If a doctor fails to take reasonable action to diagnose or treat a patient properly, he or she could be guilty of medical malpractice. If a patient is harmed by medical malpractice, they have the ability to collect compensation from a medical professional who fails to act in a proper manner. But what constitutes medical malpractice? From misdiagnosis to foreign objects left in the body, there are many forms of medical malpractice. Here are 5 of the most common ones that result in lawsuits.
Misdiagnosis or Failing to Diagnose
While this may not initially seem as severe as giving a patient the wrong treatment or medication, failure to diagnose or receiving the wrong diagnosis is a form of medical malpractice. A failure to receive a diagnosis in a timely manner could result in negative consequences for a patient’s health, and in certain cases, death. If your diagnosis was missed or delayed because a doctor ignored your symptoms or opted not to run a test, it may be an example of negligence on that professional’s behalf. Because of this, misdiagnosis is a common basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Taking the wrong medication or a medication one is allergic to can be deadly and debilitating. Numerous studies have found that medication errors are among the most common forms of death in the United States. A medication error could occur if you are given the wrong prescription or the wrong dose of the proper medicine. Not being told how to take a pill or injection properly could also result in a negative outcome. Medication errors therefore include failure to communicate proper dosages as well as failure to administer the right medication. If the doctor writes the wrong amount of medication or a nurse calculates the wrong dosage, it is something that could be brought up in court.
Objects Left in a Patient
Surgeries are commonly needed for saving patient’s lives, but if the medical practitioner is careless, they can also be deadly. From transplants to inserting technological aids, there are many reasons your doctor may put things in your body. The problem comes when they forget to take things out. Sponges, towels, and other objects that are left inside of a patient could result in serious harm or even death. Failure to remove an object is generally considered to be medical malpractice regardless of why the mistake was made. This may even be true in the event that a hospital had a system in place designed to prevent this type of mistake from occurring.
Doctors Misinterpreting Test Results
While we usually trust our healthcare providers to understand and make the best decisions based on the information they have, doctors are only human and can make mistakes. Doctors typically create treatment plans based on test results or other information received from a patient. If they misread a test result or otherwise fail to properly analyze the data that they are given, they could create a plan that could seriously harm or kill their patient. Generally speaking, failure to accurately conduct or analyze a test is considered to be a negligent act. While sometimes it is an innocent mistake, racial and gender biases can feed into even a healthcare professional’s assumptions. Doctors sometimes make erroneous assumptions based on their patient’s appearance and demeanor, from assuming that an overweight patient’s problems stem from high blood pressure or will be solved through weight loss to ignoring symptoms presented by a female patient presumed to be hysterical or overreacting. Social biases can become deadly where test results and interpreting symptoms are involved, which is why misinterpreting test results can be seen as medical malpractice.
No Ability to Give Informed Consent
Informed consent means that you understand the risks and benefits of a given procedure. It also means that you have been told about alternative forms of treatment and the potential risks of those alternative treatment options. If a patient doesn’t have the ability to give informed consent, they may be the victim of medical malpractice. In other words, if a doctor pressures a patient to accept a certain treatment without adequately explaining the procedure and its risks, or fails to explain alternative treatments, then the patient is not actually able to give informed consent. This is important for patients to know, as often healthcare providers will claim that a patient’s consent to the treatment absolves them of any legal responsibility. However, if the patient is not actually able to understand their treatment plan, then they may be victims of medical malpractice.
If you have been the victim of a medication or other type of medical error, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney. An attorney may be able to talk more about the process of filing a malpractice lawsuit and the types of compensation that you may be entitled to.