Medical malpractice is a tragedy. More than 250,000 people die each year because of medical mistakes. This means that medical errors are one of the three leading causes of death in the United States – ranking behind cancer and heart disease.
There are three common types of medical malpractice lawsuits – failure to make the correct diagnosis, birth injuries and medication errors. In this blog, we discuss these medical errors in order to help you determine whether you have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence.
Failure to Make the Right Diagnosis
Although many doctors are competent and extremely hardworking, a medical error and a medical malpractice lawsuit can result if a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis because he/she failed to notice something that another doctor working under similar conditions would have taken into account.
The numbers on misdiagnoses are staggering. While previous studies examining the rates of medical misdiagnosis focused on patients in hospital settings, one study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety noted that quite a number of patients are being misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices.
According to the study, each year in the U.S. about 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed. This means that 1 out of 20 adult patients are misdiagnosed. Even worse, the study noted that in about 50 percent of the cases, the misdiagnosis had the potential to result in severe harm.
Birth injuries most often happen during labor and delivery. According to one estimate, about 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States are born with a birth injury, meaning that about one out of every 9,714 people in the U.S. is born with a birth injury. In many instances, bones are broken or nerves are damaged.
In one instance, a Maryland couple took a prominent Baltimore-based medical provider to court arguing that the hospital failed to recognize signs of fetal distress in their child who was born with significant and irreversible brain damage.
About 1.3 million people are injured every year in the United States as a result of medication errors, according to MedicineNet.com.
Medication errors can happen in several different ways. In some instances, the patient is simply given the wrong medication. A patient can be given the wrong prescription by her doctor or her pharmacist. Dosage mistakes are a common form of medication error. A nurse may give the patient more or less of a drug than is required. Hospital equipment can also come into play. If a patient is being given a drug through a pump and the equipment malfunctions or wasn’t working properly in the first place, a dosage mistake can occur.
Age seems to play a role in medication errors. Almost half of the fatal medication errors noted in one study occurred in people over the age of 60, perhaps because older people are often on more medications than younger people.
The Law Offices of Thomas Maronick Jr. has experience with medical malpractice cases. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.244.5068 or one of our attorneys through our website for more information.