What Are the Top 10 Types of Medical Errors?
February 14, 2023
According to studies from Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 individuals in the United States pass away every year due to medical mistakes, making these errors the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives each year. That is why it is so critical that patients understand what these medical errors entail and what it means for them financially if they suffer from these mistakes.
Here are the top ten medical errors you should be aware of. You may be entitled to a monetary recovery if you are harmed by these types of medical mistakes. The medical malpractice lawyer can help you.
1. Failing to Diagnose and Diagnostic Errors
Errors in diagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnoses are common types of mistakes that medical professionals make. Unfortunately, these errors can lead to unnecessary medical treatments or delay in obtaining the proper medical treatment, causing conditions to worsen or lead to preventable injuries or death.
2. Errors with Medications
Another common mistake that healthcare professionals make is prescribing or dispensing the wrong medication, giving an incorrect dosage, or mislabeling the medicine bottle. Medication errors can also refer to situations where medicine is prescribed without considering a patient’s medical history or interactions with other medications the patient is taking.
3. Surgical Errors
When mistakes happen during surgery, patients can end up dealing with devastating injuries that will forever change their life. For instance, botched surgeries can lead to infections, nerve damage, and organ damage. They can also lead to permanent disfiguration, blood clots, and internal bleeding that can become life-threatening.
Performing unnecessary operations is considered a serious form of medical malpractice. When doctors subject a patient to the risk of having surgery that is not recommended, it can lead to grave consequences.
Leaving foreign items inside a patient’s body, such as sponges, absorbent pads, or medical tools, can jeopardize the patient’s health and lead to severe trauma and life-threatening outcomes.
4. Anesthesia Mistakes
Anesthesia mistakes can occur not only during surgery but also before or after an operation or procedure.
These mistakes often involve a medical professional:
- Not properly educating a patient about the possible risks of the procedure they are about to undergo
- Not providing a patient with preoperative instructions
- Not reviewing the medical history of a patient for potential complications
- Not administering the right amount of anesthesia during the operation
- Administering the wrong type of anesthesia
- Not monitoring or administering oxygen properly during surgery
- Keeping patients sedated for too long
- Not monitoring an anesthetized patient
- Not providing post-operative instructions
Consequently, when these mistakes happen, patients can face blood clots, stroke, brain damage, heart attacks, PTSD, and even death.
5. Treating the Wrong Patient
If medical professionals don’t pay attention to what they are doing or are careless with checking medical records, they can end up providing the wrong type of treatment to a patient, leading to debilitating consequences.
6. Not Checking on a Patient and Other Communication Breakdowns
Not checking on a patient following a procedure or failing to follow up with them can be considered medical malpractice. This includes failing to follow up regarding instructions, appointments, questions regarding the patient’s well-being or test results, and other types of information.
In addition, not properly preparing a patient for how to care for their injuries and illnesses when they leave the supervision of a doctor can also be a form of medical error.
7. Ignoring a Patient’s Concerns
Medical care professionals have a duty to listen to their patients when they are complaining of an ailment or looking for guidance regarding their condition. If the doctor ignores these concerns or symptoms, and tragic complications or consequences result, a medical malpractice suit may follow.
8. Discharging Patients Too Early
A premature discharge refers to a hospital releasing a patient before they are ready to be released. This often happens because the hospital is understaffed or overcrowded. However, just because the hospital may have logistic problems, it does not excuse them and their employees from properly stabilizing a patient, treating them appropriately, and conducting the correct tests.
Consequently, if a hospital releases an at-risk patient when they are not ready, it can result in a case of medical malpractice.
9. Not Obtaining Informed Consent
Before a patient gets a medical procedure, a medical professional has a duty to explain what this treatment is, including its benefits and risks. These professionals also need to explain why they chose the specific type of treatment and whether there are any alternative forms. Failing to disclose all this information and obtain consent from the patient before the procedure can lead to medical malpractice.
10. Labor and Delivery Injuries
Medical errors can occur before and during childbirth. These mistakes can put both the mother’s and the baby’s lives in danger and result in catastrophic injuries. For example, when a medical professional improperly uses forceps during delivery, it can lead to scarring and brain damage. Or, if a doctor fails to perform a C-section when the mother or baby show signs of distress, it can result in various birth injuries and horrifying outcomes.
Other Medical Errors
While the above are some of the top medical errors that healthcare professionals make, they are not the only ones. There are plenty of other mistakes that doctors, hospitals, nurses, and even pharmacists can make that can lead to disastrous repercussions. However, determining whether you have a valid legal claim after a medical error is about more than just showing you received a bad outcome from a surgical procedure, treatment, or therapy.
Patients must first prove a number of elements, discussed below, before they can successfully pursue a lawsuit against a medical professional or a hospital for the harm and losses they suffered.
If you or a loved one endured significant trauma at the hands of a medical professional or you believe a medical professional made a mistake in your care, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Gruel Mills as soon as possible. We can review the facts of the case, along with your medical records, and figure out if an actionable medical mistake resulted in your injuries and losses. We will help you bring a legal action against those responsible for your injuries.
Determining if You Have a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim
To bring a medical malpractice claim, patients have to show that their healthcare provider’s omissions or negligent actions resulted in treatment that violated the required standard of care and caused them harm. Not every act or omission will rise to the level of medical malpractice. To bring up these claims, the following elements must be present:
A Relationship Existed
Prior to pursuing medical malpractice, the patient must establish that there is a relationship between themselves and the doctor. This typically arises when the doctor agrees to treat a patient through treatment plans or other medical care, and the patient agrees to be treated by the doctor.
The Standard of Care Was Breached
After the doctor-patient relationship is established, the patient needs to show that there was a standard of care breach. Medical professionals must treat patients according to the standard of care – basically, what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances, given their education and practice specialty. An expert in the same field must testify that the treating medical professional violated the standard of care. Such a breach means the doctor or medical care professional acted negligently.
The Injury Resulted From the Negligence
The patient also has to prove that the medical professional’s negligence was the cause of their injuries and that the injuries would not have resulted if the medical care professional did not act negligently.
Substantial Damages Resulted
Finally, if all the other elements are present but the resulting damages are insignificant, it may not be in your best interest to pursue a lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims are incredibly expensive to litigate. Therefore, unless your harm resulted in significant financial damages, the cost of pursuing the lawsuit will be more costly than the potential remedies you could obtain.
For these reasons, contact a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer at Gruel Mills today to determine if you can pursue a medical malpractice claim. Our attorneys can review each of these factors, determine whether each of these elements is met, and help you decide on your next legal steps.
Pursuing Compensation Following a Medical Error
If you can show that you have a viable legal case after a medical error, you can pursue certain types of compensation. This compensation is usually split up into two categories and includes the following losses:
These damages refer to payment for the tangible losses that a patient sustained following a medical error, including losses related to:
- Medical expenses due to doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription medications, surgeries, medical devices, emergency care, and other medical treatments
- Costs for ongoing medical treatments
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity for the future
- Rehabilitation therapy costs
- Domestic replacement services
- Other financial losses
These damages cover losses that are more subjective in nature and tend to include things such as:
- Losses due to pain
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- Loss of companionship and society with others
In Michigan, there are limits, or “caps” on how much you can recover for noneconomic damages.
If you endured harm due to medical errors and want to ensure you can go after the financial recovery you deserve, consider discussing the situation with a skilled medical malpractice attorney at Gruel Mills. We can help you figure out not only which damages you can pursue, but we can also help you fight for the maximum recovery you deserve.
Contact a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorney Today for a Free Case Consultation
If you or a family member were harmed due to a medical error and suffered significantly because of it, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses. Fortunately, with a Gruel Mills medical malpractice lawyer fighting for your legal rights, you will not have to take on this complicated legal ordeal alone.
When you hire a medical malpractice lawyer, they can review the facts of your case, determine if you have a viable malpractice legal claim, and help you figure out the course of action you should take next.
These attorneys can also:
- Go over the questions you have and provide you with the answers and clarification you need during this challenging time.
- Maintain communication throughout the legal process, ensuring you know what is going on every step of the way.
- Thoroughly investigate the incident and obtain evidence validating your legal claim, showing what happened and who was at fault for your injuries and losses.
- Prepare and file motions, files, and documents before the statute of limitations runs out.
- Take on the discussions and negotiations with the other party and go after a just settlement offer.
- Hire qualified experts to validate your claim, including medical experts and financial specialists.
- Proceed to take your legal case in front of a judge and a jury and fight for maximum financial damages.
Do not wait any longer to go after the justice and financial recovery you deserve after a medical error turns your life upside down. Instead, contact a skilled medical malpractice legal professional at Gruel Mills today for a free case evaluation and find out how our team can help you take on this fight.