Even with today’s advanced technology, negligence and medical malpractice situations occur. Sometimes it’s because a hospital is overfull, and staff are overworked, and sometimes it’s because someone just wasn’t paying full attention. While most doctors and nurses do their best providing care for their patients, deadly or life altering mistakes can happen, which is why we have medical malpractice claims. Here is a list of the 5 most common medical malpractice claims, and what they mean:
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
These are common claims due to the fact that some diseases are difficult to identify, as well as the fact that some ailments hide behind others. The most prevalent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis claims are in regards to cancer in adults, and meningitis for children. Additionally, situations where someone comes into a hospital, and then is discharged, only to have recurrent and even fatal symptoms, like a heart attack or a stroke, are common malpractice claims.
Childbirth injuries are another very common medical malpractice claim, as quite a few fetal injuries can be caused by medical malpractice or negligence, including nerve damage, brain injuries, and fractured bones. However, many of these injuries can be caused by circumstances outside medical malpractice. Childbirth medical malpractice claims fall into two main categories, based on when the negligence occurred:
Malpractice or negligence during prenatal care – This is any negligence that happens during the time when the mother is pregnant, and before the baby is born. Generally they regard the physician or obstetrician’s failure to recognize the following conditions:
- Birth defects
- Disease that could be contagious to child
- An ectopic pregnancy
- Medical condition of the mother that could affect pregnancy or delivery
Malpractice or negligence during childbirth – These claims generally result from a mistake or oversight made during the birth of the child. Most common occurrences include the doctor or obstetrician’s failure to respond to, anticipate, or identify the following:
- Birth complications due to large size of baby
- Birth complications due to tangled umbilical cord
- Signs of fetal distress
- Order cesarian section when it was necessary or appropriate
- Incompetent use of forceps or vacuum extractor
These are just a few of the most common causes of medical malpractice claims. In general, a claim can be made if the negligence of a doctor or obstetrician had a direct negative effect on the health of mother, child, or both.
One of the most common medical malpractice claims, mistakes made in prescribing or administering prescription drugs is a major problem. While most errors occur in patients over the age of 60, it happens to those in other age groups as well.
Generally, these mistakes are made when a doctor or nurse fails to properly review the patient’s medical history, and prescribes a drug that works detrimentally against another prescription the patient is taking, or mistakenly prescribes the wrong drug. Additionally, dosage errors are equally as common. Sometimes, in the line of communication from doctor to pharmacy, numbers or decimal points can be transposed, causing the dose to be either way too high, or way too low, a dangerous situation that can result in a medical malpractice claim.
Unfortunately, surgery errors are another all-too-common medical malpractice claim. While the majority are non-life threatening issues, like accidental nerve damage, and leaving a foreign object, like a medical sponge, inside the body, there are other, much more serious problems. Sometimes claims are made against surgeons for an inability to control bleeding, and there are situations where surgeons have operated on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient. Generally, these types of errors are due to poor or missed communications. While these claims are less common than childbirth negligence and medication error, they are still a concern.
These types of errors can be scary, and at times even fatal, which is why there is a high number of malpractice cases against them. Mistakes in anesthesia have to do with an anesthesiologist, even though they generally happen during surgery. In most cases, an anesthesiologist may fail to read the patient’s medical history thoroughly, and prescribe the wrong anesthesia, which the patient could be allergic to. Additionally, they could administer too much, or too little anesthesia, fail to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or improperly intubate the patient. There have also been medical malpractice claims against anesthesiologists who have not warned the patients of the risks involved if they did not properly follow preoperative instructions, or if the anesthesiologist uses defective equipment.
If your family has been hurt by medical malpractice, you deserve answers. Give the expert medical malpractice attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm a call at 773-522-7000 or schedule a free case evaluation online today.