Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or healthcare provider is negligent in handling your medical care or the care of a loved one. It is a serious situation that can have acute consequences for the victims and their families.
- 10% of all deaths in the United States are caused by medical errors (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
- About 17,000 medical malpractice suits are filed annually (Hofstra University)
- Among physicians age 65 and older, 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties had faced a malpractice claim while 99% of physicians in high-risk specialties had faced a malpractice claim. (The New England Journal of Medicine)
Everyone makes mistakes, but when doctors and other medical professionals make mistakes, the results can be catastrophic. According to a 2016 report by Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 250,000 deaths in the United States are caused by medical malpractice every year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. This includes malpractice cases involving all types of practitioners, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, one of the best things you can do is get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice cases are very complex and the sooner you able to get in touch with a lawyer, the sooner they can get to work helping you.
Medical malpractice attorneys within the 1-800-LAW-FIRM Legal Network handle many different types of malpractice claims, including:
Surgery always comes with risks. Even during minor, routine surgical procedures, it’s very easy for things to go wrong and seriously harm the patient. The tragic reality is that many different types of surgical errors are very preventable. In the medical industry, some types of surgical errors are referred to as “never events” because they are so egregious that they should never occur.
For millions of people, medication is a daily part of their lives. People depend on medication to help them feel better, not make their situation worse. But for medication to be helpful, it’s essential that it be administered correctly. When doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals make mistakes with medications, patients can be seriously harmed.
According to the World Health Organization, about 1.3 million people in the United States are injured by medication errors every year. In some cases, medication errors have the potential to be fatal.
Unsanitary conditions in healthcare facilities
You don’t need an advanced medical degree to know how important clean, sterile environments are in hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities. Bacteria thrives in dirty environments and when healthcare facilities aren’t kept as clean as they should be, it’s very easy for a patient’s bad situation to become even worse.
When healthcare facilities try to cut corners on sterilizing their spaces and medical instruments, patients are in jeopardy for serious infections and other illnesses. According to the CDC, about 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection on any given day. If a patient already has a compromised immune system, additional complications caused by unsanitary conditions can be absolutely devastating.
It’s important to remember that hospitals are just one place where patients can be harmed by unsanitary conditions. Healthcare-acquired infections can also occur in places like ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient care facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and dialysis centers.
Incorrectly reading lab test results
Medical testing plays a valuable role in helping doctors make crucial decisions about their patients. The information that X-Rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other types of medical tests provide serve as the basis for reaching a diagnosis and deciding how to approach treatment. So when mistakes are made in conducting or reading lab tests, it can be the beginning of a life-threatening chain of events.
When medical test results are read incorrectly, it can result in a wide range of problems for patients. A misdiagnosis can lead to a patient receiving improper treatment while treatment for the real issue is delayed. Because of that delay, a person’s condition could worsen and become more difficult to treat. In a truly catastrophic case, a mistake with a lab test could result in unnecessary surgery.
Diagnostic errors are a significant problem in the medical field. One 2014 study found that approximately 12 million adults in the United States are misdiagnosed in outpatient care medical facilities every year. Out of all those cases of misdiagnosis, it’s estimated that about half of them could potentially be harmful to patients.
Errors resulting from inadequate staffing levels
Even under the best circumstances, taking care of patients isn’t easy. Every patient has their own unique needs and it’s important that nurses have enough time to check in on their patients. Unfortunately, far too many hospitals and other medical facilities are understaffed and the nurses on staff are unable to give every patient the care and attention they need.
When hospitals are understaffed, it’s very easy for dangerous mistakes to be made. If nurses are overworked and fatigued, the more likely it is that they’ll forget to give a patient a dose of medication or overlook changes in vital signs that could indicate a serious problem. It’s also more likely that a patient might fall by trying to get up and do something for themselves because nobody was able to help them. Patients in understaffed hospitals are also more likely to experience complications like infections and bedsores.
Many malpractice cases have a “statute of limitations,” or a time frame when legal proceedings may be brought against a medical provider or institution. If you wait too long to begin your process of justice, it may be too late.
Don’t leave anything to chance! Let an experienced law firm assist you through the complex medical malpractice legal process. If you were affected by medical malpractice our attorneys are available to support you and to help ensure you receive the full care, compensation and justice you deserve.