What are the Most Common Fatal Medical Malpractice Errors?
Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have fatal consequences for patients. And it’s more common than you may think. In South Carolina, countless common medical malpractice errors lead to serious harm or even death each year. In fact, one study goes so far as to predict that as many as 251,000 deaths per year are due to medical malpractice mistakes in the United States alone.
For those affected by medical malpractice mistakes, the results can be devastating, leaving families shattered and drowning in relentless medical bills.
However, if medical malpractice is at play, then it’s possible to receive financial compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death. Contacting a medical malpractice attorney will give you the best chance at recovering your losses and ensuring that no other patient is harmed by the same doctor’s careless mistakes.
Below are some of the most common and fatal medical malpractice mistakes we see in our practice today.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can result in unnecessary procedures or worsening an illness. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a patient’s condition, while failure to diagnose is any type of excessive delay in diagnosing a patient or failing to miss the condition altogether.
Failure to diagnose often occurs when doctors dismiss patient symptoms. It’s most commonly seen among women, people of color, and the overweight, especially when doctors intentionally ignore self-reported symptoms such as pain or distress.
When a doctor’s willful ignorance to listen to a patient results in the worsening of a condition, there is fertile ground to file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. Likewise, any type of misdiagnosis that results in harmful and unnecessary treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or, worst-case scenario, death, is also grounds for filing a medical malpractice suit.
Medication errors are another common medical malpractice error. This can occur when a doctor prescribes the incorrect medication, the wrong dosage, or fails to consider the patient’s medical history and other medications they may be currently taking. Medication errors typically happen due to careless errors or failure to pay attention to patient paperwork and details. These simple errors can have serious consequences, including allergic reactions, drug interactions, and even death. Medication errors also occur due to a failure to advise the patient adequately about potential medication side effects.
Surgery always comes with risks, so it’s no surprise that surgical errors can lead to severe harm or death. When a doctor fails to provide the standard set of care guidelines, it can result in serious injury to the patient. Surgical errors are caused by various factors, but the most common among them are miscommunication between surgical team members or fatigue and stress. These errors can result in life-threatening consequences like infection, organ damage, circulatory/respiratory failure, blood clots, internal bleeding, and death.
Anesthesia doctors are particularly notorious for having some of the best medical malpractice attorneys around. Why? Anesthesia mistakes are relatively common and can often result in fatal consequences. Anesthesia errors occur when a patient is given too much or too little anesthesia or when there is a failure to properly monitor the patient during the procedure. These errors can lead to serious harm or death, including brain damage, organ failure, or cardiac arrest.
Hospital-acquired infections are another standard medical malpractice error. When hospitals fail to sterilize equipment properly, maintain a clean environment, or follow appropriate infection control protocols, patients can become infected with potentially deadly bacteria, such as MRSA or C. difficile. Death by infection may be more common in immunocompromised patients and the elderly. In most cases, they are the direct result of a hospital failing to follow safety guidelines.
Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Finally, failure to obtain informed consent can also lead to medical malpractice claims. When doctors fail to fully inform patients of the risks and benefits of a procedure or treatment, and the patient is harmed as a result, they may have a legal claim for medical malpractice.
In conclusion, medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have fatal consequences for patients. In South Carolina, several common medical malpractice errors can lead to serious harm or even death. When a death occurs due to medical malpractice, the best thing you can do is seek the advice of an experienced attorney to determine your legal options.
Because medical malpractice is a highly specialized field with special laws in place, and because doctors and hospitals have extremely knowledgeable and skilled medical malpractice attorneys representing them, it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer with the knowledge necessary to fight for your claim.