Medical Malpractice

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When you place your life or the life of a loved one into healthcare professionals’ hands, you have every right to feel safe. You trust that they will follow their oath to “do no harm” and will provide the highest quality medical care possible. Unfortunately, when a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, the results can be disastrous for patients – even deadly.
The statistics regarding preventable medical errors in hospitals in the United States are staggering. In fact, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in this country, behind heart disease and cancer.
Common medical mistakes include:

  • Doctor Negligence: Physicians take an oath to “do no harm.” If mistakes are made during diagnosis, treatment or follow-up care that causes injury to a patient, it may be considered medical malpractice.
  • Anesthesia Errors: Mistakes made during procedures involving endotracheal intubation, epidural anesthesia, and local anesthesia may result in brain damage or other injuries including paralysis, stroke, nerve damage, persistent vegetative state, or death.
  • Surgical Errors: Operating on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient should “never” occur but unfortunately it does with often tragic results. Injuring a nerve during surgery, improper administration of anesthesia or leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside the patient, may all lead to injury or death.
  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer: Failure to properly diagnosis at the earliest stages leads to delayed treatment and serious complications or even death.
  • Medication Errors: When a patient is prescribed the wrong medication or a pharmacy makes a medication error, adverse side effects can occur. Additionally, if a patient receives the wrong dosage of medication – too much or not enough –serious injuries can result or even death.
  • Birth Injuries: Failure to identify high-risk factors in expectant mothers during prenatal care or identification of a number of birth defects and abnormal fetal conditions including Erb’s palsy and shoulder dystocia. These can result in significant injury to the mother and/or the unborn child.
  • Obstetrical Malpractice and Fetal Monitoring: Congenital conditions such as Down’s syndrome, anencephaly, hydrocephaly, holoprosencephaly and spina bifida can be identified prior to birth so as to allow a mother a choice regarding the pregnancy. Other abnormal conditions, such as placenta previa, placental abruption, intrauterine growth retardation and macrosomia, need to be identified so that they can be managed to lessen the risk of injury to the child.
  • Infections: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 25 patients gets an infection while in the hospital.
  • Misread Diagnostic Tests: When x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, PAP smears, and other diagnostic tests are either not prescribed, performed too late or misinterpreted by physicians; conditions go undetected and untreated.
  • Failure to Diagnose Cardiovascular Disease: Untimely performance of an EKG test, stress testing, echocardiogram, cardiac imaging studies, angiography, a CT heart scan, heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positive emission tomography scan (PET scan), and other diagnostic tests may lead to a heart attack or cerebrovascular stroke.
  • Hospital Negligence: Understaffing, poor training, failure to provide treatment in a reasonable time, lack of cleanliness or failure to monitor or stabilize a patient’s condition contribute to adverse outcomes for patients.


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