You probably think that medical malpractice is rare. The average person trusts their doctor implicitly and puts a lot of faith in the education and licensing systems that establish standards for the medical profession.
Sadly, medical malpractice is actually a major issue in the United States. In fact, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the country. Doctors and support staff at medical facilities can make many different kinds of mistakes which can have catastrophic consequences for the patients involved.
What are some of the most common forms of modern medical malpractice?
Misdiagnosis and diagnostic failure
A doctor can’t treat you for a medical issue if they can’t determine what issue you have. You rely on their knowledge of symptoms and access to testing infrastructure when you need to know what causes your symptoms.
Unfortunately, doctors in emergency rooms and office settings may not have much time to dedicate to individual patients. They may the wrong conclusion in their hopes of quickly diagnosing someone or might fail to diagnose someone at all. Especially when the condition that someone has could cause worsening damage, like cancer or a stroke, diagnostic failures can lead to major medical consequences.
Perhaps the pharmacist mixing the intravenous (IV) medication for the hospital to dispense to you makes a mistake with the dosage. Perhaps the nurse handing out your pills mixes your medication up with another patient’s.
Medication mistakes range from prescribing a drug to which a patient has a known allergy to administering a drug that causes an interaction with another medication they take. Medication mistakes can undermine the efficacy of treatment and could cause overdoses or allergic reactions.
The workers in hospitals and nursing homes don’t necessarily have enough time to provide adequate support for everyone in the facility. When nursing home workers fail to provide cushioning and rotation and someone develops severe bedsores or when hospital workers don’t help someone with mobility limitations and they fall, that negligence can lead to serious injuries for the patients involved.
There are other common forms of medical malpractice, including surgical mistakes and preventable birth injuries. Understanding that medical malpractice happens more than people realize can be the first step toward holding a professional or facility accountable for the poor care you received.