How Common Are Medical Mistakes and Medical Malpractice?

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The hospital is one of the places where most people go with their guard down because they believe that the attending medical practitioner is well trained and will do what they are supposed to do. For the most part, medical practitioners live up to expectations. 

But there are some cases when they make errors, which can be costly to them and the patients. If the errors made by a medical practitioner are a result of negligence, the affected party has a right to compensation. But they may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the attending practitioner or the facility where they suffered the injury. 

Medical Malpractice Statistics

According to a John Hopkins study, over 250,000 Americans die annually from medical practitioners’ errors. Other studies suggest that the number could be as high as 440,000. 

Going by the statistics, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer. Below are common types of medical errors that could potentially lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit:

Surgical Errors

While surgical errors may not be the leading type of medical error, it contributes to a significant number of medical errors. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine 

Journal, over 4000 surgical errors occur annually in American hospitals. 

Surgical errors can take many forms, including operating on the wrong area, operating on the wrong patient, or conducting an operation while it was not necessary. Unfortunately, some surgical errors result in irreversible damage, altering a patient’s life.

Misdiagnosis and Late Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis and late diagnoses are closely related but have some subtle differences. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis of a patient. As a result, they prescribe the wrong treatment regimen. 

The wrong treatment regimen can mean having the patient take medicine that could harm or, even worse, undergo surgeries they never needed. Also, the patient’s condition worsens because it is not addressed in time. 

A late diagnosis occurs when a doctor is late at making a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the late diagnosis means the patient’s condition deteriorates before they get the help they need. 

Medication Errors

Medical errors occur when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or prescribes the correct medication but the wrong dosage. Other circumstances where medication errors could occur are when the medication could have passed its expiration date or when the dispensing pharmacists make a mistake. 

Irrespective of what causes medication errors, they can seriously harm the patient, including death or other medical complications. 

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: You Could Be Entitled To Compensation 

You could be entitled to compensation if you believe you have suffered harm due to a medical practitioner’s error. But compensation doesn’t happen automatically. You will need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit with the at-fault doctor or facility. 

Medical malpractice lawsuits are the most challenging of all personal injury cases. Approaching such a case without the help of a personal injury lawyer will more often than not result in losing or getting a lower-than-ideal settlement figure. 

When choosing a lawyer for a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is best to look at their experience with similar cases to be sure that you recover what you deserve.

Final Words

Medical mistakes and errors occur everywhere and at any time and have devastating consequences. The types of medical errors highlighted above may not be exhaustive, but it focuses on American hospitals’ most prevalent medical errors.

If you suffered harm due to a doctor or a medical practitioner’s negligence, consider talking to a medical malpractice lawyer for help determining if you have a case or not.

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