Millions of people receive a high level of medical care when they turn to doctors, nurses, therapists, and medical facilities for diagnose and treatment. For others, there may be small mistakes that are made, which have little or no impact on the lives of those who were subjected to the error, such as when an adult is provided with a child’s dose of a medication. However, when the medical mistake is monumental and/or the resulting impact is severe, a patient and his or her family may have to live with the devastating consequences for many years, if not forever.
Medical errors can happen in many different ways. At its heart, medical malpractice involves a preventable mistake that results in a person receiving improper care or treatment. The mistake can be committed by a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, therapist, or other medical professional. A hospital or other medical facility also may be liable for malpractice if it does not maintain the space in a sterile manner, does not have proper hiring and training practices in place, fails to provide the proper upkeep for equipment, or performs other acts or omissions that do not meet the reasonable standards established by other comparable facilities.
Although there are some errors that are more commonly discussed as part of an analysis of medical malpractice cases, there are numerous different types of errors that can occur. Some of the most common include:
- A failure to diagnose a medical condition or a delay in the diagnosis – This is one of the most common types of malpractice, where the doctor fails to determine that a patient has a particular medical condition so that he or she can receive the proper treatment. Even a delay can lead to an exacerbation of an illness or other condition so that the person suffers harm that he or she would not have if the diagnosis would have been made in a timely manner;
- A failure to administer proper care in an emergency situation – One of the most critical tasks for a medical professional is to recognize that there is a serious problem in a patient and respond to that issue in a competent and reasonable manner;
- A failure to provide proper care to a woman and baby during pregnancy and childbirth – When a medical professional does not provide the proper care during this critical period, it can lead to a lifetime of suffering for the child. Some of the more common types of malpractice surrounding pregnancy, delivery, and post-natal care include the following:
- Failure to diagnose an infection or other medical condition in the mother;
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition in the fetus;
- Failure to respond to an emergency during the delivery process, including ordering a Cesarean in a timely manner;
- Failure to use forceps, vacuum extractors, or other delivery tools in a proper manner; and
- Other acts or omissions that lead to harm to the mother and/or baby.
- A failure to obtain informed consent – While a doctor or other medical professional does not have to list every potential risk and discuss any available alternatives, it is necessary to inform the patients about risks and options that a reasonable medical professional with similar education and training would disclose to his or her patient;
- A failure to prescribe, administer, or fill a prescription with the correct medication – There are many different ways in which this could lead to serious harm, including situations where a patient does not receive the medication to treat a serious medical condition, takes the wrong medication that has serious side-effects, or takes too much or too little because the medication was prescribed or filled in the wrong dose. One other issue that occurs is when medication is administered through calibrated equipment that delivers the wrong dose. This mistake may be the result of human error in programming the machine or facility malpractice in failing to maintain the equipment properly;
- Wrong-site surgery – This occurs when a doctor or other medical professional performs a procedure on the wrong limb or organ, performs the wrong procedure on the patient, or operates on the wrong patient;
- Other surgical errors – There are many serious problems that can occur if a doctor or other medical professional makes a mistake during surgery. This includes failing to accomplish the goals of the surgery, damaging other organs during surgery, or leaving surgical instruments in the patient after the surgery;
- A failure involving anesthesia – The skill of the anesthesiologist is critical to a safe procedure and mistakes can be devastating. This could involve a failure to investigate patient sensitivities, administering the wrong dose of anesthesia, failing to monitor the patient’s condition during the administration of anesthesia, or using machines that are defective or have not been maintained properly; and
- Other errors or mistakes that lead to severe harm.
Stern Law, PLLC Fights for the Rights and Interests of Those Harmed by Medical Malpractice
While most people receive the anticipated care when relying on the skills of medical professionals, when the level of care does not rise to the level that a reasonably competent professional would have rendered, it is critical to get the right legal help. At Stern Law, PLLC, we have the experience and skill to advocate for those who suffer as the result of a medical mistake. For more than 30 years, we have fought on behalf of our clients. In addition to skilled representation of our clients, we also strive to act as a resource to everyone who may have been impacted by medical malpractice. We have staff available to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone who has a question or concern. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.