Medical malpractice is common in the United States and encompasses different healthcare areas. Women are affected eight percent more than men, and almost as many outpatients experienced medical malpractice as those who were hospital patients in 2014. Although there are many causes for medical malpractice, the following are some major areas where negligence can occur. In Florida, a medical malpractice attorney in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, or Boca Raton can help an individual who has been injured by medical negligence.
According to statistics by a healthcare insurance company, medical malpractice payouts for 2014 totaled over 3.8 billion dollars with 33 percent due to misdiagnosis and 24 percent due to surgical errors. In Florida, the payout was $236 million, an increase of 18.97 percent over 2013.
Most malpractice claims were made against physicians for misdiagnosis, according to multiple studies conducted over a two-year period ending in 2013. Misdiagnosis was most common in adults when it came to cancer, ectopic pregnancy, heart attack, broken bones, and appendicitis. Misdiagnosis among children was most common with cancers and meningitis. According to the medical director of the country’s largest insurer against medical malpractice that is physician-owned, delayed and wrong diagnosis accounts for the highest number of claims in all medical specialties.
Medication errors account for up to 20 percent of medical malpractice claims. This may be caused by a prescription error by the pharmacist, being prescribed the wrong medication, drug interactions when a patient is taking other medications, or a hospital patient being given the wrong drug or wrong dosage. Medication errors can also occur by equipment malfunction that causes medication, such as intravenous ones, to be administered incorrectly.
Injuries Associated With Childbirth
From fetal injuries and negligence during prenatal care to problems during and after childbirth, all of these areas can be subject to medical malpractice when a physician does not practice the normal standard of care. Fetal or birth injuries may result in seizure problems, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and bone fractures, among other conditions.
Malpractice during prenatal care can result in misdiagnosis of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or failure to diagnose conditions in the mother that could adversely affect the child. Negligence that occurs during childbirth can harm both the baby and the mother. Common errors include a tangled umbilical cord, fetal distress, errors during forceps delivery, or failure to correctly handle birth complications.
Errors With Anesthesia
Because the administration of anesthesia involves many steps, errors are not uncommon. From prescription to preparation and through to administration and inadequate familiarity with the equipment being used, problems such as fatigue may contribute to medical errors with anesthesia. Common errors include giving a patient the wrong dosage, failing to monitor the patient, and improper intubation.
This type of medical error may include wrong-site surgery, leaving in a surgical instrument, or damaging another part of the body during the operation. Infections from improperly cleaned instruments or post-op care are also categorized as surgical errors.
Lack of Consent
Another type of medical error can occur when a patient has not given consent for treatment. Physicians are required to inform a patient of the condition, possible treatments, recommendations, and potential side effects and risks. Failure to do so is considered medical malpractice. In other words, the patient must be given sufficient information to make an informed decision.
When to Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney
An individual who believes that he or she has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice can benefit from consulting with a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can use experts to review medical records to ascertain if fault is involved and help by filing a lawsuit to recover damages. Kaiser Romanello offers a free case evaluation to review the case, answer questions, and is experienced in medical malpractice cases.