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Medical Malpractice 101


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An introduction to negligence in the medical profession

Published in: Law
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Medical Malpractice 101

  1. 1. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE 101 An introduction to negligence in the medical profession
  2. 2. UNDERSTANDING NEGLIGENCE In the medical profession, negligence is the failure to meet the standard of care provided by an average medical professional in a particular specialty. If a doctor or other medical professional is negligent in their practice, and that negligence causes a patient harm, the patient can seek compensation for their damages through a medical malpractice claim.
  3. 3. WHY MEDICAL MALPRACTICEOCCURS Doctors and nurses might make mistakes for a number of reasons, including:  Fatigue  Distraction of doctors or medical staff  Overworked doctors or staff  Excessive number of patients  Doctor inexperience  Faulty medical records  “Tunnel-vision” by doctors (failure to see the larger context of a patient’s medical problems despite the evidence)
  4. 4. DIDYOU KNOW?  Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to research published in the BMJ.  The vast majority of medical errors go unreported. A study published in the medical journal Health Affairs found that 90% of hospital errors that cause patients harm go unreported. One report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that over 80% of hospital errors involving Medicare patients aren’t reported by hospital employees.  Just 1% of doctors account for one-third of all medical malpractice claims.
  5. 5. CONSEQUENCESOF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE When malpractice does occur, patients can suffer dearly for the mistakes of the medical professionals. Consequences for patients include:  Further injury of an existing medical condition  New injuries due to malpractice  Medical bills resulting from malpractice  Loss of work ability  Diminished quality of life  Wrongful death in medical malpractice
  6. 6. ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE Anesthesiologists require extensive training in order to perform their jobs without doing harm to their patients. Anesthesia can be very dangerous if administered improperly. Anesthesia malpractice can occur:  Before a surgery - If a patient isn’t instructed on what they should and shouldn’t do before a procedure, or if a patient’s history isn’t reviewed.  During a surgery - If anesthesia is not administered properly, if vitals aren’t monitored correctly, or if faulty equipment is used.  After the surgery - If improper care is used during a patient’s recovery phase.
  7. 7. BIRTH INJURIES Birth injuries come in many forms, some of which can result in permanent damage that a child and their family must live with for the rest of their lives. A few examples of birth injuries caused by malpractice include:  Cerebral palsy  Erb’s palsy  Shoulder dystocia  Brachial plexus injury  Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation)  Spastic quadriplegia
  8. 8. DENTAL MALPRACTICE Mistakes in dentistry can have terrible consequences for patients. Dental negligence can be costly, painful and lead to extensive medical needs in patients. Examples of dental malpractice include:  Tongue nerve injury during surgery (which can affect your ability to taste)  Defective oral devices  Complications from poorly applied dental crowns and bridges  Failure to account for a patient’s medical history  Failure to detect periodontal disease or oral cancer  Anesthesia complications  Unnecessary extraction of teeth  Extraction of the wrong teeth
  9. 9. GASTRIC BYPASS MALPRACTICE Gastric bypass surgery and lap-bands have helped thousands of people in their struggles against obesity, yet so many patients have been injured by gastric bypass malpractice. Examples include:  Leaks  Surgical errors  Failure to acknowledge complaints  Excessive pain  Medical problems such as blood clotting, kidney failure, or difficulties breathing
  10. 10. PRESCRIPTION ERRORS Prescription errors cause harm to approximately 1.5 million people in the United States every single year. Prescription errors can occur at many stages of the prescription process, from the doctor who writes the prescription to the pharmacist who fills it. Prescription errors include:  Safety protocol failures  Misread prescriptions  Incorrect abbreviations  Improper dosage  Medication mix-ups  Injection and IV errors
  11. 11. SURGICAL ERRORS Every year, 4,000 patients suffer serious or fatal injuries due to surgical errors.They include:  Infections  Surgical mix-ups and wrong procedure errors  Improper administration of medications or anesthesia  Causing damage to organs or nerves because of misuse or mishandling of surgical implements
  12. 12. FOREIGNOBJECTS LEFT IN BODY DURINGSURGERY In addition to the previously mentioned surgical errors, medical professionals may also leave objects in a patient’s body after the surgery is complete. A report from the Joint Commission found that from 2005 to 2012, there were 772 foreign objects left in the bodies of patients.These incidents were much more likely to occur in emergency surgeries. A few examples of the objects left in patients are:  Sponges  Needles  Forceps  Clamps
  13. 13. HAVEYOU BEENTHE VICTIMOF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? If you or a family member has been injured because of a medical mistake, you’ll need a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer who will look out for your best interests. Pursuing a claim of medical malpractice could help you recover from your losses, as well as protect other people from dangerous or careless doctors. Call us today at (800) 529-6600, or fill out our contact form, for your free consultation.