Three people in scrubs walking down clean hospital hallway

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Each year, tens of thousands of Americans seeking medical treatment are hospitalized or suffer other serious injuries due to medical negligence. Preventing these incidents starts by understanding the early warning signs of medical malpractice and knowing which procedures and treatments are most susceptible to medical error.

Medication Errors

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a severe and dangerous type of medical negligence. Some studies suggest that as much as 20% of all hospital deaths in the U.S. are due to an ADR. To put that into perspective, the US Food and Drug Administration suggests there are more hospital deaths due to medication errors than there are annual workplace fatalities.

Before starting or taking any new kind of drug, make sure your doctor fully understands your medical history, current medications, and any allergies. Sometimes, speaking up can help prevent a medication error before it happens.

Anesthetic Errors

Anesthetic errors are similar to medication errors. Typically there are three kinds of anesthetic errors. If a doctor doesn’t use enough, the patient might wake up too early. If they use too much, the patient may suffer complications or not wake up at all. With so much on the line, it’s truly frightening how often these errors occur, with some estimates suggesting anesthetic error rates as high as 1-in-200.

The third type of anesthetic error is the “syringe swap,” which may occur when doctors have an anesthetic and a countermeasure in their coat pocket but don’t look at the label before administering a dose. In some cases, this can cause a patient to be out longer than they should be, and in other rare cases, a patient may overdose from the anesthetic.

Misdiagnosis

Each year, 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed and are either treated for a condition they don’t have or experience worsening symptoms from the root cause of their untreated ailment. Misdiagnoses are not only common; they’re deadly. Roughly 33% of misdiagnosed patients (4 million each year) are hospitalized or lose their lives because of an incorrect or late diagnosis.

Failure to Treat

A failure to treat could mean either a “missed diagnosis” or that the doctor identified warning signs and decided not to treat you. Both are examples of medical malpractice as they are preventable instances of negligence that caused you to lose valuable time and may have caused your condition to worsen.

If you’re experiencing serious symptoms, but your doctor doesn’t give you a diagnosis or treat your condition, it may be time to seek a second opinion and talk to a medical malpractice attorney.

Birth Injury

American birth injuries vary widely by state, county, and even the particular medical facility. On average, they affect about 7-in-1000 U.S. births. Birth injuries can be particularly devastating for a family because they can permanently change an otherwise healthy baby’s life and subject them to a lifetime of struggles and specialized care.

If you’re planning to have a baby, make sure you research local birth injury rates and choose a hospital that you trust before the delivery date. Additionally, attending prenatal care can significantly reduce the risk of birth injuries and other delivery room complications.

How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

When you’ve been seriously injured, hospitalized, or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, it’s critical that you focus on the healing process while pursuing justice for the damages. When you hire a medical malpractice attorney, they’ll handle all the busywork and negotiating, so you have more time to focus on moving forward and getting back to health.

If you or someone you love experienced medical malpractice, you may have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Northwest Indiana medical malpractice attorney who cares, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (219) 212-2462 so we can discuss your options.

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