9 Most Common Medical Malpractice Cases
If you or someone you love believe you have suffered from medical malpractice, it’s crucial to seek out the best medical malpractice lawyers to ensure that you or your family receive proper compensation. Medical negligence or malpractice incidents are some of the hardest cases to prove because there are innumerable factors that can affect the case. Rather than a mere car accident where it’s easy to distinguish between the victim and the negligent driver, it is more difficult to establish where and how negligence occurred in medical malpractice cases.
It can be extremely daunting to become involved in a medical malpractice case because you have to deal with the current health issues you experienced, as well as the bureaucracy of the legal sector. Medical professionals who are guilty of medical malpractice and negligence usually have the hospital’s assistance in their line of defense, so it may be intimidating for individual victims and families to pursue a legal case against them. Enlisting the help of professional lawyers specializing in medical malpractice or top personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help breakdown the obscurities of medical law.
Certain policies also vary from state to state, but some general laws and rules apply to all medical malpractice cases. For instance, defining the basic requirements to file a claim and identifying common medical malpractice cases are stable components that can help the victim approach and understand their claim. Some of the most common medical malpractice cases are misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, surgical mistakes, misdosages, birth injuries, and delayed or failure of treatment. If the injury is serious, it will be worth contacting one of our attorneys for a no obligation consultation.
Although backing down or even agreeing for a small settlement might seem less laborious, it’s important to think about you or your family’s physical and emotional state, as well as thinking ahead. Before we describe the most common types of medical malpractice, let’s identify the basic requirements necessary for you or your family member to start a claim.
Basic Requirements for a Claim
- Establish the doctor-patient relationship. If you are filing a claim, you are essentially suing someone, which is the doctor you hired or agreed upon, so it is vital to prove that the doctor-patient relationship existed. This can be easily found in any of the medical records or documents during your stay in the hospital. If you never established a doctor-patient relationship, you may be ineligible to claim medical malpractice.
- Prove that the doctor was negligent. You cannot sue a doctor for malpractice simply over an unhappy experience or underwhelming results. It must be shown that the doctor was clearly negligent or not following standard of procedures in relation to the patient’s diagnosis or treatment. Having a medical expert on the patient’s side will be extremely helpful when or if the case goes to trial.
- The injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence. It is not uncommon for patients to be already sick or injured when they arrive at the hospital. To prove medical malpractice, there needs to be evidence that the patient’s doctor caused the specific harm or injury that occurred within the doctor’s care. For instance, if a doctor follows the medical standard of procedures, but a patient still dies from cancer, the doctor is not liable for the death. He or she is to blame if their negligence directly resulted in the injury.
- The injury led to specific damages. In this case, even if a physician clearly practiced negligence or performed below medical standards, a malpractice case is only viable if the negligence produced specific harm. The types of injuries and harm patients can sue for are physical pain, emotional trauma, additional medical bills, or inability to work or earn income.
Once those basic requirements have been rightly established, we can discuss the various situations that can lead to a medical malpractice case. There are several categories of medical negligence that mainly involve the patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and lack of communication or clarity. An example of the latter would be the doctor’s failure to notify the patient of the potential risks of a high-level surgical operation. If any of the following cases seem like that apply to you or someone you know, consider seeking out a medical attorney or malpractice lawyers to assist you in your case.
If a physician improperly diagnoses a patient, is delayed in diagnosing or fails to diagnose at all, the medical professional is subjected to negligence. Identifying key symptoms and signs is a part of the doctor’s duty. Failing to do so could result in detrimental consequences. For example, the doctor may misidentify a patient’s condition, leading to improper treatment that could cause further injury or even death. Delaying a diagnosis can be just as harmful if the patient’s deteriorating condition is time sensitive.
Misdiagnosis can occur from several factors. Most commonly, the doctor could forget to order tests, fail to perform tests properly, misread test results, fail to thoroughly examine the patient, or fail to full review and understand the patient’s medical history. Malpractice lawyers can tactfully help on determining when or why a misdiagnosis occurred and hold involved parties responsible for their negligence.
2. Medical Mistakes
Doctors are not the only ones who can be responsible for making medical errors. Nurses and other medical professionals in the hospital can be held accountable for prescribing improper medicine or treatment. More specifically, physicians or nurses could incorrectly administer a drug, prescribe wrong medication for a misdiagnosed condition, misread medical directions, or even accidentally give the wrong drug to the wrong patient. These cases are exceptional human error cases and could be easily prevented with more care and consideration. Unfortunately, medical and medication mistakes are some of the more common injury cases.
3. Prescription Drug Misdosages and Errors
Distributing improper doses and prescribing the wrong drugs stem from the previous point but are also make up their own category because of their specifics. Whereas the former generalizes overall medical and medication errors, prescribing wrong pharmaceutical drugs and their doses can lead to dangerous side effects and reactions that may be not as easy or as quickly to identify. Pharmaceuticals carry a heavy history of addiction and can affect the patient’s mental state as well as their physical condition. Doctors and nurses should be wary when they prescribe drugs to patients, keeping in mind the patient’s medical and personal history, and making sure to determine correct dosages.
4. Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia mistakes are relatively infrequent compared to the aforementioned cases yet are more dangerous. Any surgical operation from a routine operation to a long-lasting surgery will involve powerful anesthesia to help reduce or prevent any pain. Local anesthesia numbs a small part of your body, while regional anesthesia requires an injection in between the patient’s spinal vertebrae–like an epidural. The most powerful type is general anesthesia in which the drug fully sedates the patient, placing the individual into a deep slumber. This is used for invasive procedures such as open-heart surgery or spinal surgery.
Small mistakes concerning anesthesia can produce monumental harm, such as intense pain, permanent injury, brain damage, and even death. These errors can occur if the anesthesiologist administers the wrong amount, fails to check the patient’s medical history, or doesn’t properly monitor the patient’s vitals during surgery.
5. Surgical Errors and Surgical Burns
Although a large portion of malpractice occurs in the medical rooms, surgical errors are examples of more severe negligent cases that are often irreversible. Surgeons must follow protocols and procedures–even more than a medical physician. The attention to detail and precision is a necessity for successful surgeries. Negligence from surgeons can lead to puncturing an organ or artery or practicing improper or dangerous procedures that lead to infection. Extreme illustrations of surgical errors are performing surgery in the wrong area, operating on the wrong patient, amputating the wrong limb, and leaving surgical instruments behind inside the patient.
Additionally, receiving surgical burns are an example of medical malpractice as well. When patients are under general anesthesia for a routine operation, they can suffer from surgical burns caused by wrongfully transmitted electrical or thermal currents from physicians’ medical negligence or device failure. Surgical errors and burns can cause physical and mental trauma and leave life-long effects. Finding lawyers specializing in medical practice like registered nurse and trial attorney Eileen Kroll at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you or your family receive the proper emotional and financial compensation you require.
6. Misuse of Medical Equipment
The misuse and improper handling of medical equipment is a common yet preventable form of malpractice. The misuse of medical equipment can also influence surgical burns; incorrect placement of surgical pads, letting the device overheat, or if the pads are placed on wet skin, can lead to a burn on the patient’s skin. Physicians may face liability if they had clearly used the wrong instruments and can also be held accountable for injuries resulting from going procedures without the necessary medical tools or devices.
7. Birth Injuries
Birth injuries caused by medical malpractice is by far the most strenuous cases. These are particularly difficult to prove because the harm could have happened at any time during the pregnancy, from its first stage as a fetus to its last during the birthing process. Typical malpractice-induced birth injuries are cerebral palsy, nerve damage, facial paralysis, developmental disorders, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and intracranial hemorrhage. Other specific cases include the swelling of the baby’s scalp (caput succedaneum) and blood pooling between the scalp and skull (cephalohematoma).
Complications are expected to emerge during any birth but bringing a new member into your family should be a joyous occasion, not a harrowing situation. If you have any reason to believe that your family suffered a birth injury from medical negligence, it is recommended for you to contact a medical malpractice attorney to help evaluate your situation.
8. Delayed or Failure of Treatment
When a patient is admitted into the hospital, they expect proper treatment in a timely manner from their medical provider. When doctors and nurses fail to pay attention to their patients and administer delayed treatment (or not treating them at all), serious problems could arise. The patient’s condition could dramatically worsen, create more medical issues, or result in death. Delayed treatment is unfortunately common in rehab facilities, nursing homes, emergency rooms, and Veterans Affairs Hospitals, where victims or patients are frequently neglected or ignored. Some physicians may blame underfunded systems, understaffed hospitals, and overcrowded rooms, but those medical professionals are often the ones accountable for medical malpractice.
9. Failure to Warn Patient of Risks
Doctors have a sworn duty of informed consent–this requires all medical professionals to warn their patients of known risks and potential dangers of any procedure or treatment. If a patient is made aware of all risks and agrees to go through with the procedure, the doctor is not liable because he or she practiced the duty of informed consent. However, if a patient agrees to a procedure without knowing the full risks, and the patient experiences injury that he or she did not expect, then the doctor is liable for partaking in medical negligence.
Who to Contact
After considering the basic requirements for a medical malpractice claim and reviewing the various types of medical malpractice and negligence, you now have a fuller understanding this topic of discussion. It can be especially beneficial to seek out professional advice and guidance from a medical malpractice attorney. Although mistakes are to be expected in any fast-paced, high-stress environment, that shouldn’t excuse medical professionals to act negligently.
Don’t settle for low-ball offers or get intimidated by the many resources doctors and hospitals have access to. If you think or know your healthcare provider is guilty of medical malpractice–no matter how small or big the injury–it is recommended to get professional legal help from those who also have experience in the medical sector, like our trial attorney Eileen Kroll.
If you or someone you love has experienced any of these situations, you can contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. in Michigan by calling (866)-642-4529 to receive a free consultation from our top medical malpractice attorneys and top personal injury lawyers. Best of all, our law firm never charges a fee unless we make a recovery.