Common Medical Malpractice Cases That You Should Know

By November 21, 2022

doctor with a stethoscope and hands on handcuffsMalpractice is a term you hear bandied about a lot. But what are medical malpractice cases, and how do they apply to doctors?

Suppose one is to go by the dictionary definition. In that case, medical malpractice is the failure of a professional person to render proper services through reprehensible ignorance or negligence, especially when injury or loss follows.

Doctors are not the only ones who can be guilty of medical malpractice. Anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare facilities can, too, if they provide medical services. Considering all these, it is not hard to believe that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

Four elements apply to medical malpractice.

Doctor-Patient Duty

It must be proved that the doctor and individual had a pre-existing doctor-patient relationship, understanding that it was the doctor’s duty to provide medical care to the patient.

Breach of Duty

Once it has been established that the doctor is held to an exemplary standard of care, any deviation from providing that standard can suggest medical malpractice.

Direct Causation

In addition to proving the standards of medical care was breached, it is necessary to show a direct link between that breach and the patient’s illness or injury.

Common Cases of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice and hospital injury lawyers will tell you that no two cases are identical, just as no two victims are identical. Furthermore, they can affect anyone anywhere, at any time.

Under a Doctor’s Care

Many medical malpractice cases involving doctors stem from a breach of duty. These incidents include the failure to

  • Recognize or diagnose an illness or injury
  • Treat an injury or illness
  • Take or take into account a family history
  • Order or suggest diagnostic tests that could have prevented an illness or alleviated its lasting effects.

Surgical Errors

If a surgeon causes injury to a patient due to negligence or error, medical negligence lawyers can hold them liable for medical malpractice.

In addition to obvious cases like leaving an instrument in the patient’s body or removing the wrong limb, surgical malpractice can be charged in cases where –

  • The surgeon is unexpectedly unavailable.
  • The surgical team fails to follow the presurgical protocol reviewing the patient’s medical history.
  • The surgical team is incompetent or inadequately trained.
  • Inadequate communication among team members results in preventable errors.

Negligent Prenatal Care

Diagnosis Errors

If an obstetrician fails (or is late) to diagnose a condition like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or anemia, it can have serious consequences for both mother and fetus. An undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy or terrine rupture can be fatal.

Birth Defects

It is the responsibility of the obstetrician to check for potential birth defects like Spina Bifida, Sickle Cell Anemia, Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs Disease, and Hemophilia. Should they not notify the parents immediately if tests reveal their presence, it can qualify as medical malpractice.

Birth Injuries

If the physician or delivery team fails to monitor the vital signs of the fetus, it can lead to life-threatening complications. Also, if instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors are used incorrectly, the baby can have a lasting brain and/or nerve damage.

Pharmaceutical Errors

Pharmaceutical errors call for a medication error lawyer. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy estimates that medication errors harm over 1.5 million people a year.

  • Dispensing the wrong medication
  • Dispensing the wrong strength
  • Miscalculating the dosage
  • Failing to identify contraindications
  • Failing to consider interactions with other medications

Diagnostic Errors

The diagnostic lab personnel must collect and test body fluids samples, test them, interpret and record the results, and do so in a timely, accurate, and comprehendible manner. Failure to do so would be a breach of duty and grounds for a medical malpractice suit.

Diagnostic errors are not limited to the lab. They can stem from a misinterpretation of X-rays and other imaging and premature diagnosis and treatment. Diagnostic errors happen more often than people suspect. In fact, they account for the largest portion of malpractice cases, more than surgical errors or medication overdoses.

Medical malpractice can have lasting trauma, from physical and emotional traumas to economic damages. The stress can manifest as anxiety, insomnia, depression, or even suicide.

Determining whether your injury or that of a loved one was caused by inexcusable medical ignorance or negligence can be difficult. For this reason, you need to consult an attorney with experience trying med mal cases.

Act quickly; New York State has a statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one have been harmed by negligent or substandard care, medical malpractice lawyers at Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie can help you.

All initial personal injury consultations are free. Contact our office regarding any matter at any time.

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