While no one expects to be harmed by a medical professional, the reality of medical malpractice claims occur more often than you may think. Medical errors caused by the negligence of healthcare professionals has resulted in serious injuries and death of patients. Medical malpractice can happen in a variety of ways, however the following five common types of medical malpractice have resulted in deadly outcomes.
A medical misdiagnosis is a common form of medical malpractice that can have serious and fatal outcomes. Medical conditions which are misdiagnosed by a doctor can result in improper treatment for the condition. This can then lead to a delay in proper treatment, worsening of the condition, and risk of death. For instance, if a patient experiencing a heart attack is misdiagnosed with indigestion, a doctor may fail to promptly treat the symptoms of the heart attack. A misdiagnosed condition can also lead to unnecessary medical treatment which can cause further harm to the patient. For example, if a patient is misdiagnosed with cancer and unnecessarily undergoes chemotherapy, they may experience serious side effects that can be life-threatening.
Similar to a misdiagnosis is a delayed diagnosis which is a type of medical malpractice when a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition in a timely manner. When a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition promptly when a patient is first seen, the patient may not receive the necessary treatment which can result in worsening of the condition. Delayed medical treatment from a delayed diagnosis due to a medical error can have serious and even fatal results. If a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in a patient experiencing related symptoms, for example, the cancer may spread as time goes on, making it difficult to treat or no longer treatable. A delayed diagnosis can also occur with infectious diseases which can have life-threatening impacts if not promptly treated.
Medication errors are another form of medical malpractice which can have fatal outcomes. Medical negligence can result in various types of medication errors including prescribing the wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage, prescribing multiple medications that have negative interactions, or giving medication to the wrong patient. Another form of medication error is when a doctor fails to consider a patient’s medical history and prescribes a drug which the patient is allergic to. This can cause the patient to experience a serious allergic reaction which can be life-threatening. Medication errors can also lead to overdoses or underdoses of medication which can result in serious health complications such as organ damage or failure.
When hospitals or doctors offices are not adequately staffed with enough healthcare professionals to provide care to patients, fatal medical errors can occur. Patients may not receive the necessary monitoring or medical care such as administering medication on time or monitoring vital signs. Delays in medical care due to inadequate staffing can have deadly outcomes in situations when doctors or healthcare professionals are not able to provide a high level of care for patients needing urgent attention. Patients with serious conditions that are not promptly addressed because of inadequate medical staffing can result in worsening of the condition and a risk of death.
Defective Medical Equipment
Many doctors and medical professionals rely on various tools, equipment, and machines to diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions. When these medical devices and equipment are defective, serious life-threatening health complications can occur. For example, if a surgical tool is defective and breaks during surgery, the patient can experience internal injuries, bleeding, or dangerous infections. Defects in medical devices which are used to diagnose medical conditions can cause delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of critical conditions which require timely treatment. If defective equipment produces inaccurate test results for example, doctors may improperly diagnose medications or treatments which can further worsen medical conditions.