What is Medical Malpractice? 

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, doctor, or hospital, causes injury or death to a patient through a negligent act or omission. Medical malpractice cases are life threatening and more common than you may think. Knapp & Roberts, a medical malpractice law firm, writes on their website that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Knowing the most common forms of medical malpractice can hopefully help you identify when you or a loved one have been a victim. 

Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases? 

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

This type of medical malpractice case is most commonly seen with heart attacks and cancer. In the example of cancer, some types of cancers may share symptoms with much less severe conditions. For example, colon cancer has many digestive symptoms, and some doctors may continue to write off your pain as IBS or another digestive ailment. All the while, the cancer worsens and the likelihood of a favorable outcome with chemo is lessened as time goes on. The main difference between misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis is that misdiagnosis involves a doctor diagnosing a patient with a disease they do not have, whereas  delayed diagnosis involves a doctor failing to realize that the symptoms indicate any disease or illness. Both types of medical malpractice can have equally fatal and tragic results. 

Failure to treat.

This type of case is particularly tragic because the healthcare professional correctly diagnoses the issue but then fails to treat the patient correctly. This can include: lack of follow up care after a surgery, discharging a patient too soon, or other ways that lead to the medical condition worsening. 

Prescription drug errors

Doctors or nurses can incorrectly administer prescription drugs. These mistakes can lead to severe health consequences, and even death. The victim of this type of medical malpractice can be given the wrong dose of the correct medication, or the entirely incorrect medication. 

Surgical or procedural errors

Surgical or procedural errors could be due to mistakes during surgery like leaving surgical devices in a patient, operating on the wrong side of the patient (for example performing a knee replacement on the wrong knee), or operating on the entirely wrong person. Surgical and procedural errors can have detrimental consequences ranging from needless pain and suffering to death. 

Childbirth injuries

A vast amount of medical malpractice cases are filed for childbirth injuries such as nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, or cerebral palsy, which can be caused by medical errors. Such types of cases are usually filed against OBGYNs for medical mistakes made during the birth of a child. 

What To Do After Medical Malpractice Occurs 

If you believe that you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, you are likely experiencing a lot of pain and confusion. Reaching out to an attorney can be one way to begin the lawsuit process. Additionally, getting a second doctor’s opinion can help hopefully prevent the injury or disease from advancing any further.  

Unfortunately, if the victim of medical malpractice has passed away due to the injuries sustained, a wrongful death attorney like the team Washington Injury Law, can help your family file the claim in their stead.