When you visit a doctor, physician or medical professional, there’s a certain level of trust that goes along with it. You trust that they will competently treat your medical issue to the best of their abilities. But when that trust is violated due to negligence, it can result in a serious injury, lifelong disability or even death.
Contrary to popular belief, medical negligence does not always take place in a hospital. It can occur during a regular health checkup or even a simple dental visit. Negligence doesn’t have to be malicious either. A doctor with the best intentions can still be liable for negligence if they fail to meet the applicable standard of treatment. Medical errors can also result from systemic problems within the healthcare system, such as poorly coordinated care and the absence or underuse of safety protocols.
John Hopkins Medical Center analyzed the medical death rate over an eight-year period. It’s estimated that over 250,000 deaths were due to medical negligence each year. As a result, medical negligence is the third-leading cause of death in the United States—surpassing respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
Here are the more common types of medical negligence that occur on a regular basis:
Doctors have the responsibility of diagnosing a patient to determine the best course of action for their issue(s). If a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a medical condition, the patient could miss treatment opportunities that prevent further injury or harm.
Commonly misdiagnosed diseases and conditions include infections, tumors or masses inside the body, heart attacks and cancer.
On occasion, a surgeon might make a mistake in the operating room. Surgical errors can include laceration of organs, uncontrolled blood loss, or surgical objects being left in the body. This can lead to further surgeries, infections, immune system failure and even death.
Prescription errors are one of the most common forms of medical negligence. For example, a doctor might prescribe two types of drugs that can have a negative interaction, resulting in fatal reaction. A doctor could also prescribe the wrong kind of medication to treat a medical issue. However, the most common medication errors involve improper dosage.
It should be noted that negligence acts by themselves do not merit a medical negligence claim. A medical negligence claim may be brought forth only when a patient suffers injuries or death. If the treatment a doctor is giving a patient deviates from the acceptable medical standard of care, but the patient is not injured, then there is no claim for medical malpractice.
If you think you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, give me a call at (253) 472-6000. My team and I have helped countless patients who’ve suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor. We’ve obtained multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts in cases involving medical malpractice. We offer a free, no-hassle, legal consultation so you can learn more about your rights as a patient.