Common Types of Medical Malpractice
March 15, 2019
In the legal world, medical malpractice is a negligent situation in which a healthcare professional does or does not do something that results in injury or illness for a victim. For it to be considered medical malpractice and not just reasonable human error, it must be considered a breach of a medical duty of care. Duty of care in the medical world is defined as a legal and moral obligation to perform their medical duties at a reasonable level. If the average doctor should have noticed the symptoms or did a procedure properly, so too should have the negligent doctor. There are standards of care in place in the medical profession that are expected to be upheld by every single licensed healthcare professional.
Understanding How Medical Malpractice Occurs
Medical malpractice can happen due to a variety of reasons. Humans are humans and make mistakes, but in a professional world where other people’s wellbeing on their hands, they are expect to perform at a certain level and be held responsible for their negligence.
Common causes of medical malpractice include:
- Communication errors between doctors
- Communication errors between doctors and patients
- Failure to take certain symptoms seriously
- Fatigue due to long work hours and being on call
- Skipping tests due to stress and workload
- Not checking full medical history when administering or prescribing medications
- Failure to maintain and clean medical equipment and tools
- Improper training of medical staff
- Failure to maintain a disinfected and clean healthcare environment
Medical Malpractice Involving Diagnosis
One of the most common medical malpractice scenarios involve diagnosis issues. Sometimes doctors do not take seriously or miss an obvious symptom which results in a failure to diagnose an illness or condition. Other times, several medical conditions can have similar symptomology and without proper analysis and testing, a doctor can mistake one illness for another, resulting in misdiagnosis. In rare cases, doctors will diagnose someone with something they don’t even have, such as failure to properly analyze a MRI or mixing patient records. Receiving news you have cancer when you don’t can have devastating consequences such as severe depression, impulsive money spending and decision making, giving away property, etc.
Another common medical malpractice case we come across unfortunately involves issues with childbirth. Due to how fragile babies are it is very easy to cause an injury during childbirth. Sometimes this can result in brain injuries that result in cerebral palsy or seizures, bone breaks, or paralysis of some kind.
Sometimes the medical malpractice is due to errors during prenatal care that result in harm to the mother or the fetus or both.
Examples of prenatal care medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose a condition of the mother that could harm the fetus (such as hypoglycemia or preeclampsia)
- Failure to identify birth defects
- Failure to diagnose contagious diseases that can transfer to the fetus (example: HIV)
- Not recognizing an ectopic pregnancy (the fetus develops outside of the uterus)
Other Medical Malpractice Errors
Although diagnosis mistakes and childbirth injuries are the most commonly seen medical malpractice scenarios, there are a multitude of other types that are seen on a daily basis in the legal world.
Other commonly seen medical malpractice errors include:
- Medication errors – administering the wrong medication too much or little, prescribing medications that won’t help a condition, prescribing medications a patient is allergic to, overdosing, etc.
- Anesthesia errors – giving too much, giving too little, or giving when someone has a history of reactions to anesthesia
- Surgery errors – leaving tools in the body, failure to properly suture open wounds, accidental slips or cuts that should not have been made, puncturing organs, operating on the wrong body part or side of the body, etc.
- Cleanliness – failure to follow hand washing procedures, improper disinfection and cleaning of tools, improper cleaning of healthcare environment
Contact a Piscataway Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Morristown medical malpractice attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Rockaway, Roxbury, Morristown, and Perth Amboy. Call us today at (973) 828-8187 or email us to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 67 East Park Place, 5th Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960, and we also have offices in New Brunswick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.