7 Most Common Medical Malpractice Risks in Hospitals

Although the majority of healthcare professionals fulfill their duties as they should, a number of them do not, and patients are injured and die. These divergent healthcare outcomes lead to numerous lawsuits annually based on various negligent actions. Seven of the most common of them are briefly detailed below.

1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are far too common of a problem. Some reports put them as among the leading causes of death in the United States.

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses a condition as something other than it is. A delayed diagnosis, which often occurs after a misdiagnosis, is a diagnosis that should have occurred sooner.

Common conditions that are misdiagnosed or missed initially include:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme disease
  • Heart attack

Patients see symptoms of diseases worsen, and diseases progress until a proper diagnosis is made. Sadly, many receive the diagnosis they need after it is too late.

2. Medication Errors

With thousands of medications on the market, doctors and other professionals must take great care when prescribing and administering medicine. Sadly, prescribing and administering incorrect medications or dosages are more common than most people would like to believe.

Also unfortunately common is the failure to investigate the effects of mixing medications and prescribing two or more medications that, together, harm the patient.

3. Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are devastating. They are also preventable with proper care and verification. Common mistakes in this arena include:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Wrong patient surgery
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Fatigued surgeon
  • Unqualified surgeon or staff
  • Improper use of surgical tools
  • Other medication errors

Surgeons and their staff might also leave objects inside patients after surgery. Over time, the object can fuse with body parts or cause severe infections.

Before operating, surgeons and surgical staff have the chance to verify:

  • The procedure
  • The patient
  • The surgical site

Surgical staff can also use no-go checklists, which must be completed entirely before surgery can proceed.

4. Infection Risks

Hospitals are places of healing, but they can also be deadly to patients. Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are frightening conditions that befall patients after entering a hospital for care.

Among the most common HAIs result from:

  • Urinary catheter treatments
  • Central lines
  • Surgeries
  • Ventilators

Preventing the spread of HAIs requires a team effort in hospitals. Typically, hospitals focus their efforts on limiting or stopping the transmission of infections between patients and workers. Handwashing, use of aseptic methods, and established protocols aid greatly, as do education and strict enforcement of infection-prevention protocols.

5. Errors in Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a crucial area of medicine that requires meticulous care and treatment. Negligence in this field typically manifests as a wrong dosage or failure to assess a patient’s allergies to anesthesia medication.

Careful pre-surgical checklists, detailed planning, and vigilant monitoring during anesthesia are essential to avoid anesthesia errors. Sadly, complacency sets in with experience in many cases.

6. Childbirth Injuries

Children and their families face long-term setbacks and pain after a childbirth injury. Common injuries babies sustain right before, during, and just after birth include:

  • Blunt-force trauma
  • Forceps and vacuum injuries
  • C-section injuries
  • Hypoxic brain injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Injuries caused by failure to respond to fetal distress

Not only does the child face hardships from child injuries, but the family does as well. The impact of these preventable occurrences reverberates for decades, requiring substantial resources from medical care. They also sometimes result in the inability of the injured child to work as an adult.

7. Failure to Monitor or Follow-Up

A large part of medical care and treatment involves monitoring for conditions, developments, and signs. The information gleaned from monitoring is crucial to the proper treatment of patients, allowing medical professionals to take informed action against dangerous conditions.

Follow-up monitoring is just as important as onsite monitoring. Important treatment information is gathered at follow-up sessions and may indicate the need for further or altered measures.

Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim

As a patient, you have the right to challenge results caused by negligence and seek damages for your losses when malpractice occurs. It is up to medical professionals to help patients avoid bad medical practices. If a doctor fails to do so, the patient must do so themselves.

The first step in dealing with a tragic case of medical malpractice is to meet with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for a free case consultation. There, you will learn your options for moving forward and what to expect from your case.

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