Every year, approximately 225,000 people in the United States die from medical malpractice. Countless patients are also seriously injured from medical negligence as well. Many cases are never even reported or legally pursued by the patients; therefore making medical malpractice injuries a difficult statistic to accurately monitor.
Medical negligence is the act or omission of treatment for a patient by a medical professional, which deviates from the accepted medical standard of care. Medical malpractice involves negligence in which a medical professional or medical facility did not take the proper action required in a reasonable amount of time and this negligence caused injuries to the patient. When physicians are granted their medical license, they take the Hippocratic Oath which is their solemn promise to treat their patients to the best of their ability and to avoid causing them harm. When medical professionals violate this oath and cause harm to their patients, they are considered negligent in legal terms.
Medical misdiagnosis: A common form of medical negligence involves the misdiagnosis of symptoms or the failure to properly diagnose a medical problem. A patient depends on the medical professionals to accurately diagnose and treat the medical problem. If the doctor misdiagnoses the problem, the patient may be prescribed the wrong drugs, the wrong treatment, or treatment that makes the patient’s condition far worse, including permanent injuries or even death.
An example of a misdiagnosis would be a patient whose cancer is misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late. While some cancers will not necessarily benefit from early detection and treatment, such as some types of pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, and small cell cancers, other types will benefit greatly, including saving the patient’s life. Examples of cancer types that benefit from early treatment include lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and non-small cell cancers. If the cancer had been diagnosed, or an earlier diagnosis could have prevented serious injuries or death to the patient, then the patient or the patient’s family may have a medical malpractice case.
Surgical mistakes: Surgical mistakes are common with medical malpractice cases. Because surgery is so complex and often extreme precision is required, if a surgeon accidentally cuts a vital organ, foreign fluids can enter and cause serious infections, sepsis, or septic shock which can cause a patient’s death. Other surgical mistakes include removing the wrong appendage or operating on the wrong side of the body.
Anesthesia mistakes: The administration of anesthesia poses an elevated risk during any surgical procedure. This is why anesthesiologists practice a focused medicine. Anesthesia mistakes can result in serious brain injuries or organ failures. Anesthesia mistakes can also cause death from heart failure or asphyxia. Anesthesia errors often result outside the hospital setting in doctor’s offices for routine elective surgeries including breast augmentation, liposuction, lap band, and gastric bypass. Anesthesia mistakes also occur even after a successful operation, where the patient suffers injuries on the surgical floor or post anesthesia recovery room and ends up with permanent and catastrophic brain injuries or dies.
Medication errors: A medication error can happen if the nurse or doctor prescribes the wrong medication, the incorrect dosage of a medication, or does not properly screen the patient for allergies they may have to certain medications, or screen for other medications they may be taking that could have an adverse reaction with the prescribed medicine. A frequent event that happens with medication mistakes involves a nurse or doctor giving medication to a patient at the end of their shift but not properly communicating this to the nurses or doctors on the next shift. The next shift’s nurses or doctors then end up prescribing another dosage to the patient, sometimes causing an overdose.
If you or a family member was seriously injured or died as the result of medical malpractice or medical negligence, you should contact the best medical malpractice lawyer possible. Call the Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel & Associates at (800) 541-9376 for a free consultation. Dr. Bruce Fagel is a leading medical malpractice lawyer and a licensed physician. Dr. Fagel practiced emergency room medicine for over 10 years before becoming a medical malpractice attorney.