The Most Common Medical Malpractice Cases

Tablet with the text Medical malpractice on the display

Did you know that every year, 225,000 people die from some form of medical malpractice? 

However, only 2 percent of those who suffer from medical malpractice ever file claims. 

This is a travesty, as an instance of medical malpractice can completely alter the course of your life. 

But, how do you know if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice or not?

There are some very common types of medical malpractice cases out there, and being aware of them can help you decide whether or not you have a medical malpractice case on your hands. 

Check out this guide to learn about the most common types of medical malpractice cases. 

1. Misdiagnosis 

Recent studies show that misdiagnosing a condition is the leading type of medical error. 

The most commonly misdiagnosed diseases include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Lyme disease 
  • Thyroid conditions

Oftentimes, misdiagnosis, in this case, isn’t due to negligence, but rather it’s due to symptoms presenting themselves in unusual ways that a doctor wouldn’t notice unless they were looking for them. 

However, if a doctor fails to diagnose something that anyone on their level would be able to detect, then it would be considered a case of negligence. 

Diagnostic errors can harm patients greatly, as they can lead to a lack of treatment, delays in treatment, or even death. Also, if a patient receives unnecessary treatment, it can lead to undue financial burdens. 

If your physician has recently misdiagnosed you, then you should look into hiring Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys

2. Delayed Diagnosis  

Similar to misdiagnosis is a delayed diagnosis. 

With a delayed diagnosis, the condition often progresses and causes a detrimental effect on the patient’s health. 

In order for a delayed diagnosis to qualify as negligence, the doctor must have treated the patient less thoroughly than other physicians would have under the same circumstances. 

For example, your physician may have neglected to order a necessary test that would have been logical to order. 

The trick with this type of medical malpractice case is proving that your condition would be better had the doctor started treating you sooner. 

In cancer cases, this can be especially tough to prove, as there’s always the possibility that the cancer would have progressed in the same manner regardless of the treatment plan. 

3. Pregnancy and Birth Injuries 

So much can go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth. And even with the advances of modern medicine, it’s still very common for mothers and/or the baby to experience issues during the pregnancy or birth. 

In fact, the US has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. And, whereas the rate of maternal death is dropping in other developed countries, it’s increasing in the US.

Therefore, it’s very important to be wary of medical errors if you’re having a baby. Here are some of the most common problems associated with negligence during childbirth:

  • Surgical errors during a C-section
  • Improper use of forceps
  • Placental abruption or other placental abnormalities
  • Premature babies
  • Excessive/unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Preeclampsia 
  • Negligence of administering anesthesia
  • Nerve injury/shoulder dystocia of the baby during labor
  • Oxygen deprivation to the baby
  • Mother hemorrhaging during pregnancy or labor
  • Extremely long labors that cause injury to the baby or mother
  • Mother’s gestational diabetes

Unfortunately, these are just some of the problems that can occur during pregnancy and labor. However, as we said, there’s a lot that can go wrong during pregnancy as it’s incredibly complex. Therefore, something going wrong doesn’t automatically mean that medical negligence was present. 

4. Surgical Errors 

Close to 50 million surgical procedures are performed each year in the US. And, while most of these go off without a hitch, complications do sometimes occur. 

A wide variety of surgical errors can occur. However, these are some of the most common:

  • Performing the wrong procedure
  • Failing to control bleeding
  • Damaging tissues, nerves, or organs 
  • Improperly caring for the patient before or after the surgery
  • Operating on the wrong body part or the wrong patient altogether
  • Leaving medical equipment inside a patient
  • Using surgical instruments that haven’t been sterilized
  • Inadequately monitoring vital signs
  • Performing unsafe procedures that result in serious harm to the patient

Oftentimes, these errors occur when a doctor reads a patient chart incorrectly. Or, they occur when they neglect to review medical instructions or they clear a patient for the wrong surgery. 

Sometimes, surgical mistakes are minor. However, they can sometimes result in permanent disfigurement or disability, or even death. 

5. Anesthesia Errors

If anesthesia isn’t administered properly, it can be super dangerous. 

In fact, if the anesthesiologist doesn’t pay close enough attention to the patient’s medical history or they administer too much anesthesia, the consequences can be deadly. 

And, it’s important to note that anesthesia errors don’t just occur in the operating room. Oftentimes, they occur in the pre-op rooms or the recovery rooms.

In some ways, errors with anesthesia can be much more dangerous than surgical errors. This is because it’s quite easy for an error with anesthesia to cause serious damage to the brain. Even the smallest mistake can be quite costly. 

6. Medication Errors 

When you go to the doctor, you expect them to have the right knowledge to prescribe you with the right medications. 

However, medication error occurs far more frequently than you’d think. If a healthcare provider makes a mistake, a patient could be administered a medication that’s 100 times the dosage it needs to be. Or, they could administer the patient the wrong medication altogether. 

Here are some common medication errors:

  • Choosing the wrong prescription medication
  • Writing the wrong prescription or writing an illegible prescription
  • Dispensing the medication incorrectly
  • Neglecting to properly monitor the patient on the new medication

Medical Malpractice Cases: Do You Have a Lawsuit on Your Hands?

Now that you know about the most common types of medical malpractice cases, you should be able to better tell if you have a lawsuit on your hands. 

Of course, there are all kinds of different medical malpractice cases, and it may just be that yours is not on the list. 

That’s why it’s best to talk to a lawyer to review your case. 

And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more legal tips and tricks. 

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