When you turn to a doctor to diagnose your symptoms and treat their cause, you effectively place your well-being in the hands of a licensed professional. You shouldn’t be able to rely on them to do what is in your best interests and to adhere to established best practices.
Unfortunately, some doctors commit acts of medical malpractice. They are negligent, they let their egos get in the way of their decision-making process or they fail to keep up-to-date on advances in the medical field. The result is that they make major, preventable mistakes while treating their patients and cause harm instead of providing healing and relief.
What are the most common forms of medical malpractice?
If there is one type of medical malpractice that is notorious and well-known, it is OB-GYN malpractice. When doctors make mistakes by failing to intervene or applying the wrong birth interventions, women can lose their fertility and infants can suffer lifelong injuries, like the development of cerebral palsy due to distress in utero.
Although birth injuries only occur in a tiny percentage of live births, they can cause catastrophic consequences for the child support, the mother and the rest of the family.
The most common form of medical malpractice is probably a failure to diagnose or a diagnostic error. Researchers estimate that doctors in the United States make about 12 million diagnostic mistakes every single year and that as many as 80,000 people may die annually because of doctor doesn’t diagnose them properly or quickly enough.
A patient in the hospital could receive the wrong drug from a nurse or have an IV set up improperly, resulting in an overdose. Someone picking up medication at the pharmacy could receive an improperly compounded suspension or a wrongly-labeled drug.
Medication mistakes can both affect the success of someone’s treatment and cause a broad range of negative reactions if someone takes the medication that they should not. There are many other kinds of mistakes that occur frequently, including surgical mistakes and neglect in hospital facilities.
Recognizing that medical malpractice is the deviation from best practices rather than just an unfortunate outcome can help those hurt by bad medical care take appropriate legal action afterward.