No matter where you live or how good your doctor is, there are many ways that healthcare can go wrong—often with devastating and lifelong consequences. That is why medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to helping clients who have been seriously affected by their time in a hospital or doctor’s office. However, there is no one kind of malpractice situation, so here are some common types of medical malpractice cases.
One of the key parts of any medical visit is the conclusion a doctor reaches regarding a patient’s physical health problem. Yet, doctors can get this very wrong and cause harm by saying that there is nothing wrong, failing to see what another competent doctor would see, or by providing an entirely wrong diagnosis. Misdiagnosis is a serious matter because certain conditions or illnesses can exacerbate and cause more suffering if left unchecked.
Delayed diagnosis is another type of medical negligence where a doctor does not offer an answer in a timely fashion. Similar to a misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis can unnecessarily continue a patient’s pain and potentially reduce the likelihood of recovery for that person.
A doctor can come to the right diagnosis but then fail to recommend the right treatment, providing only minimal attention when the standard of care has clearly not been met. For a patient, this could look like premature release from treatment or a lack of follow-up care or recommendation to a specialist. People visit doctors because they are seeking medical attention and a path to recovery, no matter the circumstance. When the doctor identifies the issue but then does nothing to adequately address it, they are failing to treat their patient.
Surgical errors can result in devastating personal injury. For example, a surgeon could use the wrong procedure and cause you more issues. Surgical errors can also cause internal organ damage if tools are not handled correctly. A serious surgical error is allowing infection to take hold because of surgical operations. This can lead to sepsis which could ultimately compromise the health of their patient. Surgical tools or other foreign objects can even be left inside of a patient after an operation. Surgical errors are serious because they can drastically impact a person’s quality of life. If damage is done to an organ or nerve in just the wrong way, patients can be left to deal with lifelong issues. Additionally, if an anesthesia error occurs—such as providing the wrong amount of anesthetic or failing to accurately watch the patient’s vitals—a person can be left with any number of medical problems including brain damage.
Though immediate surgeries can be medically necessary to save a person’s life, there are some cases of completely unnecessary surgeries or treatments. An unnecessary surgery could be chosen due to its expediency and efficiency in solving a medical problem. At other times, a patient may not have been informed of the risks or reasons connected to a surgery performed on them, therein operating without proper informed consent. Especially with the invasiveness of surgery, when a surgeon pursues a treatment option that is needless, they are increasing the risk to the patient. When a particular treatment path is avoidable yet chosen and harm comes to the patient, there is a potential case for medical maltreatment.
A doctor is responsible for not just figuring out what is wrong with their patient but also for advising a treatment plan, usually involving the prescription of medications. A medication error occurs when a physician prescribes the wrong drug or an incorrect amount of a drug to a patient. This means that their patient is taking ineffective or harmful medicine. And, if the situation is serious enough, this could mean putting the patient through undue pain or worsening their condition. Doctors are also responsible for knowing how the other medications a person takes and their medical history will interact with the new prescription. Medication errors can happen beyond the walls of a doctor’s office, occurring in hospitals and pharmacies as well.
This type of medical malpractice can be one of the most devastating. Because birth involves a mother and a child, a negligent physician could cause harm to both at any point during the pregnancy—this includes the time from initial checkups up to the birth itself. Injuries related to birth can result in developmental disorders or fractured bones for the baby. Failure to diagnose a birth defect is also considered negligence because it is failing to provide the fullest medical attention and advice to the parent or guardian. As for the mother, nerve damage and spinal cord injuries related to the birth are often categorized as medical malpractice. This beautiful moment in a family’s life which has been building for months and months should not be marked by devastating negligence and injury.
Many treatment options that doctors choose require medical attention over a longer period of time. If a doctor prescribes treatment that needs consistent follow-ups and they do not contact their patient, this can potentially be considered negligent treatment, especially if the treatment has harmful side effects or causes further injury. No one should be left alone and unmonitored when being treated long-term or taking medications they are unfamiliar with.
Doctors are not the only ones liable for medical care. If a medical device or product was poorly manufactured or does not work as promised, the consequences can be devastating. A device can break and cause further harm to a patient at any time. Or, a product can simply not fulfill its purpose and cause a person’s medical condition to worsen. If the manufacturers are aware of the defect or should have predicted the outcome, there is a possibility for a malpractice case.
These types of medical malpractice cases are not the only ones that exist, as every circumstance and person is unique and requires specialized attention. If you think any of these types of medical malpractice cases describe the situation you are in, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our hospital negligence attorneys in Boise, Idaho.