Types of Medical Malpractice
Patients trust their doctors to provide them with the best medical care possible. While no results can be guaranteed, there is a duty on the part of the doctor to provide the prevailing professional standard of care. However, what happens if the doctor fails to provide that care, provides inappropriate care, or fails to diagnose or treat a condition that results in harm to the patient? This may be medical malpractice, and sadly, it happens more often than people realize.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has received inadequate or negligent medical care, the best time to act is right now. Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah for a free case review, and we’ll help you fight for the justice you deserve.
What Are The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
All forms of medical malpractice can be traumatic to the patients who are impacted, but it’s also important to understand the different types you could encounter. To proceed with a case, one of the first steps will be to determine exactly what happened and how to categorize the incident. The most common types of medical malpractice include:
Hospitals should be a place where those suffering from injury or illness can receive necessary and vital care. For some patients, unfortunately, hospitals can become the site of further harm. When hospitals cause injury or illness as a result of their negligent or inappropriate care, we call that “hospital malpractice.” This term covers any improper action by a hospital staff member, including doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, and admitting staff.
Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are similar in a lot of ways, but there is an important distinction between the two. Nursing home abuse describes incidents where the staff intentionally acted to harm a resident or knew their actions had the potential to cause harm. Nursing home neglect covers incidents where a nursing home resident does not receive an adequate and reasonable standard of care.
Dental malpractice cases are closely related to medical malpractice cases, except the former focuses exclusively on incidents related to dental work. When a dentist offers substandard care that leads to injuries or other health issues, they may be liable for the harm they caused.
Cerebral palsy is a brain injury that can occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Sometimes, it can be caused due to medical negligence. For example, if a doctor does not respond appropriately to the presence of jaundice, high blood pressure, or toxemia in a mother, then her child may be born with cerebral palsy.
Birth injury is a form of medical malpractice that involves negligent harm caused to a fetus or newborn during pre- or post-natal testing or the labor process. Doctors and medical staff are trained to react to a number of potential emergencies or sub-optimal birthing conditions, and failure to respond appropriately during these situations can rise to the level of malpractice.
What Types of Actions Can Constitute Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can occur when:
- A medical professional improperly treats or fails to treat a patient
- A medical professional fails to properly diagnose a condition
- A medical professional fails to properly follow up with a patient
- A medical professional prescribes incorrect or inappropriate medications
Negligence such as the types identified above can occur in office visits, emergency room care, surgery, pre- or post-operative treatment, therapeutic treatment, and others.
This negligence can be represented by many different types of actions (or inaction), but it’s also important to understand that simply making a mistake does not automatically make a medical professional liable for malpractice. A qualified malpractice case must establish that a specific standard of care was breached. Actions that would fall under that umbrella include:
Improper Administration of Anesthesia
If you undergo any surgery, there’s a very good chance you will be given anesthesia. Anesthesia is a chemical substance that is used to render patients unconscious during surgery. The incorrect administration of anesthesia can lead to a variety of nightmarish scenarios. For example, you could be semi-paralyzed by the anesthetic agent, where you still feel the surgical incisions but are unable to speak or move. In this case, the surgical staff are expected to ensure that you are fully unconscious during a surgical procedure, so they have breached a standard of care.
Hospital Management Failing to Provide a Patient-Friendly Environment
From maintaining a clean environment to thoroughly evaluating prospective employees, hospitals have a duty to keep their admitted patients safe. If an inadequate vetting process leads a hospital to hire an under-qualified surgeon, doctor, nurse, or other staffer, then they may be liable for any harm caused by that staffer. That includes the improper administration of medications, unreasonably inaccurate diagnoses, and many other actions.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
When you visit a doctor, there is an expectation that you will receive a comprehensive, accurate, and timely diagnosis of your medical issues. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, medical professionals may miss important symptoms or misinterpret critical test results. This can mean that your serious condition goes untreated, or you receive treatment for the wrong condition.
Cancers of the lung, breast, and ovaries are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses. To pursue a qualified case, patients must prove that another medical professional in a similar practice would have likely made the correct initial diagnosis. Patients must also demonstrate that their condition has worsened as a result of the incorrect or delayed diagnosis.
Emergency Room Malpractice
As the name suggests, emergency rooms are fast-paced, high-stress environments for both medical professionals and patients. In times of crisis, these vulnerable patients are especially reliant on healthcare workers to provide well-informed, skillful, and timely care.
Meanwhile, emergency room employees face a lot of pressure to keep patients moving through their department as quickly as possible. Given these intense and risky circumstances, patients are at greater risk of suffering from medical malpractice. This can take the form of diagnostic or medication-related errors, failures to order the correct tests or identify crucial symptoms, and a host of other errors.
Surgeons are the most likely among healthcare employees to face a charge of medical malpractice. The potential for lifelong damage is often higher with surgical errors, which can include performing the wrong procedure(s), operating on the wrong area(s) of the body, or improperly administering anesthesia.
While surgeons carry out many complex procedures, we expect their extensive education and training to guide them toward making the correct decisions and calculations. But all-too-often, we see critical errors involving poorly sanitized or defective equipment, organ punctures, failure to provide necessary patient education, and a host of other issues that can lead to malpractice claims.
Medical Device Errors
Many patients, especially the elderly and those with chronic illness, rely on medical devices to help identify, treat, and manage their health issues. This reliance can be temporary in some cases, while other situations require long-term or ongoing use of a medical device.
Unfortunately, these devices can be subject to manufacturing errors, design errors, or sometimes include inadequate warnings. These errors can be life threatening or lead to a long-term diminishment of your quality of life. It’s also important to note that sometimes the product manufacturer may be the liable party – not your doctor.
Failure to Treat
Sometimes, doctors may be unaware of or forget to tell you about a treatment that could help you. In certain cases, this failure to treat can cause your medical condition to get worse, and it could be grounds for a medical malpractice case.
The Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Farah & Farah are on Your Side
If you or a loved one was harmed due to medical malpractice, there are very specific time limitations to bring an action, and a limited opportunity to seek out all the relevant evidence to support a claim. Don’t delay in holding the necessary parties accountable. If you or someone you care about was caused harm in the course of their medical treatment, contact Farah & Farah to discuss your legal rights in a free case review.