Modern medical malpractice: An overview
The top common medical errors can usually be traced to some kind of medical negligence, and when these errors cause injuries, you might receive compensation. The compensation typically covers medical expenses, loss of income from work, estimated funds for long-term therapy, and compensation for pain and suffering.
Uniquely a common feature of medical malpractice claims, you can also receive punitive damages if you sue the doctor or the hospital. These are assessed in medical malpractice cases to discourage sloppy or lazy work, forgetfulness to inform patients of all the risks, and working too many cases to give each case adequate attention.
What constitutes medical malpractice?
From a legal point of view, medical malpractice links to negligence. However, advances in medical treatments and hospital-mandated disclosures of surgical risks prevent most simple errors. In addition, a doctor’s work is often checked by other doctors or nurses, so it’s difficult to prove deliberate malpractice even when the doctor deviates from established medical procedures.
Some of the most common types of current medical malpractice consist of the following errors:
- Misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose a disorder
- Pharmaceutical errors and improper prescriptions
- Surgical errors
- Amputations caused by medical malpractice
- Brain injuries caused by malpractice or avoidable errors
- Emergency room malpractice caused by rushing procedures
- Cosmetic surgery malpractice that results in poor results or disfigurement
- Patient abandonment or premature discharge
The last type of malpractice explains why hospitals often insist that patients stay longer than often seems warranted. Hidden injuries often don’t manifest symptoms right away, and hospitals are reluctant to take a patient’s word that they are fine.
Surgical procedures, the most respected form of medical treatment, often generate malpractice charges. Busy surgeons make mistakes, forget to advise their patients of all possible side effects, and frequently make mistakes due to exhaustion. Some common errors made by surgeons include operating on a healthy organ or operating on the wrong patient entirely.
Negligence tops the list of malpractice causes
Busy hospitals, doctors’ offices, and clinics often treat hundreds of patients in a relatively short time. That often results in errors caused by rushing diagnoses or trying to finish with a patient while someone else is waiting for treatment. Simple forgetfulness occurs when balancing people’s lives with a steady stream of impatient patients.
Doctors and legislators agree that medical errors rank as a major public health problem. Part of the anticipated long-term solution involves abandoning the blame game and CYA mentality. A culture that promotes blame, shame, and punishment needs to establish a safety culture and focus on improving overall health care as well.
Medical malpractice can be roughly divided into two types: errors of omission and those of commission. Errors of commission occur when doctors choose the wrong diagnosis or treatment option. For example, the wrong treatment might be benign. Still, powerful drugs make it more likely that the patient will be harmed by side effects, drug interactions, or ineffective treatment that leads to suicidal thoughts or losing the mental focus to fight.
Why you need an attorney
Personal medical malpractice injuries often generate big problems that result from a lack of effective treatment and wrong treatment options that can aggravate the condition. Getting a reputable law firm if you suspect medical malpractice is the first step toward recovery and fighting for your health. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can inspire confidence, and you can often hire a lawyer for a medical malpractice claim on a contingency basis. That means if you don’t recover damages, you pay nothing. If you do receive compensation, the lawyer’s fees and expenses are deducted from the settlement.
Lawyers know how to wade through complex medical terminology and how to investigate your doctor’s actions to identify possible acts that qualify as malpractice. Everyone makes mistakes – even trained doctors, even with all the high-tech and pro staff they have at hand. You deserve compensation if a cut-happy surgeon misidentifies your case for surgery when medical treatment could have corrected the problem.
Story by Leland D. Bengtson. As a journalist, Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.