5 Common Types of Medical Malpractice

types of malpractice - surgeons in operating room

5 Common Types of Medical Malpractice

When you or a loved one sees a doctor, you expect medical treatment to be delivered with the utmost care. If you’re ever injured by a healthcare provider, or if a loved one dies at their hands, it can be devastating. You may wonder about your legal options for seeking compensation. We put together a list of the most common types of medical malpractice settlements, to help you determine whether or not you have a case. 

Five Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

1: Misdiagnosis

Sometimes, a doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis that another doctor of the same skill would not have made. This is known as a misdiagnosis, and it is one of the most common reasons for medical malpractice claims. In the United States alone, around 12 million people annually are misdiagnosed with an incorrect medical condition.  

Misdiagnosis has many consequences—prescribing the wrong medications can cause harm, and the wrong diagnosis allows an untreated disease to progress to its more severe stages. In some cases, the patient may receive a correct but delayed diagnosis later on. 

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can both cause wrongful death. In fact, roughly 40,000 to 80,000 people die from complications related to a misdiagnosis every year.

2: Failure to Treat

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can both be part of “failure to treat” malpractice claims, because the patient is unable to receive the proper care for their condition while undergoing the incorrect treatment. 

However, the failure to treat a medical condition can occur even with a correct diagnosis. Early discharge, neglecting to refer the patient to a specialist, and failing to provide proper follow-up care instructions, are a few situations that also qualify as failure to treat. 

3: Medication Errors

Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage can have dire consequences. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), medication errors are responsible for at least one death every single day. And around 1.3 million Americans suffer injuries caused by medication errors every year. 

Medication errors can happen at any point between the doctor making a diagnosis and the patient actually receiving the medication. Different people can be held liable for medical malpractice when it comes to medication errors, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other medical staff, and even the hospital. 

Some examples of medication errors include:

  • Your doctor misdiagnosed your condition and prescribed the wrong medication as a result.
  • The pharmacist misread the prescription and dispensed the incorrect dosage.
  • A nurse accidentally gave you medication that was intended for another patient during your hospital stay.  

4: Surgical Errors

Surgery has many known risks, but surgical errors are considered preventable mistakes that go beyond these risks. Even a minor surgical mistake can cause severe complications. 

Common examples of surgical mistakes include:

  • Operating on the wrong body part 
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Injuring a nerve during an operation
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside a patient
  • Performing an unnecessary procedure
  • Failing to prevent infections

5: Birth Injuries

Injuries that happen due to negligence during childbirth can have lifelong consequences. For instance, injuries during labor can cause the baby to have cerebral palsy, paralysis, nerve damage, or complications. 

In some cases, birth injuries can even cause the death of the baby or the mother. Performing an unneeded C-section or failing to perform one in an emergency can also cause injury or death. So can neglecting to monitor the baby’s and mother’s health throughout labor.

But not all birth injuries happen during labor. Neglecting to provide adequate prenatal care and failing to diagnose birth defects or other complications in advance can also be grounds for medical malpractice. 

Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona

This list only covers the most common types of medical malpractice claims—there are many more situations that qualify. If you or a loved one was injured because of medical negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact the Van Norman Law team. We can help you hold those who are responsible for your pain accountable. Call us at 480-481-0616 today to schedule a free consultation. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/15/2022). Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash