Four Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

February 23, 2021

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor harms a patient by failing to perform their medical duties properly. Medical malpractice claims must be proven and have basic requirements. There must have been a doctor-patient relationship, meaning the doctor was hired and agreed to be hired. The doctor had to be negligent in the diagnosis or treatment of the patient. The doctor’s negligence has to be the cause of injury. The patient has to show where the injuries, more likely than not, were directly caused by a doctor or medical professional’s negligence.

Although most people who seek medical care receive the appropriate treatment and experience no complications, medical malpractice continues to be a significant public health issue. The most common medical malpractice types are errors in diagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, and pregnancy or childbirth errors.

Errors in Diagnosis

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis for a patient isn’t always an easy task. Many medical conditions can have symptoms that overlap or that aren’t always present in every patient. Poorly trained doctors or providers who don’t order the appropriate diagnostic tests can cause harm to patients by providing an incorrect diagnosis. The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:

  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Blood clot
  • Tumors or masses inside the body

Diagnosis errors are usually caught later, often when the patient doesn’t respond to the prescribed treatment or seeks a second option. The length of delay in obtaining a correct diagnosis plays a crucial role in determining the patient’s eligibility for compensation since longer delays are more likely to limit a patient’s options for treatment.

Medication Errors

Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever before, so it’s not surprising that medication errors are a common form of medical malpractice. Examples of this type of error include:

  • Giving a patient the wrong medication
  • Failing to dispense the appropriate medication at the correct time
  • Giving an incorrect dosage
  • Failing to notice a harmful drug interaction

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors that may constitute the basis of a malpractice claim include:

  • Performing the wrong operation
  • Performing an unneeded operation
  • Failing to obtain informed consent before the procedure
  • Damaging a nerve during surgery
  • Failing to control bleeding
  • Leaving medical sponges or surgical instruments inside the patient
  • Giving the patient an incorrect dose of anesthesia
  • Failing to move the patient periodically during surgery to avoid putting too much pressure on certain parts of the body
  • Giving the patient an infection by failing to follow proper sanitation procedures
  • Knowingly using defective equipment

Surgical errors can occur even during routine procedures. However, spinal surgery and gastrointestinal surgery are associated with the highest numbers of surgical mistakes.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Errors

Although modern medicine has made pregnancy and childbirth reasonably safe, many complications can occur during this time. When a doctor isn’t mindful of potential complications, both the mother and her child can suffer harm. Examples of pregnancy and childbirth-related malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis of placental abnormalities
  • Failure to monitor or recognize the signs of gestational diabetes
  • Failure to stop an excessively long labor
  • Surgical errors during a C-section delivery
  • Nerve injuries to the baby during delivery

Next to general surgeons, OB/GYN physicians have the highest number of malpractice claims per year.

Because malpractice law is so complex, retaining legal representation is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected. Your attorney can line up the necessary documentation about your injury, locate relevant expert testimony, and negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. In many cases, a medical malpractice attorney will be able to settle the case without a court trial’s time and expense.

The experienced attorneys at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law are committed to helping Berkeley County residents who have been the victims of medical negligence receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.


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