If you suspect that you or someone you know has been harmed through the negligence or error of a medical professional, you may feel frustrated and confused. You are not alone. Millions of people are injured as a result of medical negligence every year. And, according to a recent study by Johns Hopkins Hospital, medical malpractice ranks as third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the recognized “standard of care” for his or her profession in the treatment of a patient. For example, this may include an OB/GYN who fails to perform a cesarean section on time, resulting in harm to the mother or infant. A doctor incorrectly diagnosing a patient, prescribing the wrong medication, or making a surgical error are other examples of potential malpractice.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, start by contacting the medical professional you believe to be at fault. Your goal is to get an understanding of what may have gone wrong and allow your provider to determine whether this is something that can be remedied. In most cases, medical providers are willing to perform services to correct a problem or provide a solution, sometimes free of charge.
If this does not resolve your concerns, however, you may want to consider filing charges. Finding a qualified medical malpractice attorney can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your injuries and walking away empty-handed. An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action moving forward.
Common Errors Made by Healthcare Providers
We place our greatest trust in medical professionals — the doctors, nurses, specialists, and caregivers we turn to – to keep us well. And yet, as the statistics prove, accidents happen. Sometimes the mistakes are the result of simple human error or a miscommunication. Other times, professionals deviate so far from the standard practice of care to be considered negligent. As patients and consumers, it is in our best interest to be more informed about the medical care we receive so that we can make better choices — and so that we may recognize when we are receiving inadequate treatment or care.
Below are some of the most common errors made by healthcare providers.
Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to make a diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnoses are quite common in cases of medical malpractice complaints, as is the failure to make a diagnosis at all. Any of the above situations can mean complications or injury for the patient.
While not all fetal injuries are caused by malpractice, these incidents do occur frequently and include:
- Failure to anticipate birth complications
- Failure to respond to signs of fetal or maternal distress
- Failure to carry out a C-section when needed
- Incorrect use of forceps or vacuum extractor
- Failure to identify umbilical cord problems
Results of these errors may include fractured bones, full or partial paralysis, or brain injuries, which can in turn cause conditions like cerebral palsy.
Fetal injuries can also occur weeks or months before birth, if the mother didn’t receive correct treatment during her pregnancy. Negligent pre-natal care includes:
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition in the mother
- Failure to identify birth defects
- Failure to identify ectopic pregnancies
- Failure to diagnose a disease contagious to the fetus
Millions of patients are harmed each year as a result of medication errors. A medication error is an error at any step along the pathway that begins when a clinician prescribes a medication and ends when the patient actually receives the medication. While not all adverse drug events are the result of error or poor care, it is generally estimated that about half of these events are preventable. Typical medication errors include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing improper dosage of a medication
- Failure to administer a drug correctly
- Failure to take notice of potentially harmful drug interactions
- Failure to monitor the impact of the prescribed medication
Fortunately, anesthesia errors are more infrequent than other errors. However, these mistakes can lead to brain damage, permanent injury, and even death.
Examples of anesthesia negligence prior to a surgery include failure to properly investigate the medical history of the patient for potential complications or the failure to advise the patient on essential pre-operative procedures.
Anesthesia negligence during surgery may include:
- Administering too much anesthesia
- Failure to monitor vital signs
- Incorrectly placing a tube in the patient’s trachea to assist with breathing
- Using defective equipment
Errors made in the operating room can lead to medical malpractice claims. A few examples of these errors include:
- Puncturing a patient’s internal organs
- Operating on the incorrect part of the body
- Leaving surgical instruments in the body
Claims can also be made against negligent post-operative care when incorrect procedures lead to infection, or if the patient was not provided with sufficient advice on his or her post-operative recovery requirements.
What Should I Do If I Want To Make A Medical Malpractice Claim?
As a patient, you have the right to expect your healthcare provider to deliver care that meets the standard of care guidelines acknowledged by the law. If these guidelines have not been met, then a case for negligence may be determined.
Our attorneys will help you determine if you have a case for a medical malpractice claim. When proving a claim based on medical malpractice, the objective is to show what the treating healthcare provider did or didn’t do, compared with what a competent healthcare professional would have done under the same circumstances.
Do not hesitate to contact Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor today for a confidential assessment. Call now 1-888-888-3773. The consultation and calls are FREE.