6 Types of Medical Malpractice That You Need to be Aware of

According to the National Institutes of Health, about one in 5 Americans will experience a medical error in their lifetime while only 10% of all medical errors are reported. Because health care has become increasingly complex, it leaves ample room for error, especially when systems are overworked and understaffed, leaving room for mistakes and miscommunication. 

While most common malpractice cases deal with errors related to medication, surgeries, and a mistaken diagnosis, there are seven areas of medical malpractice that occur.

  • Medical Devices

We’ve all heard about the ‘sponge left in the stomach’ after surgery, but in 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported an increasing number of patients injured due to the misuse of conventional medical devices, such as surgical staplers, electrical grounding pads, and catheters. The FDA reminded that when improperly used, patients may suffer injuries or require surgeries to repair the damage. These surgeries can in turn lead to painful complications and sometimes wrongful death.

  • Misdiagnosis

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that diagnostic errors may affect as many as 12 million – or one out of every 20 – American adults. A majority of malpractice lawsuits related to the mismanagement of a disease or injury, alleged failures to diagnose, to timely treat or refer to a specialist, and allegations of a lack of informed consent.

  • Surgical Errors

Whether it is a wrong-site, wrong-procedure, or wrong-patient error, surgical errors should never occur but they do. Communication issues are a consistent and prominent underlying factor in these cases and can happen before and after a procedure in addition to in the operating room. A 2020 report titled Medical Error Prevention shows at least 4,000 surgical errors occur each year in the U.S. with operating on an incorrect body part as one of the most common sources of surgical error.

  • Electronic Health Records

When a patient’s health care provider doesn’t release the right or most updated medical record or refuses to share information, it may flag the cause of a physician’s error or delay in treatment or medical mistake. Incorrect medical documents and false physician notes can also impact a patient’s access to policy benefits. Each time a claim is processed with the wrong information, the dollar amount counts toward that patient’s lifetime. It may exhaust their coverage limits and delay necessary treatments due to out-of-pocket costs.

  • Labor and Delivery Mistakes

Labor and delivery complications can lead to permanent severe injuries to both mother and child. However, 50% of these events are thought to be avoidable with proper planning and care, according to the University of California at Davis Family Practice Network. When a mother or her newborn presents with any birth-related injuries or issues, it is necessary to find out the precise cause of the problem and respond with prompt treatment. When a mother experiences these traumas, she may also face postpartum depression or anxiety, and undergo post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Prescription Drug Effects and Pharma Errors

According to a new report published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, some of the most persistent medication errors and hazards uncovered in 2019 are:

  • Selecting the wrong medication after entering the first few letters of the drug name
  • Errors due to look-alike labeling of manufacturers’ products
  • Misheard drug orders/recommendations during verbal/telephone communication
  • Unsafe labeling of prefilled syringes
  • Unsafe use of syringes

A medical provider does not have to commit a criminal act to commit medical malpractice. When a provider, even a competent and caring one, makes a mistake, violates the standard of care, or acts recklessly, patients can suffer significant injuries or even death.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by any medical error or negligent provider care, please call the medical malpractice attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. There are no advanced fees or costs; these cases are brought on a contingency basis- we only collect fees and costs when we win your case.

But don’t delay. There is a 2-year statute of limitations from the time the malpractice occurred.