5 Most Common Types of Malpractice Law Suits

Common Malpractice Law Suits

  • Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
  • Surgical Errors
  • Failure to Treat
  • Breach of Care
  • Medication or Prescription Drug Errors

Every year patients go to a clinic or hospital for treatment and/or diagnosis of some type of illness or injury. In most cases, they leave the medical facility happy. Unfortunately, some leave the facility with a different experience than they had anticipated. Medical professionals are human just like the rest of us and are capable of making mistakes. If the mistakes do not cause harm to the patients, it’s typically not a reason for malpractice lawsuits.

Every year thousands of lawsuits get initiated because the mistakes did cause harm to the patient. Approximately 55 percent of the doctors in the United States have been victims of malpractice lawsuits according to a 2017 Malpractice Lawsuits report by Medscape. Here are five of the most common malpractice lawsuits.

1. Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose

Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose altogether is the most common type of malpractice suit. Because doctors are so busy and see so many patients in a day, they’re often in a hurry and may miss or overlook symptoms. Without knowing or acknowledging the right symptoms, it’s fairly easy to misdiagnose a patient until the patient’s condition worsens. The unfortunate thing is that it often results in devastating consequences for:

  • the patient
  • the patient’s family
  • the physician

Cancer and heart attacks are the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases.

2. Surgical Errors

It’s not just on TV that surgeons accidentally leave surgical instruments inside the patient or actually operate on the wrong patient. This really does happen. Other surgical errors might be:

  • operating in the wrong spot
  • incorrect incisions
  • damaging another organ or body part

These types of surgical errors can result in:

  • serious injury
  • prolonged post-operative care
  • lifelong damage to the patient
  • death

3. Failure to Treat

Although it might seem like this is the same as failure to diagnose, it’s actually different. This is a situation where the doctor does diagnose the patient but fails to act on the diagnosis or start the patient on an appropriate treatment plan for that specific ailment. A doctor may treat the patient by ordering surgery. But if the doctor doesn’t provide proper post-surgical care, it can result in more problems as well as malpractice suits for failure to treat the patient from beginning to end.

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4. Breach of Care

Breach of care covers a wide area of negligence in different areas of medicine. It might be:

  • failing to inspect surgical equipment that later malfunctions
  • not getting informed consent from a patient
  • not following HIPAA laws and talking to family members without the patient’s consent

A breach of care has occurred any time:

  • a doctor or other medical professional deviates from the regular method of care
  • a doctor or medical professional doesn’t make use of available medical resources
  • the above result in injury or medical problems to the patient

5. Medication or Prescription Drug Errors

When patients leave a doctor’s office or hospital with nothing more than a prescription, they’re often happy that’s all they need. If the prescription is wrong, the patient may end up in worse condition. Prescription errors consist of various situations, including:

  • prescribing the wrong drug
  • failing to question the patient about allergies
  • failing to monitor the patient when a specific drug requires monitoring
  • incorrectly administering medication
  • incorrect dosing

This type of litigation might be against a doctor or a pharmacy.

Doctors are often looked on as though they are God when patients have an illness or injury. They want instant results and want them to be correct. Although many of the mistakes made by physicians are honest mistakes, the unfortunate truth is that many are caused by negligence. This results in malpractice lawsuits.