Medical malpractice may sound very serious – and that’s because it is. When medical treatment is being provided, there are many factors that can affect the success of the treatment. However, when a healthcare professional acts with negligence, it qualifies as medical malpractice, and is illegal.
Billions of dollars are spent every year paying out medical malpractice claims. From 2012-2016, there was an average of one million residents per state with paid medical malpractice claims.
5 Common Instances of Medical Malpractice:
- Prescription Errors. Unfortunately, sometimes the wrong dosage of a prescription may be prescribed, or even the wrong medication all together. Medication errors kill 7-9 thousand people each year. One reason this mistake occurs is due to mixing up similar drug brand names.
- Misdiagnoses. This includes both wrong diagnoses as well as failure to diagnose. Some diagnoses are made but are delayed, and by then it could be too late for treatment. However, a doctor simply failing to diagnose correctly does not constitute malpractice. It must be proven that during their diagnosing process, the doctor tried everything possible that a reasonable doctor would do. This includes identifying illnesses they should easily be able to, and ordering the correct tests.
- Childbirth Injuries. Injuries that occur during childbirth can happen to the child, mother, or both. In some instances, a cesarean section is not ordered in time because fetal distress was not detected. Similarly, issues during prenatal care can qualify as medical malpractice, such as not providing proper prenatal care or failing to diagnose a birth defect or other medical condition. According to the CDC, an average of 7 in every 1,000 children suffers a birth injury.
- Anesthesia. Although the purpose of anesthesia is to make medical procedures more comfortable and safe, it is unfortunately very dangerous. Some people have adverse reactions to anesthesia, and some people accidentally receive too much or too little. Complications from anesthesia can lead to nerve damage, organ damage, and death.
- Surgical mistakes. Surgery is a complex and risky procedure, so it makes sense that mistakes can occur. Examples of surgical mistakes include puncturing an organ, accidentally leaving something inside the patient’s body, or not following correct pre-op instructions. You would need to establish that the surgeon’s treatment fell below the medical standard of care. A lawsuit was filed recently when five-time Jeopardy winner Brayden Smith died after failing to receive proper care after a routine surgery.
One important factor in medical malpractice cases is time. Medical issues can take time to manifest or to be noticed, and like all cases involving negligence, there is a time limit on making a claim. The statute of limitations differs per state, but ranges from one to five years. Some states have two statutes, one from the day of the injury and one from the day you discovered the injury.
What To Do After Medical Malpractice
If you believe you have experienced medical malpractice, your first step is determining whether it was malpractice or a medical error. An allergic reaction to medication would be an example of a medical error, while a doctor failing to prescribe you the correct medication would be considered malpractice. Next, you should contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases like Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner. Medical practitioners often have a well-funded legal team backing them up, so don’t file a claim without having your own experienced legal team.