Mistakes and errors take place in virtually every place- homes, offices, and industries. Mistakes are a part of life but some mistakes are more serious than others. A mistake in business could lead to customer dissatisfaction or profit loss. While some errors are fixable, mistakes in medical settings could be life-altering. Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence takes place when a doctor or other healthcare professional commits an error or acts with negligence, causing harm to a patient. You might have heard about cases of birth injuries or botched surgeries that are a result of mistakes committed by healthcare providers. Medical negligence is quite common and many people don’t even realize they are a victim of medical malpractice. This happens due to a lack of knowledge and failure to understand legal matters. So, to help you stay informed, let’s find out the meaning and types of medical malpractice.
Meaning of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when any healthcare professional like a doctor or nurse fails to perform their duty and deviates from accepted ethical standards. The two most important element of medical negligence is a mistake committed by a healthcare provider and the resulting harm caused to the patient. It means that there’s no legal case simply because the patient is unhappy with the outcome or no harm is caused. It is not enough to show that a mistake occurred to establish liability if the patient was not harmed in any way. To hold a doctor or medical professional liable, the patient needs to prove that a mistake occurred and he/she got injured as a direct result.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Sometimes, doctors and other healthcare professionals act negligently or make mistakes while treating patients. If this negligence or error causes serious injuries and losses, the negligent party can be sued by the victim to recover compensation. Medical malpractice can cause serious damage such as physical disability, worsened health conditions, and more. Many victims never file a lawsuit simply because they’re unaware of their rights and lack knowledge of personal injury law. Now, let’s find out some common types of medical malpractice to help you understand if you have a legitimate case.
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. This happens when the doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s condition or diagnoses the wrong condition. For instance, a patient experiencing severe abdominal pain goes to the hospital emergency. The doctor gives painkillers or diagnoses the patient with gastroenteritis. However, when the patient comes back home, the symptoms get worse because the doctor failed to diagnose that the patient was suffering from acute appendicitis. This failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis could have life-threatening consequences.
- Prescription Errors
Prescribing the wrong medication or inappropriate dosage could cause serious harm to the patient. Sometimes, doctors fail to take the medical history of the patient and prescribe medications that could react with the other prescriptions that the patient is already taking.
- Surgical Malpractice
Errors at any stage of treatment come under medical negligence. Failure to treat or surgical errors can cause serious harm to the patients. Some common surgical mistakes that account for medical malpractice include Wrong-site surgery, performing unnecessary surgery, incorrect anesthesia administration, no follow-up, not using sterilized surgical instruments, and more. In addition to this, birth injuries, discharging patient too early, performing unnecessary c-section, defective medical device, and more are some common examples of medical negligence. If a patient is harmed due to any such reason, the victim has the right to file a medical malpractice claim.