Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Doctors take an oath to do no harm, and there are several ways that they can violate that oath. When they fail to provide the care they owe to their patients, negative things can occur, like injuries, or life-altering actions that leave them worse off than when they came in for care. These violations are malpractice and negligence, and below you’ll learn about four of the most common types.
1. Surgical Errors
Malpractice under this category refers to any mistake made during a surgery or similar medical procedure that leads to complications. Inpatient and outpatient surgeries can both involve malpractice, and patients can either develop their complications while still at the hospital, or at home while recovering.
Surgical errors can include everything from allergic reactions to tools and materials used in the surgery to foreign objects left inside the patient’s body.
2. Labor and Delivery Errors
Although it’s a natural part of life, delivery of a baby can be dangerous. Doctors who deliver newborns have two patients’ lives to consider, which means there are twice as many risks.
For example, if a doctor mishandles a newborn’s head during delivery or does not monitor the baby’s oxygen, it can lead to long-term issues like cerebral palsy and nerve damage.
Other complications during labor occur with the mother. If a doctor performs a C-section when it isn’t necessary, it can lead to undue suffering or chronic injuries. And a doctor who dismisses red flags—like high blood pressure or excessive blood loss—is endangering the life of the mother.
3. Failure to Treat
Failure to treat a patient means anything from a complete lack of treatment to subpar treatment. Doctors put patients at risk for further suffering or even death when they ignore or minimize a patient’s complaint.
A common example of failure to treat is the negligence in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. When patients are bedridden for long periods of time, they develop bedsores. These are ulcers caused by pressure points and can develop into life-threatening infections. Many hospitals do not treat these sores as seriously as they should, or even ignore them altogether.
Misdiagnoses are sometimes a part of the medical process. There are several conditions that have similar symptoms, and doctors can only diagnose these through a lengthy process of elimination. In these cases, misdiagnosis usually just means frustration and delayed relief on the part of the patient. Other times, it’s serious.
For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a precancerous mole as benign and doesn’t send it for biopsy or further testing, the patient can later develop a far more advanced, deadly form of skin cancer.
Other times, doctors may diagnose a patient with something worse than what they actually have. In these situations, patients can end up on heavy-duty drugs or go through invasive surgery that was never necessary.