Medical malpractice refers to a situation in which a medical care provider acts negligently or otherwise deviates from acceptable standards of practice, and those actions cause injury or death to a patient.
A study published in the British Medical Journal in May 2016 revealed that medical errors in health care facilities may now be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. These instances claim the lives of 251,000 patients in the U.S. every year, equating to nearly 700 deaths each day.
Below are a few common types of medical malpractice:
Physicians are expected to provide patients with accurate and timely diagnoses in order to ensure they have the best chance of successful treatment and a good outcome. Unfortunately, a study published in the British Medical Journal has estimated that one adult patient in 20 who visits outpatient settings is misdiagnosed every year in the U.S. That number equates to about 12 million American adults who suffer the consequences of a delayed, missed or wrong diagnosis.
Life-threatening consequences may result from the misdiagnosis of cancer, meningitis, pneumonia, cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and blood clot conditions, and more. These and other deadly medical conditions cannot go untreated for long without causing irreversible bodily harm.
A surgical error can leave a helpless, unconscious patient with severe and sometimes deadly injuries. Dangerous surgical mistakes may include:
- Organ, tissue and/or nerve damage
- Intraoperative bleeding
- Unsanitary surgical instruments
- Procedure performed on the wrong surgical site
- Wrong patient underwent surgery
- Surgical device left behind
Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates as many as 650 surgical fires occur each year in the United States. Ignition sources like lasers, defibrillators, drills and electrosurgical units can kill or severely burn patients while they are undergoing a medical procedure.
More than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur in surgery every year, according to a study published in the journal Surgery.
Permanent harm can result from medical negligence that occurs at any time during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Threatening complications that may arise include:
- Anoxia, or lack of oxygen at birth
- Fetal distress
- Hypoxia, or reduced oxygen supply
- Macrosomia (abnormally large baby)
- Placental abruption
- Shoulder dystocia
- Umbilical cord problems
- Undiagnosed and untreated infection in the mother
When these and other complications occur, physicians must act quickly to protect the well-being of the infant. Failure to do so may lead to birth trauma and permanent health problems that reduce a child’s quality of life. In addition to the harm caused to a newborn baby, the mother can also be harmed.
Medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes in the U.S. – and with more than 80 percent of American adults taking at least one medication, the threat is significant. Even a small error can have life-threatening consequences.
A medication error is "... any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer," according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. There are a variety of reasons medication errors occur, including:
- Miscommunication of drug orders
- Poor handwriting on prescriptions
- Confusion of similarly named drugs
- Poor packaging design
- Confusion of dosing units
A report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has estimated that these errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year.
Contact Anapol Weiss for Assistance
Anapol Weiss holds health care professionals and institutions responsible for their negligence, because no one should have to endure the physical and emotional pain resulting from a medical mistake. Obtaining justice and compensation is just the beginning. Our clients also help prevent a similar situation from happening again to someone else.
Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a family member was hurt by a medical mistake. It could be the first step toward protecting your legal rights and getting answers.