7 Common Examples of Medical Negligence
Medical negligence lawyers: According to one survey, seven in ten Americans trust nurses and doctors with their health and wellbeing. However, cases of medical negligence remain prevalent.
Medical negligence is a breach of duty of care whereby a medical professional’s action or inaction has adverse consequences on a patient’s health, including injury, disability, or death. One statistical report showed that the economic burden arising from medical negligence is $US 19.5 billion.
The consequences of negligence include a medical malpractice suit against individual practitioners or the entire health institution. However, learning the medical negligence types below helps make a solid medical malpractice case.
Childbirth injuries are physical damages to a mother or her child during prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postnatal and neonatal care. Such injuries can adversely affect the mother’s well-being and cause the newborn child to develop neonatal or congenital disabilities.
Cases whereby doctors genuinely have limited options to prevent injuries to either infant or mother exist. However, one statistic reports that 700-900 US women die of childbirth injuries annually, yet most of these injuries are preventable.
Common childbirth injuries to new mothers resulting from medical practitioner negligence include postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture, and fistula. On the other hand, a child with birth injury (neonatal birth trauma) may develop brain damage and breathing problems, leading to dire health conditions like cerebral palsy. Statistics show that seven in every 1000 children born in the US suffer birth injuries.
Proving that neglect caused childbirth injuries is challenging. However, you can approach a medical malpractice attorney with resources like child injury experts to help prove your claim.
Diagnostic errors occur when a doctor fails to diagnose a health condition, diagnose the disease in advanced stages, or gives an incorrect diagnosis. According to one report, diagnostic errors are the most damaging medical error type, causing permanent disabilities and 40000 to 80000 deaths annually.
Such stark statistics lie in the fact that diagnostic errors inhibit timely medical interventions causing the underlying health condition to spiral out of control. Diagnostic errors occur when the doctor’s oversight means they dismiss some symptoms and fail to order tests that could potentially lead to an early diagnosis. The errors also arise when the doctor misinterprets lab results and scan imaging or fails to refer a patient with a possible chronic diagnosis to a specialist.
Surgeries are innately risky procedures, with patients having no guarantee of waking up from the surgical table, even with simple, low-risk procedures like breast biopsies. However, one study on errors contributing to surgical complications established that human factor errors are leading contributors to such complications.
Such human errors include surgical technique errors, judgment errors, inattention to detail, and an incomplete understanding of the situation. The following incidences feature prominently among the reported surgical error incidences.
- Anesthesia errors (too much or too little)
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient or wrong body part
- Leaving surgical paraphernalia inside a patient’s body
- Using non-sterile instruments
- Poor post-surgical recovery monitoring
- Causing damage to nerves, tissues, and organs
Such errors lead to prolonged hospitalization, varying disability levels, and death in adverse cases.
Emergency Room (ER) Errors
As stated above, diagnosis errors are the most prevalent and dangerous medical errors. Most misdiagnosis errors occur in the hospital’s ER.
The ER is a hospital unit specializing in emergency treatments for walk-in treatments like accident victims. ER medical staff are typically busy and may fail to recognize underlying disease symptoms among patients lacking overt health symptoms.
Other ER oversight issues include failing to review patient history, early discharge for patients needing observation, and first responder negligence. Consequently, you can sue for allergies, negative drug interactions, and deaths resulting from ER neglect.
Medication Prescription Errors
Prescription errors can occur in the doctor’s office when the doctor writes the patient prescription medications for a health condition other than the patient’s current diagnosis. On the other hand, it may also occur when the hospital’s pharmacists fulfill the patient’s prescription with the wrong medications.
According to one statistical survey, the FDA receives over 100,000 reports of medication errors annually. Medication prescription errors can cause adverse allergic reactions or possible negative medical interactions resulting from the wrongly prescribed drugs interacting with other medications in the patient’s system.
Most prescription medications occur due to a doctor’s inattentiveness or failure to view a patient’s medical history record.
Informed Consent Errors
US laws declare informed consent is a legal right for US patients and an ethical obligation for medical practitioners. According to the law, the informed consent principle holds that a healthcare provider must provide adequate information on the risks associated with any medical procedure.
The principle allows patients to consciously consent to various medical procedures, except in emergencies whereby the patient cannot give consent. Moreover, coercion for consent is grounds for medical malpractice.
Hospital-acquired infections are infections that patients contract post-admission into a hospital. Such infections indicate an unsanitary hospital environment that qualifies as neglect. Hospital-acquired infections may also demonstrate improper sterilization of medical tools.
Health care is a fundamental human right and having compromised health after entrusting a medical practitioner with your health violates that right. Therefore, consult a medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect you or a loved one are victims of medical neglect.