Medical malpractice: common mistakes made by doctors

Are you looking for medical malpractice lawyers in Washington DC? Medical malpractice arises when nurses or doctors harm patients by failing to provide the right health care treatment. Fortunately, health care providers only make mistakes in a few instances. However, within that small number, certain errors occur more than others do.

Keep in mind that just because a patient is unhappy with the course of treatment that a doctor chooses and its outcome does not mean that medical malpractice has occurred. For it to be considered malpractice, the healthcare provider must have been negligent – meaning that the doctor’s lack of skill harmed a patient.

Here are a few examples of medical malpractice:

Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis

These account for a huge percentage of malpractice lawsuits. When a doctor delays a diagnosis or misdiagnosis a condition, it causes the patient to miss opportunities for treatment that could prevent harm or death. The key to proving that there was a misdiagnosis is to compare what the healthcare provider did to what other doctors in the same field would have done.

If a skilled doctor within the same specialty would not have made the same mistake, then your doctor is legally responsible for malpractice.

Birth injuries

Several fetal injuries are the direct result of medical malpractice: brain injuries and fractured bones. However, you should know that other things could also cause these injuries. Childbirth injuries can occur long before the actual birth.

Negligent prenatal care

If the doctor provides negligent care before the birth of a child, the fetus and mother could be harmed. Here are some examples of negligent prenatal care:

  • Failure to spot birth defects
  • Failure to diagnose a mother’s medical condition: anemia, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes
  • Failure to see ectopic pregnancies

Negligence during child birth

Negligence during childbirth can harm the mother and baby. Common medical errors that occur during childbirth include:

  • Failing to respond to signs of fetal distress
  • Using vacuum extractors or forceps incorrectly
  • Failing to anticipate complications caused by the child’s large size or tangling of the umbilical cord
  • Failing to order a c-section birth when necessary
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Anesthesia errors

Anesthesia errors are usually more dangerous than surgical errors. The smallest error by an anesthesiologist can cause brain damage, permanent injury, or death. An anesthesiologist can also commit malpractice before the administration of anesthesia in the following ways:

  • Failing to tell the patient about the potential risks involved when he does not follow preoperative instructions.
  • Failing to find out the patient’s medical history, which can cause complications

The anesthetic errors that occur during surgery are:

  • Improper intubation of the patient
  • Giving too much anesthesia
  • Using improper equipment
  • Failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs

Medication errors

Medication errors can occur in a number of ways, from prescribing to administering the drug. For example, if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, a patient can be harmed. In hospital settings, doctors can give the right drug to the wrong patient.

The most common medication errors usually involve dosage, whereby the patient is given too little or too much of a drug. This can happen in several ways, including:

  • The doctor prescribes the right dosage but the nurse gives the wrong quantity
  • The doctor writes the incorrect dosage
  • Equipment for administering drugs malfunctions, resulting in a large dosage over a short time.

Surgery errors

A surgeon might be negligent during an operation and end up puncturing internal organs or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient. Moreover, the nurses can be negligent when giving post-op care, leading to an infection.

Emergency care delay or improper triage

Sometimes, a patient is forced to wait for long after suffering serious injuries, which can quickly become worse if not treated quickly. Timely triage in the emergency room can make a load of difference between the surviving of a patient and succumbing to injuries because of unnecessary delays. This means that a critical patient who dies while awaiting treatment can sue for medical malpractice.



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