Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional causes injury to a patient because of negligence. This negligence can be found in several aspects of the healthcare process.
- Diagnosing patients. Not every medical professional is going to get the diagnosis completely correct right away for each patient. It happens frequently that doctors need to work through a process before accurately determining what is wrong with an individual. This is where it becomes important to look at the overall standard of care that was received. Would a more competent doctor have made the correct diagnosis quicker? Would another doctor have ordered different tests that would have made the diagnosis more apparent? Would another doctor have come to a different conclusion, which could have prevented a severe injury?
- Treating patients. We trust our doctors and other healthcare professionals to deliver the best care possible when treating us and our loved ones. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Even if the doctor is administering the correct treatment, major errors are still possible. A hasty doctor leaves medical gauze inside of a patient. A disorganized hospital team mixes up two patients, resulting in medical procedures being performed on the wrong individuals. A careless doctor prescribes a patient a medication that is far too strong from what they need or can handle.
- Warning patients. Another aspect of credible medical care is warning patients about all the potential risks and/or side effects. While we want everything to go smoothly, nothing can fully eliminate the risks that exist. However, failure to fully inform and educate patients about the possible risks is another form of medical malpractice.
Medical Specialties Seeing the Most Medical Malpractice Claims
According to an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the following medical specialties saw the greatest numbers of medical malpractice claims filed against medical professionals.
- Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery
- General surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
- Plastic surgery
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Pulmonary medicine
When looking at these findings, the important information is not necessarily which medical specialties are mentioned and where they fall on the list. But rather, it is important to recognize that medical malpractice can happen anywhere. From the operating room to a doctor’s office, from a brain surgery to birth of a new child, the risk of medical malpractice is always present.
Types of Medical Malpractice Areas
The harsh reality is that preventable medical errors account for roughly 440,000 deaths in the United States each year. There are a few commonly seen instances that lead to the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits. Following are explanations of these situations marked with negligence.
As you can imagine, surgical errors tend to be the most devastating form of medical malpractice for individuals. The operating room is a vulnerable place for patients, as they fully allow their life and well-being to be put into the hands of their medical team. Whether it is a routine procedure or major surgery, all types of surgeries come with a certain degree of risk.
Unfortunately, not all doctors and medical teams handle this responsibility as they should. There have been numerous documented instances where surgical materials and/or tools have been left inside patients, patients had the wrong body parts operated on, and individuals have suffered from severe injuries because of anesthesia errors.
We live in a country where some type of pill or medication is prescribed for nearly everything. Even though we are routinely taking these drugs, medical malpractice due to medication errors remains relatively common. In fact, roughly 1.5 million individuals in the United States suffer from injuries due to medication errors each year. This could be because a patient is given the wrong medication while in the hospital, a doctor writes a prescription with a dosage that is too low or too high, or an individual is prescribed a medication that a doctor should have known would have adverse effects.
When medical professionals fail to diagnose a patient in a timely manner or misdiagnose a condition, medical malpractice due to diagnosis errors can occur. This biggest issue with diagnosis errors is that patients are losing valuable time to treat what they really have. For instance, this means that cancer cells could metastasize throughout the body by the time the condition is correctly diagnosed.
If you believe that you or a loved one was injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Ross Feller Casey to learn more about your options. Ross Feller Casey is the preeminent medical malpractice law firm in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and beyond and has an unmatched record of multimillion-dollar recoveries in serious lawsuits involving medical and hospital negligence.