Medical malpractice is more common than you might think and can cause extensive injuries and even death.
A Johns Hopkins study published in 2016 estimates medical errors account for 9.5% of deaths in the U.S., making it the third largest killer after heart disease and cancer. When someone dies or is injured due to a mistake made by a medical professional, the victim or their family has the right to sue for compensation. Here are some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases and errors that occur each year.
Misdiagnosis of Illness
While it cannot be expected a physician can catch all illnesses, when obvious signs and symptoms are present, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can be medical malpractice if it leads to harm. If a health condition like cancer or heart disease is not diagnosed or treated, it may lead to serious injury and even death. Misdiagnosis can also include misreading test results or giving the wrong results to a patient.
Anesthesia is one of the highest risks of surgery, which most patients are made aware of before they consent to treatment. However, when administered correctly, most patients do not have any complications from anesthesia. When the wrong dose, type, or procedures are used, it can cause serious injury or death. This is another common cause of medical malpractice and can lead to a lawsuit against the anesthesiologist or medical facility.
A drug that can save one person’s life can seriously harm another. Medication errors are one of the most common types of medical malpractice cases. Whether a pharmacy gives a patient the wrong medication in their prescription bottle, or a nurse administers the wrong IV medication in the hospital, it can cause serious harm. Either the patient does not get the medicine they need, or they receive a medication that can be harmful. Many improvements have been made to minimize medication errors, but they still occur, and can be disastrous to the victim.
Poor Response to Childbirth Complications
Thousands of healthy children are born every day, but this does not mean childbirth is without risks for both the mother and the child. If complications occur during delivery, the medical professionals need to react quickly and appropriately to reduce the chance of injury or death. For example, delaying taking the child by cesarean if there is fetal distress can lead to brain damage or death. Childbirth does have risks, but if the medical team made errors that lead to harm to the mother or child, it can be a case for medical malpractice. There are many cases filed every year for childbirth injuries that could have been avoided.
Surgery is risky enough without the fear of a medical mistake, yet they do occur often. When a surgeon is tired, or a hospital has poor communication amongst the medical staff, mistakes can be made that lead to patient injury in surgery. It is estimated by a study performed at Johns Hopkins that up to 4,000 surgical errors happen every year, called “never events” as they should never occur. Some of the types of surgical errors that lead to medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Wrong patient. The surgery scheduled is performed on the wrong patient.
- Incorrect site. Surgery is performed on the wrong body part, such as the left leg versus the right leg.
- Wrong procedure. The patient has the wrong surgery performed due to communication errors.
- Foreign object left inside patient. Surgical tools left inside the patient, such as sponges.
These errors may be rare, but they can cause extensive harm to the patient. There are protocols in place at every hospital to prevent these “never events,” yet they still happen and are the grounds for medical malpractices cases all over the country.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Louisiana
If you or a family member believe you have been a victim of a medical error that has caused you harm, you may have reason to pursue a medical malpractice case. Our team at Nelson & Hammons has been representing clients in Louisiana for over 30 years for medical malpractice cases, giving them a chance to receive compensation for their injuries. If you want to discuss your possible case, contact our office in Lafayette or Shreveport to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team. We can help you decide whether you have a medical malpractice case and go over your options to pursue compensation for your injuries.