Medical Malpractice : Even Doctors Make Mistakes

Doctors are often looked up to as people of wisdom and authority. Whatever they say will surely be followed. But what if the person we look up to is the one who caused the injury or death to your loved one? This is one simple case of medical malpractice. This is nothing new in the field of medicine. In fact, according to the website of Union Law Firm, medical mistakes are claiming the lives of more than 100,000 patients yearly in the United States alone. According to Forbes, in 2012, over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts.

However, it is worth noting that just because the doctor made a mistake does not make it a medical malpractice already. To be deemed as such, the act should satisfy three conditions. First, there has to be a form of negligence in some way. Second, the negligent act of the doctor caused harm to the patient. On its website, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP revealed that medication errors can have a huge impact on the lives of patients.

Medical malpractice is defined as a practice or act of a physician that deviates from the standard practice in the medical community which results to injury or even death to a patient. It is considered as “negligence” on the part of the doctor. To make a doctor liable for medical malpractice, four elements must be present: 1) there is a professional obligation owed to the patient; 2) there is breach of duty; 3) such breach caused injury to the patient; and 4) resulting damages.

When it comes to medical malpractice, one should always keep in mind that just because a doctor made a mistake or a patient was unhappy with a treatment method or result does not necessarily mean there is malpractice. Here are some of the most common errors that have found their way in the annals of medical malpractice cases:

1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis represents a huge chunk of medical malpractice cases. When a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis or delays it, the patient might miss treatment options which could have help prevent serious harm or even death.

2. Childbirth Injuries

The negligence of a doctor can result to several fetal injuries, such as cerebral palsy and seizure disorders, bone fracture, and others. But these conditions or injuries often result from other factors outside of medical malpractice.

3. Medication Errors

A 2006 study revealed that medication errors can cause harm to 1.5 million Americans yearly. The error can happen in various instances such as during the initial prescription to drug administration. The most common example of errors in medication is when the patient gets more than or less than what should be prescribed.

4. Anesthesia Errors

Errors in the administration of anesthesia is usually more fatal than surgery mistakes. A small amount of error by the anesthesiologist can cause permanent injury, brain damage, or even death. Medical malpractice comes in even prior to administration when the anesthesiologist fails to check the medical history of the patient for possible complications or they fail to notify the patient of the potential risks if preoperative instructions are not followed. Some of the most common anesthesia errors include failure to monitor the patient’s vital signs, using defective equipment, administering too much anesthesia, or improper intubating of patients.

5. Surgery Errors

During surgery, a surgeon or nurse can commit medical malpractice in a variety of ways. For instance, the surgeon might make an error during the procedure itself. Some common operating room procedures include puncturing internal organs, surgery on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical instruments in the body. There is negligence on the part of the nursing staff during the administration of post-op care which could lead to serious complications.

Every individual is entitled to the best and appropriate health care and no one should take it away from them. Medical malpractice is one of the ways that such right can be taken away from them.