UNITED STATES—No matter how great the doctor you work with is, everyone makes mistakes. Sadly, when it’s the doctor making a mistake, it can significantly impact your quality of life. If this happens, It may leave the doctor open to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Mistakes such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or improper amounts of anesthesia may lead to malpractice claims. It would be best if you talked to someone who is experienced in handling these types of cases, so you are aware of your rights. Below, you will find some common mistakes hospitals may make that lead to medical malpractice lawsuits.
Misdiagnosis or Missed Diagnosis (Delayed Diagnosis)
Often, you’ll hear the terms missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis used interchangeably. They may sound similar, but they aren’t. Misdiagnosis is when the healthcare professional diagnoses you with a condition you don’t have, which can result in you getting the incorrect treatment. A missed or delayed diagnosis is a delay in diagnosing a patient due to various reasons like a doctor not recognizing certain symptoms a patient may have or from being too busy..
Medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes affecting almost 1.5 million people in the United States. There are a few ways that this type of error can occur. You could have been misdiagnosed, prescribed the wrong medicine, or prescribed the incorrect dosage amount. All it takes is one person making a mistake, and you can end up with an error.
There are so many different errors that can occur before, during, or even after major or minor surgery. Even with all of our technological advances, it still doesn’t completely eliminate human error. Below are some of the most common surgical errors.
- Operating on the wrong person. This can happen if the patient wasn’t asked to confirm their identity during the intake or if pre-surgical staff lost or misplaced their information. Medical staff should always ask for confirmation of a patient’s name and date of birth before any type of procedure.
- Instruments can be left in the body. Things such as surgical tools, sponges, towels, or gloves have been left inside the body. Typically doctors count and recount to make sure that all tools and supplies are accounted for before suturing the patient.
- Unintentional negligence causing organ damage. This occurs if a physician or one of the nurses makes a small cut or puncture to an organ, vessel, or something similar that may cause damage. Even though every precaution is taken, accidents do happen.
Too Much or Too Little Anesthesia
The risks of general anesthesia are scary to think about. Not giving a patient enough anesthesia can cause them to feel pain and possibly even wake up. If the individual is given too much, then brain injury could occur. Other errors can occur, too, such as failing to talk to the patient about the possible risks, not monitoring the patient’s vital signs, or not intubating patients correctly.
Informed Consent Mistakes
Informed consent is when the healthcare provider gives you all of the information about your condition, your treatment options, the name of the procedure, and any risks associated with your procedure. If this is not explained correctly or the patient doesn’t understand the risks, then they may be able to bring suit against the physician.
When you go to the hospital, you expect it to be clean of pathogens and germs. Hospitals are full of different types of germs, viruses, and even antibiotic-resistant infections. If proper cleaning procedures aren’t followed or practitioners don’t wear appropriate PPE equipment, infections can occur.
These are just a few different ways medical malpractice can occur. Make sure your physician or their staff talk to you about the medication you’re taking, both over-the-counter and prescribed. That way, if the unthinkable does happen, you know your rights.