Medical professionals receive extensive training before they are permitted to seek employment. They are also subject to strict requirements related to their job performance. They need to maintain licenses to work in the medical field and could face disciplinary action over poor outcomes and patient complaints.
Despite the high standards for healthcare workers, mistakes and negligence are common issues that frequently compromise the care that patients receive. Medical malpractice is one of the most serious safety concerns for residents in the United States. Errors made by medical professionals are a leading cause of preventable injury and death. People who are aware of the most common forms of medical malpractice may be in a better position to advocate for themselves or family members when treatment is necessary.
Before a patient can start treatment for their symptoms, they generally need an accurate diagnosis. Physicians cannot resolve someone’s symptoms without understanding what actually causes them. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes fail to diagnose patients, possibly because they can’t see the big picture. Other times, they reach the wrong diagnosis, a medical mistake known as misdiagnosis. Such errors lead to delays in treatment or the wrong medical interventions, both of which can cause serious issues for patients.
Mistakes with prescribed drugs can occur in a variety of environments. Doctors may recommend a drug that has an interaction with another prescription the patient already takes. Pharmacists could mislabel medications or mix up the drugs they need to dispense. Nurses handing out pills or setting up intravenous (IV) fluids for someone in a medical facility could make any number of mistakes that lead to someone receiving the wrong drug or the right drug as in the wrong dose. Such mistakes can diminish the likelihood of successful treatment and could lead to a host of medical consequences.
Severe birth injuries are relatively rare, but minor birth injuries are somewhat common. Medical professionals frequently make small mistakes that can lead to major consequences for a pregnant woman or her unborn child. Birth injuries can cause permanent nerve damage for children or a host of medical consequences for the mother, including permanent infertility.
When patients either know or suspect that medical errors directly contributed to their poor outcomes, they may benefit from taking legal action. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can potentially lead to both compensation for the affected parties and consequences for the negligent healthcare provider or the facility that employs them.