5-7-2019

Common Types Of Medical Malpractice & What To Do If It Happens To You

National Practitioner Data Bank information shows that medical malpractice payouts totaled more than $3.9 trillion during 2017. New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois had the highest total payouts with totals topping $300 million.

What were the most common types of medical malpractice? These six made the list.

  • Diagnostic Errors – 34%
  • Surgical Errors – 22%
  • Treatment Errors – 19%
  • Obstetric Errors – 9%
  • Medication Errors – 5%
  • Monitoring Errors – 5%

Understanding These Types of Malpractice

Where does your injury come in? Take a closer look at the types of malpractice.

#1 – Diagnostic Errors

Diagnostic errors occur when a doctor or specialist makes in incorrect or delayed diagnosis. As an example, a man went to a hospital in Dallas in 2014 and was sent home with antibiotics. Doctors missed that he actually had Ebola.

#2 – Surgical Errors

During a surgical procedure, the surgeon may make a serious mistake. A recent judgment gives a clear accident of what happens with surgical errors. A woman went in to have a cyst removed from her abdomen, but the surgeon accidentally removed one of her ureters. As a result, her right kidney had to also be removed. In the resulting malpractice suit, she was awarded $4.8 million.

#3 – Treatment Errors

Mistakes made during treatments can be devastating. A VA hospital saw a diabetic veteran who had serious wounds on his foot. The VA staff were supposed to change his dressings, but they failed to do so in a timely manner. Doctors had to amputate his foot.

#4 – Obstetric Errors

Errors during childbirth happen more often than you’d think. One woman was in the middle of a C-section when the anesthesia ran out. The pain caused her to pass out. That’s a clear case of an obstetric error.

#5 – Medication Errors

A medication error could be the fault of a doctor, a nurse, or the pharmacist. It involves the wrong medication, dosage, or instructions being given. In Long Island, New York, a new mom was given a prescription antacid to help ease her newborn’s acid reflux. The pharmacist prescribed the wrong medication and gave her a steroid instead.

#6 – Monitoring Errors

Patients often have entire teams monitoring a patient. Sometimes, mixed messages or delayed checks can lead to severe injuries. In one case, a woman was admitted to the hospital for renal failure. Her blood sugar levels were checked and insulin was given. By the time her glucose levels were checked again, they were at dangerously low levels and brain damage had occurred.

What If It Happens to You?

Of these malpractice cases, half led to death or severe permanent injuries. Another 30% led to brain damage, permanent injuries, paralysis, and a need for lifelong care. What if it’s you? What do you do if you suspect your doctor made a horrible mistake while treating you.

First, keep records of every medical bill, treatment, and instruction you’re given. You have the right to see your medical records. Ask to see copies. If your medical practice or hospital has patient records online, make sure you’re able to log in and pull up your files.

Second, see another doctor for a second opinion. Get third and fourth opinions are necessary. It’s important to make sure that you are not suffering or in deteriorating health because of the mistake that was made. Your health and wellness have to be your priority.

Third, keep a journal of changes the medical mistake is having on your daily routines. If the pain is extreme and you can no longer work the same amount of hours, track how often you’re unable to work. Be as detailed as possible. If your boss is noticing and saying things, ask if he/she would be willing to write down what is noticed and how it is affecting your usual productivity.

Fourth, you may be tempted to call your doctor or discuss your issues with his/her team. Avoid this. You don’t want to say anything that they could use against you. Stay away from that doctor or medical professional and only work with the new doctor who is providing your care.

Finally, make sure you talk to a lawyer about your medical complaint. Carpenter & Zuckerman have won more than $1.5 billion for their clients. We’ll listen to your situation and tell you if we believe you have a valid complaint. Call Carpenter & Zuckerman at 888-CZR-FIRST at any hour of the day or night for your free consultation.

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