Medical malpractice lawsuits are becoming a frequent occurrence in the US. In recent years doctors’ insurance premiums have increased due to the equally increasing number of lawsuits filed annually.
Let us take a closer look at the alarming statistics of medical malpractice cases in the US. According to the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report, medical malpractice causes 98,000 deaths in a year. In 2006, a follow up research indicates that medication errors have caused an estimated 1.5 million injuries annually. It is also interesting to note that out patient settings caused greater number of errors and deaths than hospital settings. However hospital related injuries often lead to more severe cases of injuries.
The problem is far from over. Here is a list of the most common types of medical malpractice:
– It is the responsibility of the doctor to properly identify the patient’s illness. This is actually one of the most crucial stages of treatment because if one is diagnosed incorrectly, it follows that the medication is also incorrect. It is very important that the doctors thoroughly analyze the results of tests and examinations. According to research failure to diagnose breast cancer has comprised 40% of malpractice lawsuits.
– Failure to provide the correct medication and treatment comprise a large percentage of medical malpractice cases. It could be in the form of wrong medicine, incorrect dosage, incorrect prescription, and incorrect medicine combination. Instead of alleviating the patient’s condition, medication errors cause further damage or even wrongful death.
– Childbirth complications endanger both the baby and the mother’s life. Injuries in childbirth can be caused by one or a combination of the following: failure to provide pre-natal care, failure to administer tests that can indicate abnormalities, failure to recognize symptoms of fetal distress, hastening of childbirth which caused injuries for the baby and the mother, and finally failure to provide proper care to premature babies. This negligence may result to cerebral palsy, erb’s palsy, and clavicle fracture.
– Various forms of negligence happen in the operating room due to a lack of pre-operative planning and standard care. Surgical errors such as puncturing internal organs, failure to administer proper dose of anesthesia, operating the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments and performing improper surgical techniques can all cause severe and fatal damages.
– The administration of anesthesia requires a very sensitive and cautious technique. It is important for the anesthesiologist to make sure that the patient does not have any pre-existing conditions that may create complications if anesthesia is injected. Incorrect dosage or use of anesthesia can lead to serious impairments or even death.
There are a lot more specific types of medical malpractice not only in surgery but also in specialized fields of medicine such as dentistry and gynecology. Even pharmacists who provide the wrong medicine other than the prescribed one may be sued for medical negligence especially if it has caused legitimate and severe damages to the patient. Unreasonable delays for treatment and inability to obtain consent for surgeries are also grounds for medical malpractice. If this happens to you or your loved one, immediately contact the help of a reputable medical malpractice lawyer so that the responsible party can be held accountable for their negligence.