The five most common kinds of medical malpractice claims, in no particular order, are failure to treat, prescription drug errors, surgical or procedural errors, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, and childbirth injuries.
Medical malpractice can have devastating, life-altering consequences for victims and their families. Tragically, it occurs throughout the United States. Reports estimate hundreds of thousands of people die every year as a result of medical neglect or errors.
Medical Malpractice Accounts for Thousands of Deaths Each Year
Medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. A study by Johns Hopkins reported more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year because of medical mistakes. But according to a 2013 review published in the Journal of Patient Safety, other reports have significantly higher estimates, around 440,000 deaths per year.
The discrepancy is a result of a flawed system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses death certificate data when compiling its national mortality data. But, when filling out these certificates, funeral directors, coroners, medical examiners, and physicians rarely note the human errors or medical equipment failures that contribute to a person’s cause of death.
It is common to think of medical malpractice in its most obvious forms. A legal professional can help you establish the circumstances surrounding the error and the actions, or lack thereof, that contributed to your injury. Not every bad result or death in the care of a doctor or hospital will result in a successful malpractice claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (212) 732-2929
Understanding the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims
Here is some more information about the most common types of medical malpractice claims:
Misdiagnosis & Delayed Diagnosis
According to an article in Modern Healthcare, about 33% of medical malpractice claims filed between 2013 and 2017 were related to diagnostic errors. In the United States, about 12 million people are misdiagnosed in outpatient settings every year, according to a 2014 report from the journal BMJ Quality & Safety.
Without an accurate diagnosis, it is impossible to receive proper treatment. And with many conditions, early detection can significantly increase the chances of a more favorable prognosis. As a result, diagnostic delays or errors can have tragic consequences, resulting in preventable pain and suffering—and even death.
Failure To Treat
Even if a doctor diagnoses a condition accurately, it may constitute medical malpractice if they fail to treat it appropriately. Similar to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, delayed or nonexistent treatment can have devastating effects. Prematurely discharging a patient or failing to follow up can fall under this category as well.
Prescription errors involve a medical provider prescribing the incorrect prescription or dosage. It can also include improper administration or prescribing drugs that adversely interact with other drugs the patient is taking. Drug manufacturers, doctors, and nurses, and pharmacists can be complicit in such medical malpractice cases.
Surgical errors can encompass everything from leaving a tool or sponge inside a patient’s body during the operation to operating on the wrong body part. In rare cases, a surgeon may even work on the wrong patient.
Surgeons are to blame in some of these situations, but they result from poor preoperative preparation more often. Such errors can cause physical and emotional pain and suffering and dangerous complications, including infections and even death.
Birth injuries are the most common type of malpractice claims against OBGYNs. Such conditions may affect the mother, child, or both.
These cases can include negligence in prenatal care, which can cause trauma such as bleeding in the brain, restriction of blood and oxygen to the brain during delivery, and damage to the cranial or peripheral nerves.
Cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, cephalohematoma, and hepatitis transmission are common injuries caused by errors during the birth process. While some birth injuries are tragically unavoidable, many can be prevented with proper care.
Get Help with Your Medical Malpractice Claim
When healthcare providers fail to uphold their duty of care to their patients, the consequences can be devastating and even deadly. If you have suffered because of a medical provider’s negligence or other unethical behaviors, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to seek the justice you deserve.
The team at Dansker & Aspromonte have been fighting for the rights of malpractice victims since 1988. Call us at (212) 732-2929 for a free consultation. You will not be required to pay us any money upfront and we only earn a legal fee when you recover compensation.