice, but if you’re looking at the most common claims in the United States, the following would certainly make the list:
One of the most common medical malpractice issues is misdiagnosis. (For example, roughly 20 percent of screening mammograms result in false negative reports.) Whether it’s a false-positive, false-negative, or something else entirely, a misdiagnosis can cause serious harm – mentally and physically – to the patient. These cases are typically analyzed by considering how other competent doctors within the field would have handled the same case.
On a related note, delayed diagnoses are also considered medical malpractice in many situations. This usually becomes an issue when a delayed referral or diagnosis prevents the patient from receiving timely care and treatment.
- Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Many people don’t realize that failure to obtain informed consent is a medical malpractice issue, but it’s actually one of the most common. This comes into play when a patient isn’t made fully aware of the expected outcome, potential risks, and alternatives to the recommended procedure, treatment, or medication and the action causes harm to the patient.
- Childbirth Injury
Unfortunately, childbirth injuries make the list of most common medical malpractice claims. A number of injuries can be caused to fetuses and/or newborns, including brain injuries, fractured bones, nerve damage, and other physical or neurological issues.
Even more common than injuries and complications during the actual delivery is improper or negligent prenatal care. Poor prenatal care can result in harm to the fetus and the mother. Examples include: failure to diagnose medical conditions (such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes), failure to identify birth defects, and failure to diagnose disease that could be contagious.
- Surgery Errors
Finally, surgical errors make the list. Some are extremely dangerous, while others are non-life threatening. Examples of the former include puncturing organs or failing to stop bleeding, while examples of the latter include leaving a medical sponge inside a body or operating on the wrong leg. While surgical errors aren’t common when you look at the total number of procedures, they do happen and are usually dealt with through legal action
Explore All of Your Options
If you believe that you’ve been the victim of a medical malpractice incident, it’s important that you explore all of your options and speak with a qualified attorney on the matter. There are plenty of factors involved and the right legal team will help you sort through any issues.