No one ever wants or plans to be the victim of medical malpractice. But even if you think it will never happen to you, such cases do occur. If your treatment has been mishandled by a medical professional and you think you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case, here’s what you should know.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the mistreatment that occurs when a hospital, doctor, or a healthcare professional has caused injury to a patient. Such mistreatment may have been a result of an error when diagnosing the patient, the treatment itself, or the health management. Malpractice may also relate to the aftercare that the patient has received.
It’s estimated that medical errors kill roughly 200,000 patients in the US each year, according to Forbes. In order for the conditions of medical malpractice to be met and a claim to be made, it must meet these conditions.
- There’s been a violation of the standard of care.
- An injury was caused by negligence.
- The injury resulted in significant damage.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
These are some types of malpractice and some real-life examples of medical malpractice cases that have occurred:
Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis can be highly dangerous, especially as it could result in the patient losing their life or suffering extensive issues with their body further down the line. A Florida jury awarded Allan Navarro $216.7 million when his stroke symptoms were misdiagnosed, even after he notified hospital staff that he had a family history of strokes, a mistake that left him with brain damage and confined to a wheelchair.
Unnecessary Surgery, Surgical Errors, or Wrong-Site Surgery
No matter how invasive or non-invasive, surgery is a serious procedure, and patients put their lives and health in the hands of the surgeons who operate. Unfortunately, there have been cases of wrong-site surgery, such as the wrong leg being amputated or the wrong eye being operated on; unnecessary surgery, when a doctor recommends a surgery there is no need for and which causes more problems than were initially present; and other surgical errors, such as medical instruments being left inside a patient.
Such cases are extreme but also extremely harmful.
Improper Medication or Dosage
Providing the wrong medication or dosage to a patient could be fatal or cause further problems to the patient’s health. Such is the case of Munoz v. Sarkaria, where a doctor administered anesthesia that resulted in the patient suffering from a cardiac arrest. As a result, the patient suffered a brain injury, and the patient won a settlement of $9.38 million.
A few other examples of common medical malpractice cases include:
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Poor follow-up or aftercare
- Premature discharge
- Disregarding or not taking appropriate medical history into consideration
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Failure to order proper testing
These are all types of common cases, but if your situation doesn’t fall within these examples, that doesn’t mean you have a case. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care, negligence, or the mistake of a medical provider, you likely have a strong case.
A medical malpractice attorney can help to determine whether or not you have a case and if you can receive compensation. Pursuing a medical malpractice case can help pay for medical expenses and other costs related to the mishandled care or procedure.