Many people feel strange about the idea of suing their doctor following an injury or misdiagnosis. Perhaps there is an existing relationship and this mistake was an anomaly in years of treatment. But, mistakes in the medical field can have severe consequences for patients, which is why doctors are held to a higher standard of care than the average person. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, these kinds of mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States
"Medical malpractice" encompasses several situations that arise in the medical field where a hospital, doctor or other medical professional causes harm to a patient either through negligence or failing to meet their standard of care. Negligence can happen in a variety of situations during diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.
Most common types of medical mistakes
Every patient's case is different. But with so much at stake, we expect doctors to meet a high standard of care in their work. Some of the most common medical malpractice issues include:
- Administering the wrong medication/wrong dosage
- Inappropriate surgery, including unnecessary or mistimed C-sections
"Failure to inform" can also lead to medical malpractice issues. This refers to a doctor's duty to inform their patients of the risks involved in any drug regimen or medical procedure.
In all of these situations a doctor must be held to a high standard of care because a mistake in diagnosis or medication can cause serious injury, or cost someone their life.
A considerable number of medical malpractice claims stem from complications during birth. Timing and care are incredibly important in these situations, and a mistake by a doctor can cause irreparable damage to both mother and baby. Newborns can sustain:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Complications due to lack of oxygen
Lack of oxygen at birth is one of the common causes of cerebral palsy. These cases are especially difficult; considering the possible need for lifelong care, insurance providers and hospitals often vigorously contest birth injury claims. But, a successful case can help pay for medical bills, lost wages and more.
The costs of a medical mistake are often high and the cases difficult to win, especially given the strict statutes of limitations on medical malpractice claims. It is important to seek professional advice as soon as possible if you have experienced an injury due to negligent medical care.