4 Common Types of Medical Malpractice

4 Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional makes unreasonably careless errors resulting in harm to a patient. To have a valid medical malpractice claim, certain requirements must be met, including establishing a patient-doctor relationship, proving a doctor's negligence in a diagnosis or treatment, and demonstrating that the negligence directly caused an injury.

Common kinds of medical malpractice claims often involve the following:

Misdiagnosis — Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a patient is incorrectly diagnosed, experiences a delayed diagnosis, or is not diagnosed at all, resulting in harm or worsening of their condition. Misdiagnosis cases are a common form of medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States.

To prove medical malpractice based on misdiagnosis, a person must demonstrate that the misdiagnosis was an unreasonable medical error leading to harm to the patient. Common types of medical misdiagnosis include:

  • Wrong diagnosis — The patient is diagnosed with a condition they do not actually have due to incomplete information or diagnostic errors.
  • Missed diagnosis — The patient is wrongly given a clean bill of health despite the presence of an underlying medical issue, often due to rare or mild diseases.
  • Delayed diagnosis — The correct diagnosis is made, but it is delayed, leading to disease progression or the need for more aggressive treatments.
  • Failure to recognize complications — The doctor correctly diagnoses a condition but fails to identify additional factors that can complicate the disease, resulting in harm to the patient.
  • Failure to recognize a related or unrelated disease — The doctor correctly diagnoses one condition but fails to diagnose a related or unrelated disease that could affect the patient's treatment and outcome.

Medication Errors — Prescription drug errors occur when a healthcare professional makes a mistake in prescribing, administering, or labeling medication, resulting in harm to a patient. Some examples of prescription drug errors include administering the wrong medication, administering the wrong dose of medication, mislabeling medication, prescribing harmful medication without considering allergies or drug interactions, and failing to warn patients about medication side effects.

Medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, can be held responsible for medication errors. Manufacturers and pharmacies may also be liable in certain cases.

To win a medical malpractice case for a medication error, an injured party must prove that there was a duty of care owed, that the responsible party breached that duty by failing to meet the standard of care, that this breach caused the injury, and that damages resulted from the error. It is important to consult with an experienced Billings medical malpractice attorney who can assess your case and help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Surgical Errors — When it comes to surgical errors, not all instances constitute medical malpractice. To establish a medical malpractice claim for a surgical error, the following elements must be proven:

  • The medical treatment fell below the appropriate standard of care — The standard of care refers to the level of care and skill that a reasonably competent surgeon with similar training and experience would provide in the same community under similar circumstances. If the surgeon's actions deviate from this standard, it may be considered a breach of duty.
  • The substandard care caused an actual injury
  • — It must be demonstrated that the substandard care directly caused harm to the patient. If no injury or harm resulted from the surgical error, there may not be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

Common surgical errors include damaging nerves, anesthesia errors, operating on the wrong location or body part, leaving surgical instruments or sponges inside the body, or failing to repair an accidental organ perforation. These errors can occur due to various factors, such as miscommunication, lack of preparation, fatigue, incompetence, or shortcuts during the procedure.

If you believe you have been a victim of a surgical error or medical malpractice, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney in your jurisdiction who can evaluate the specifics of your case and guide you through the legal process.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Injuries — Birth injury medical negligence can have significant short-term effects on both a mother and a baby. Some of the short-term effects can include the following for a mother:

  • Excessive bleeding or hemorrhage
  • Severe tearing or lacerations
  • Infections
  • Organ damage
  • Anesthesia-related complications

For a child, the effects could include:

  • Oxygen deprivation leading to brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb's palsy or other nerve injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Infections
  • Jaundice and related complications
  • Respiratory distress or breathing difficulties
  • Injuries from forceps or vacuum extraction

These short-term effects can still have long-term consequences. Birth injuries resulting from medical negligence may lead to permanent disabilities, developmental delays, cognitive impairments, motor function impairments, and ongoing medical needs for the affected child, and the emotional and financial impact on the family can also be significant.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Montana Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a member of your family have suffered harm because of medical malpractice, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with a med mal attorney in Montana, call our office today or contact us online.