According to a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, 250,000 people die every year because of medical errors—making medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Because of the prevalence, it’s important to understand how these errors are made. The following are 15 of the most common causes of medical malpractice.
Most Frequent Medical Errors
When medical providers fail to meet expected standards of care, they commit malpractice. Specifically, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare agent or institution makes an error or commits negligence which results in injury to a patient. The following are the most common errors and instances of negligence that lead to medical malpractice:
- Missed or Delayed Diagnosis. Failing to diagnose or missing a clear diagnosis can lead to serious consequences.
- Failure to Act on Test Results. If a doctor orders a test for you, receives abnormal results, and does nothing, he is responsible for what happens as a result.
- Failure to Monitor. After surgery or another serious treatment process, patients need careful attention. Failing to monitor adequately can cause serious damage.
- Treatment Errors. Doctors should take great care to choose a treatment plan after making a diagnosis, reading current literature and even consulting other doctors. Failure to do so can result in improper treatment and injury.
- Anesthesia Errors. Balancing oxygen, blood pressure, heart rate, and other bodily responses to surgery is a difficult task and mistakes can be life-threatening.
- Surgical Errors. During surgery, a doctor may leave an object behind, perform surgery on the wrong site, perform an unnecessary surgery, or commit other significant errors.
- Airway Management Errors. Most often, airway management errors occur when a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other healthcare agent intubates or extubates a patient, inserting or removing a breathing tube into his throat. Mistakes can result in death, brain damage, and more.
- Post-Operative Errors. Even after a successful surgery, medical staff must still carefully monitor patients, making sure to watch for abnormal bleeding or drainage. Negligence after surgery can be catastrophic.
- Improper Patient Discharge. Recovering at a hospital can be vital to proper healing, but medical staff sometimes release patients too early, causing further injury.
- Hospital-Acquired Infections. If medical staff is negligent, bacteria, fungi, or viruses can be transmitted between patients and medical tools like catheters, ventilation tubes, and injections—causing pain and suffering and new sicknesses.
- Medication Errors. Whether caused by poor handwriting, improper dosage, or drug interaction, medication errors lead to serious damage and can cause terrible injury.
- Healthcare Worker Fatigue. When medical professionals become inattentive, can’t problem-solve, or communicate well because they’re tired, life-threatening consequences can follow.
- Failure to Obtain Informed Consent. Patients have a right to know all risks associated with a procedure or treatment before they receive it. If a doctor fails to describe his treatment plan to a patient in a way she understands, he could be held liable for whatever effects follow.
- Patient Abandonment. If a doctor is unavailable to a patient, refuses treatment due to an outstanding bill, or sets a follow-up appointment too far in the future, she could be found negligent.
- Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse. A nursing home staff member could be found liable for injuries and pain and suffering if she failed to provide proper care, physically or emotionally harmed the patient, stole from a patient, or otherwise breeched the expected standard of care.
Get Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case
If you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you need a skilled and experienced attorney on your side. The legal professionals at Tavss Fletcher consistently and successfully advocate for victims of medical malpractice, earning them the fair compensation they need to cover medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us by starting a live online chat on our website today.