Top 5 Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice lawyers handle all kinds of cases in which a medical practitioner or facility caused harm to one of their patients. Medical science continues to advance. As such, patients put their trust in healthcare professionals hoping they can diagnose, treat, and care for them with the utmost diligence.
Most healthcare providers meet or exceed these expectations. However, there are instances where things go wrong. The consequences can be life-altering.
When a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care, causing harm, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Medical malpractice lawyers can help.
In this blog, we explore the 5 most common medical malpractice claims. If any of these situations has happened to you, consult with an attorney right away.
1 – Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are common forms of medical malpractice.
A 2022 study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality discovered that more than 7 million incorrect diagnoses are made in U.S. emergency rooms alone each year.
Misdiagnosis happens when a healthcare provider inaccurately identifies a patient’s medical condition. They can diagnose them with a different ailment than they have, or may fail to identify the medical condition, leading to inappropriate treatment and unnecessary procedures that can cause harm or make the condition worse.
A delayed diagnosis happens when a healthcare provider eventually makes the correct diagnosis but does so later than they reasonably should have connected the dots to properly identify a condition. Making a patient wait too long for appropriate treatment can worsen a condition or, in some cases, cause death.
Factors in misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis
Several factors contribute to a medical professional misdiagnosing a condition or delivering a delayed diagnosis. Among the most common include:
- Errors interpreting diagnostic tests.
- Failure to order the appropriate tests.
- Inadequate patient medical history.
- Overlooking or dismissing symptoms.
Medical malpractice lawyers must prove the healthcare practitioner deviated from the standard of care to win a medical malpractice suit.
2 – Surgical Errors
Surgical errors are another common reason for medical malpractice claims in New Mexico and across the U.S. Proving your surgeon made a grave error in judgment during a procedure is challenging at times. It requires a strong cause built by your attorney through a thorough investigation.
To establish surgical malpractice, your medical malpractice lawyer may rely on the following types of evidence to support your case.
- Standard of care. The first step in providing a surgical error is to establish the standard of care that should have been provided in your specific situation. Demonstrating what a competent surgeon with similar training and experience would have done often requires an opinion from experts with the same skillset.
- Deviation from standard of care. Next, you must show how the surgeon deviated from the standard of care. It’s not enough to uncover the deviation. You must demonstrate it occurred because of negligence or carelessness.
- Causation. Finding a direct link between the surgical error and your injuries or harm is the next step. An expert’s evaluation may again be necessary for this step.
- Documentation of injury or harm. Your attorney must gather and present comprehensive documentation and evidence that proves your injury or other harm was from the surgeon’s actions (or inactions).
Once all pieces of your case are in place, your attorney can file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf.
3 – Medication Errors
More than 100,000 reports of medication errors flood the offices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration each year. These errors cause the deaths of between 7,000 and 9,000 people.
The steps for proving medication errors are like those of establishing a surgical error caused your injuries or other harm.
First and foremost, your attorney must establish that a duty of care existed between you and the healthcare provider who made the medication error. Whether it’s a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist, there must be a direct correlation between their involvement and the wrong medication being prescribed or dispensed.
Next comes establishing a standard of care and the deviation from that norm. An expert from a similar medical field is usually required for this stage of the process.
Finally, your attorney must prove causation between the medication error and your injuries.
4 – Birth Injuries
Newborns are among the youngest clients of medical malpractice attorneys. Labor and delivery mistakes are unfortunately common in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the injury rate per 1,000 births is 33. Among the most common types of birth injury is brain damage from a lack of oxygen during delivery.
Proving a birth injury is complex and requires a thorough investigation that includes reliance on experts with extensive experience in the birthing process, including prenatal, delivery, and post-natal care of both mothers and their babies.
Medical malpractice lawyers proceed with the utmost care when newborns are involved. They may try to settle the case outside of court with the healthcare provider’s insurance company. If negotiations are unsuccessful, then a medical malpractice trial is the next step.
5 – Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Obtaining informed consent from patients before performing invasive medical procedures is a legal obligation of healthcare providers and facilities. When you’re not properly educated about the risks, benefits, and alternatives associated with a medical procedure or treatment, the medical provider has violated your rights.
Informed consent acknowledges your autonomy and the right to make educated decisions about your healthcare options.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work.
A medical practitioner explains the treatment or procedure in layman’s terms, so you understand what happens if you agree to go through with it. They also must outline any side effects and alternative treatments (often less invasive) and provide expected outcomes for both.
After you’ve received the information and had the opportunity to ask questions, your physician or the healthcare facility may ask you to sign forms indicating you were informed about your choice before you made it.
Physicians who skip this step can find themselves facing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice lawyers you can trust
Choosing medical malpractice lawyers to represent you is an important decision that can affect the outcome of your case. Work with attorneys with a proven history of success for their medical malpractice clients.
Ready to schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your case? Give us call today to get started.