Understanding What Are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Understanding What Are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Many concerns arise when you think about medical malpractice. What are the most common types of medical malpractice? Which medical oversights most frequently lead to malpractice claims? These are common questions that you want to know.

Medical malpractice can encompass a range of errors or negligence within the healthcare system. Some common types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, and failure to obtain informed consent. Miscommunication among healthcare providers, inadequate record-keeping, and issues related to follow-up care can also contribute to malpractice claims.

If you or a loved one has experienced the consequences of medical malpractice and are seeking legal guidance, the experienced team at Peter Angelos Law is here to help. With a strong track record in handling medical malpractice cases, our dedicated attorneys are committed to seeking justice for those who have suffered harm due to healthcare negligence. We understand the difficulties of these cases and are ready to provide the support you need. For a free consultation to discuss your situation and explore your legal options, contact us at 410-705-2405. Let Peter Angelos Law be your advocate in pursuing the compensation and justice you deserve.

A doctor looking at paperwork and holding his held looking concerned.

Decoding Medical Malpractice: The Most Frequent Cases We See

Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers negligently cause harm to patients through substandard treatment. In Baltimore, prevalent medical malpractice cases encompass lawsuits against doctors, medication errors, and various malpractice-related injuries. Medical malpractice claims are not uncommon in this area of Maryland.

Misdiagnosis is particularly significant, constituting roughly one-third (34%) of malpractice cases ending in death or permanent disability. The harm rates from severe misdiagnosis can range between 1.2% and 35.6% for each disease incident. Awareness of these statistics among medical providers is essential to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis.

However, it’s not just misdiagnosis that patients need to be wary of. With over 4,000 incidents reported annually in the U.S., surgical errors are quite common. The majority of malpractice claims in hospitals are attributed to these surgical mistakes, which can lead to inadequate medical treatment for patients.

Common Signs of Medical Malpractice

Identifying signs of potential medical malpractice can be challenging, but certain indicators may warrant further investigation. While these signs don’t conclusively prove malpractice, they may raise concerns:

  1. Unexplained Injuries or Complications: If a patient experiences unexpected or severe complications without a clear explanation, it could be a sign of medical malpractice.
  2. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: Incorrect diagnoses or delays in diagnosing a medical condition can have serious consequences and may be indicative of medical negligence.
  3. Surgical Errors: Mistakes during surgery, such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient, can be signs of malpractice.
  4. Medication Errors: Administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or other medication-related mistakes may suggest medical negligence.
  5. Lack of Informed Consent: If a patient did not receive adequate information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a medical procedure, it may lead to a lack of informed consent and raise concerns about malpractice.
  6. Failure to Follow Standard Protocols: Neglecting established medical protocols or guidelines can be an indication of substandard care.
  7. Poor Communication: Ineffective communication among healthcare providers, leading to misunderstandings or oversights, may contribute to malpractice.
  8. Abnormal Lab Results or Diagnostic Tests: If abnormal test results are not appropriately addressed or acted upon, it can result in harm to the patient.
  9. Insufficient Follow-Up Care: Neglecting to provide adequate post-treatment care or failing to monitor a patient’s condition may be a sign of medical malpractice.
  10. Disregard for Patient History: Ignoring a patient’s medical history or failing to consider relevant information may contribute to negligent actions.

If you observe any of these signs, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. They can help assess the situation, gather evidence, and determine if there are grounds for pursuing a legal claim. Keep in mind that not every negative medical outcome indicates malpractice and a thorough evaluation by a legal professional is necessary to establish a case.

Diagnostic Dilemmas: Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

Instances of misdiagnosis in medical malpractice cases can be as varied as they are devastating. These instances can lead to a medical malpractice case and cause untold trauma to the patient involved.

The serious misdiagnosis-related harm rates per incident disease case in Baltimore varied from 1.2% (myocardial infarction) to 35.6% (spinal abscess). In some cases, the wrong patient may be treated due to misdiagnosis. This indicates a notable trend of misdiagnosis in malpractice claims attributable to diagnostic errors.

Furthermore, a misdiagnosis can hinder the delivery of proper treatment, resulting in unwarranted or detrimental procedures, and may exacerbate complications or harm the patient’s condition. However, patients should know that they have legal rights. They have the option to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if they can establish that the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis resulted in inadequate medical care, delayed treatment, or lack of treatment. Not all instances automatically meet the criteria for medical malpractice, but an experienced medical malpractice attorney from Peter Angelos Law can help patients with the process.

Surgical Mishaps: When Operations Go Wrong

While surgical procedures are often life-saving interventions, they also carry the potential for serious errors. These errors can include:

  • Retained foreign bodies
  • Mislabeled surgical specimens
  • Incorrect administration of medication
  • Nerve damage during surgery
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Surgical incisions at the wrong location

In these cases, a doctor fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, leading to devastating consequences for the patient.

The potential consequences of incorrect surgical procedures on patients are severe. They can lead to serious consequences including cardiovascular complications, physical injury, disability, mortality, comatose state, bradycardia, and neurological impairment. These outcomes may be attributed to staffing shortages, lack of vigilance, communication deficiencies, negligence, expedited procedures, or medical staff fatigue.

If surgical instruments are inadvertently left inside a patient, it necessitates further procedures for their removal. It is standard practice for hospitals to have protocols in place that mandate the counting of all instruments and sponges before and after surgery. Also, if a medical provider improperly diagnoses a patient, it can lead to unnecessary surgical procedures.

Prescription Drug Missteps: Navigating the Dangers

Medication errors are another significant aspect of medical malpractice. These errors can include:

  • Prescribing the incorrect drug
  • Prescribing the inaccurate dose
  • Medication administration errors
  • Pharmacist errors

A medical malpractice attorney from Peter Angelos Law can help patients who have been harmed by these errors seek compensation.

Inaccurate prescriptions can result in decreased patient satisfaction, diminished trust in the healthcare system, adverse side effects, exacerbation of health conditions, permanent injuries, and fatalities. Incorrect dosage can lead to ineffective treatment or harmful side effects. These are some of the common medical malpractice claims.

There have been instances where a doctor:

  • dispensed the wrong medication
  • prescribed the wrong dosage of medication
  • neglected to consider a patient’s medical history
  • failed to identify potential interactions between medications

These instances can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Birth Trauma: Recognizing Negligence in Childbirth

The joy of welcoming a new life into the world can quickly turn to despair if medical negligence occurs during childbirth. Instances of negligence can encompass:

  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Kernicterus
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Bone fractures

Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to provide the appropriate standard of care during childbirth.

The potential immediate consequences of injuries such as a spinal cord injury in newborns resulting from medical negligence during childbirth can include brain damage, intrauterine fetal demise, intraventricular hemorrhage, kernicterus, newborn cephalohematoma, and newborn jaundice. In the long term, it may lead to loss of movement and sensation below the harmed portion, potentially resulting in a lifetime of paralysis. These results can be attributed to medical errors during childbirth.

Unseen Errors: Anesthesia and Postoperative Care Mistakes

While the dangers of surgical errors and misdiagnosis are often well-publicized, the less obvious but equally dangerous errors that can occur during anesthesia administration and postoperative care can also have serious consequences. Adverse effects of anesthesia errors on a patient can encompass a variety of severe results such as cardiovascular complications, physical injury, disability, mortality, comatose state, bradycardia, and neurological impairment. These outcomes may be attributed to staffing shortages, lack of vigilance, communication deficiencies, negligence, expedited procedures, or medical staff fatigue. These instances can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Anesthesia errors are documented occurrences, with a reported total of 17,116 anesthetic errors between 2007 and 2014 in the United States. The frequency of drug administration errors per anesthetic case is 0.0075%, and approximately 38% of these errors have resulted in harm to the patients. Medical malpractice law addresses these issues to protect patients.

Negligence in postoperative care includes failure to monitor for infection or sepsis, failure to recognize post-operative internal bleeding and inadequate pain management. These instances of negligence can result in prolonged recovery times or severe, life-threatening complications for patients. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to provide the appropriate standard of care during postoperative care.

Establishing Your Medical Malpractice Claim

Knowing how to establish a medical malpractice claim is vital when you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical negligence. The crucial procedures to initiate a medical malpractice claim involve:

  1. Reaching out to the doctor or medical provider responsible for the injury to explore potential resolution
  2. Confirming the existence of a doctor-patient relationship
  3. Substantiating legal elements like duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

If this breach in duty of care caused an injury or the worsening of an illness, it might be classified as medical malpractice. This is laid out in state statute Maryland Annotated Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings §3-2A. The Medical Malpractice Act states: “All claims, suits, and actions … by a person against a health care provider for medical injury allegedly suffered by the person … are subject to and shall be governed by the provisions of this act”.

To substantiate a medical malpractice claim, it is necessary to gather various forms of evidence, including:

  • Medical and hospital records
  • Expert and witness testimonies
  • Video evidence
  • Diagnostic test results

Establishing your medical malpractice claim requires a thorough understanding of the necessary procedures and legal elements. A skilled medical malpractice attorney from Peter Angelos Law can assist in compiling and presenting this evidence to support your claim. Whether it involves substandard treatment, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication blunders, or insufficient follow-up care, pursuing a valid medical malpractice claim is crucial for seeking justice and rightful compensation.

Contact Peter Angelos Law for Your Medical Malpractice Case

Understanding the nuances of medical malpractice is key to recognizing when you or a loved one may have been a victim. From misdiagnosis and surgical errors to medication mistakes and birth trauma, medical malpractice can take many forms. And while it may seem like the odds are stacked against patients, there are legal avenues available to help victims seek justice.

At Peter Angelos Law, we empathize with the distress and bewilderment medical malpractice victims encounter. With over 50 years of experience providing support and legal representation to Maryland residents, we have a substantial degree of experience in handling medical malpractice cases. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of a case.

With a strong track record of success, we have procured billions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Our experience in medical malpractice lawsuits has helped many patients receive the compensation they deserve.

Our paramount objective in representing clients with medical malpractice claims is to safeguard their rights and secure the compensation they rightfully deserve. Call us today at 410-705-2405 for a free consultation, allowing us to understand your case and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible resolution for you.