Most people are under the impression that medical mistakes rarely occur, or that they are usually fairly harmless. In reality medical mistakes are common. and they are considered medical malpractice. In fact, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in America. Victims of medical malpractice have the right to sue for injuries caused by these errors. Some medical mistakes are more common than others. Read on for the top three most common kinds of medical mistakes, and how to take legal action.
- Diagnostic errors. A diagnostic error is an error that occurs when a doctor diagnoses the wrong ailment, or fails to diagnose an ailment. A diagnostic error can be extremely harmful in a few different ways. First of all, you could go a long period of time with no diagnosis, which can have serious consequences if you have an illness which gets worse with time. On the other hand, if you are misdiagnosed you could receive treatment for an illness you don’t even have. It is important to note that every misdiagnosis is not necessarily an example of medical malpractice, since doctors are not expected to be infallible. However, if a doctor fails to act as a reasonable, prudent doctor would have acted in similar circumstances, then they may be guilty of medical malpractice. An example of poor conduct could be if the doctor does not consider the patients true diagnosis, or rules out the true diagnosis without proper testing.
- Medication errors. Medication errors can be very serious. Correct prescriptions can be dangerous already, but if a patient is prescribed the wrong medication the medicine can react dangerously with other medications in the patient’s system. In some situations, an incorrect medication prescription can result in death. A pharmacist can also make a mistake in filling out a prescription, which could result in injury or dangerous side effects much like a doctor can prescribe the wrong medication. Elderly adults are especially at risk for injury caused by medication errors; in fact, over 100,000 emergency room hospitalizations of adults over age 65 are caused by adverse drug effects. Doctors are obligated to have appropriate knowledge of drugs and drug complications, so failure to have proper knowledge can be considered medical malpractice.
Surgical errors. Surgical errors, called wrong-site or wrong-patients surgical errors, occur when a surgeon performs surgery on the wrong patient or performs surgery on the wrong part of a patient’s body. Most of the things that can go wrong when a patient is on the surgery table are preventable, but unfortunately they do happen and can have serious consequences. Surgical mistakes can also take the form of leaving a foreign object such as a surgical tool inside a patient’s body, infections after surgery caused by poor hygiene, and the patient suffering falls while they are unconscious. Surgical errors, as well as other medical mistakes, can have serious medical consequences, as well as serious mental consequences for the patients. If you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced attorney right away.