Doctors performing surgery

The basis for a malpractice claim is that a medical provider made an error which would have not occurred given the expected standard of care under similar circumstances. If a patient receives sub-standard care from a medical professional and it results in harm to the patient, it may be a case of malpractice. Errors that could lead to malpractice typically stem from poor judgement by a medical professional or when a medical professional improperly performs a treatment.

Here are three types of errors that may be associated with malpractice cases.

Errors related to a diagnosis

Diagnosing a condition is not always easy. Symptoms can be similar for a variety of conditions. Still, we depend on doctors to diagnose a condition accurately and quickly so that it can be treated properly. Poor judgement on the part of a physician could result in a delayed or missed diagnosis. A physician may be held accountable for a misdiagnosis when a diagnosis differs from the diagnosis that would have been assigned by other similarly trained doctors under the same circumstances. Likewise, a physician may be responsible for a delayed diagnosis if the time it took to make the diagnosis was notably longer than it would have taken other similarly trained doctors under the same circumstances.

Errors related to medication

Prescribing a medication might seem like a simple thing for a doctor to do, but poor judgement could lead to errors. When possible, it’s a good idea to double check that a written prescription matches what your doctor discussed with you. Also, when you receive the medication, check that it matches your written prescription. Common errors in regard to medications include the following:

  • The wrong medication was prescribed by a doctor.
  • A wrong dosage for the correct medication was prescribed by a doctor.
  • The prescription was filled incorrectly by a pharmacy.
  • A drug was given to the wrong patient in a hospital or clinic.
  • An incorrect dosage was received by a patient because the medication was administered by malfunctioning equipment, such as an I.V. pump.

Errors related to surgery

Any surgery has some degree of risk. Your doctor should explain your risks with you prior to your procedure. However, if a surgery results in errors that were not part of the risks generally associated with the particular surgery, and those errors could have been prevented with proper planning or procedures, it may be a case of malpractice. There are many ways surgeries could be performed improperly, but some of the most common errors include the following:

  • Performing a surgery on the wrong patient.
  • Operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body.
  • Unanticipated nerve damage that was not part of the generally accepted risks of the procedure.
  • Failing to remove surgical equipment from inside the patient.
  • Anesthesia errors such as a wrong dosage or failure to recognize a patient’s allergy.
  • Postoperative complications that are either not diagnosed or not timely diagnosed.

If you have encountered any of the situations above, you should speak with a lawyer who has experience with medical malpractice. He or she will be able to help you assess the situation and determine if your case meets the requirements for medical malpractice.

David A. Axelrod and Associates has the knowledge to evaluate your potential malpractice case and has recovered millions of dollars for clients. Contact us for a free consultation.


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