Medical Malpractice: Most Common Mistakes Made by Healthcare Providers
“First, do no harm.” This is an essential feature of the Hippocratic Oath that many of the country’s medical school graduates agree to abide by when conferred with their medical degree. Though a noble guiding principle, and one that doctors and other healthcare providers strive to achieve, patient harm happens–and at alarming rates. “Medical errors are the third-leading cause of the death” in the United States, according to a recent study by Johns Hopkins. Each year, more than 250,000 people lose their lives because of medical mistakes, and thousands more are injured. Sometimes these errors are due to carelessness, but the Centers for Disease Control acknowledge that many of these errors can be attributed to “the system.” The system might account for computer mix-ups or some other defect of process.
For victims of medical malpractice, it matters little whether it was a short-staffed hospital, inadequately skilled staff, or an improper dose that led to their injury. They asked for medical care and received poor care. They were injured by the very ‘system’ tasked to help them. Unfortunately, the needle has not moved far enough to demonstrate real improvement in medical errors. In fact, the following medical errors committed by doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers and hospital staff remain the most common reasons for medical malpractice suits.
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
A large percentage of medical malpractice claims relate to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. A wrong diagnosis typically results in ineffectual treatment–incorrect treatment. Without a proper diagnosis and care, a patient’s condition can seriously worsen. Although physicians are not responsible for all diagnostic errors, they may be held accountable if the patient and doctor had a care relationship, the doctor did not exhibit reasonable skill, and the doctor’s negligence led to the patient’s injury or worsened condition. Sometimes the doctor’s misdiagnosis is not entirely their fault. The medical equipment might not have been properly calibrated or the technician might have been at fault. In these cases, the fault might be assigned to a different party than the attending physician.
In a given year, as many as 1.5 million individuals will experience a medication error in the United States. Sometimes these errors are inconsequential–though they’re nearly always disturbing as they highlight healthcare vulnerabilities. Sometimes, however, medication errors can do substantial harm to patients. Sometimes doctors prescribe the wrong drug for a patient. Sometimes the wrong dose is given to the patient in the hospital. Sometimes healthcare staff give the right medication and dose to the wrong patient. In most cases involving medication errors, it’s the dose that is problematic. Patients are given either too much or too little of a medication. Sometimes faulty medical equipment can lead to a disastrously high dose.
Childbirth errors can have a devastating and lifelong impact on infants and their families. From fractured bones to brain injuries, childbirth errors are far too common in our healthcare system. There is a wide array of medical malpractice suits involving childbirth injuries. Many of these suits relate to negligent prenatal care. For instance, the obstetrician might fail to diagnose a serious medical condition like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. The doctor might fail to diagnose a contagious disease such as genital lupus.
Many childbirth errors occur during the birthing process. When a doctor is negligent during the birth, both the mother and child can suffer serious health consequences. Some of the most commonplace birth-related errors include incompetent use of forceps or other medical equipment / devices, failing to note and respond to fetal distress, failing to respond to birth complications related to the infant’s large size, or failing to order a cesarean section when one is medically called for.
Many people have heard the horror stories–surgeon amputates the wrong limb. Yes, such mistakes have happened and, as one can imagine, the consequences of such errors can dramatically alter a person’s life. And there are other devastating surgical errors that occur too. For instance, sometimes sponges or even surgical tools are left inside a patient. Sometimes surgeons perform the correct surgical procedure on the wrong patient. Sometimes the surgeon simply performs the surgery poorly. Other medical errors that can occur in association with surgery include anesthesia mistakes, nerve damage, or even using surgical implements that weren’t properly sterilized.
Surgical injuries can lead to life-threatening infections–even death. When mistakes are made because of carelessness or incompetence, patients suffer needlessly. Although the healthcare industry continues to try to reduce these types of incidents, they still occur.
Patients Have Rights
If a medical practitioner has caused your injuries or a worsening of your health condition, you may be entitled to compensation. What scares many patients is that they may not actually know if their condition was caused by carelessness or simply because of condition progression. Healthcare providers are not always forthcoming about the role they played in a poor health result.
That’s why it’s important to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney who focuses on medical malpractice suits. They know what questions to ask–and where to find the answers. Not all errors will result in compensation, but many will. In Nevada, people who are injured because of medical malpractice are entitled to receive compensation. Moreover, negligent healthcare providers should be held accountable for preventable mistakes. In Nevada, patients have three years to file a claim against a physician, medical institution, or other medical staff from the date that the injury was incurred.
Gina Corena & Associates features experienced personal injury attorneys who can provide you with a free initial consultation to discuss your claim. They can assess the merits of your case and provide you with competent legal advice, helping you decide whether or not to pursue your claim. If you choose to let one of our firm’s attorneys represent you, can expect compassionate attention and legal guidance that is tailored to the circumstances of your case. We fight tenaciously to win compensation for our clients. We are experienced negotiators and litigators. We’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights.