In general, the definition of medical malpractice involves a medical professional, like a doctor, acting negligently by violating an established standard of care that they had with their patient. For something to qualify as an act of medical malpractice, the negligence must have resulted in an injury to the patient. With this in mind, here are some of the most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Errors in Diagnosis
A diagnosis is one of the most important steps in a patient’s treatment. When a doctor makes a mistake at this stage, then it can be the catalyst for several other mistakes that could ultimately harm the patient. Misdiagnosis, which is giving a patient an incorrect diagnosis, or missed diagnosis, the failure to recognize symptoms that point to a particular condition, can lead to a failure to treat the patient or delayed treatment. When it comes to diagnostic errors for conditions like heart attacks, stroke, and cancer, wasted time could be a matter of life or death.
Lastly, one of the most devastating areas of medical malpractice is birth injuries. Delivering a baby is a high-risk situation where the infant and the mother’s lives are on the line. If a doctor does not use the utmost care when removing the baby or administering medication, then there are a variety of injuries that could occur. From brain damage to fetal lacerations, a newborn baby who suffers a birth injury could be left with a lifelong disability, like paralysis or cerebral palsy.
Another place where medical malpractice is common is surgical errors. Because there is so little margin for error when it comes to surgical procedures, the smallest mistake can often lead to major consequences. However, there is a difference between a mistake from a doctor who did their due diligence and met the standard of care versus a careless doctor. Failing to follow sanitation protocol, or operating on a patient while tired or impaired are examples of negligent behavior that creates grounds for a lawsuit.
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