What is an Example of Medical Malpractice?

a doctor holding a stethoscope

Many people experience some amount of anxiety and stress when going to the doctor, especially before having an operation or another serious medical procedure. When you go to a hospital, you’re putting your health and life in the hands of the Rhode Island doctors and nurses who are caring for you.

At the hospital or elsewhere, if the medical professionals who are supposed to be helping you fail to correctly live up to their duty, it is more than disappointing. This not only damages your trust in them but can also leave you with serious physical consequences.

Common Forms of Medical Negligence

According to reports analyzed by the John Hopkins Institute over 250,000 deaths occur every year in the US due to medical error, and many other patients are harmed and suffer life-altering injuries. Doctors have an ethical and legal obligation to their patients – when they make preventable medical mistakes, they should be held accountable for their actions.

Medical malpractice is one of the practice areas that the lawyers at our law firm cover. We have gone up against big-name hospitals in Rhode Island and won large settlements for our clients.

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnosis

A doctor may diagnose a patient with one condition who in reality has a completely different condition altogether. When doctors misdiagnose a patient, it also means they fail to diagnose the correct problem, resulting in incorrect treatment or no treatment at all.

Medical conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Celiac disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Pulmonary embolism

An incorrect diagnosis can have detrimental consequences for patients. It can prolong their illness, cost them financially, permanently harm the person, and even result in wrongful death.

Childbirth injury

One of the most tragic types of medical malpractice cases is childbirth injuries. A medical error made before, during, or after childbirth can result in life-long effects.

Birth injuries may be caused by:

  • Poor prenatal care
  • Oxygen deprivation to the baby
  • Improper use of forceps
  • Errors during C-section
  • Mishandling of the baby after birth
  • Failure to recognize fetal distress

Some of these injuries may be minor, but others can have a long-term impact on the child and family. Parents who are raising a child with physical or mental disabilities often face a heavy emotional and financial burden.

Surgical errors

Most of us have heard horror stories of surgical errors, and the prospect of having it happen to us is terrifying. Tragically, surgical errors occur far more frequently than we would like to think.

Examples of surgical negligence include:

  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing an incorrect procedure
  • Failing to control bleeding
  • Leaving gauze, tools, or other medical devices inside the patient by mistake
  • Making anesthesia errors
  • Damaging soft tissue, nerves, or organs during the operation
  • Failing to follow proper protocol before or after surgery
  • Failing to provide proper follow-up care

There are usually several doctors and nurses in an operating room and any of them may make a mistake that causes the patient harm. A mistake during surgery can cause the patient to become permanently disfigured, be left in a lifetime of pain, or face other devastating consequences.

Medication errors

When a doctor prescribes a medication, we tend to trust his or her medical knowledge and experience, believing that the medicine we are given will make us better, not cause us harm. Improper administration, though, can be contributed to by lack of communication, insufficient knowledge of a condition, inadequate knowledge of the patient’s medical history, or other factors.

Prescription drug errors may include:

  • Prescribing an incorrect dosage
  • Writing the wrong prescription
  • Failing to recognize signs of abuse or addiction
  • Prescribing the wrong medication for the diagnosed condition
  • Failing to take into account a patient’s age or medical history
  • Failing to recognize dangerous interaction with other drugs or an allergic reaction

A medication error could be caused by the doctor prescribing the medication, the company manufacturing the drug, or the pharmacist distributing it.

Hospital infections

People who are ill, injured, and spreading harmful pathogens enter and exit the hospital all day long. Hospitals and other medical facilities should be clean and sterile to prevent the spread of disease and infection.

Hospital-acquired infections may be caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral pathogen and could cause:

  • Pneumonia
  • C-Diff
  • MRSA
  • Staph infections
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Urinary tract infections

A hospital-acquired infection can cause a patient to leave the hospital sicker than when he or she entered. Oftentimes, the spread of infection could have been prevented if healthcare professionals had followed proper hygiene procedures and protocols.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

There are other examples of medical malpractice which are not listed here. If you believe your condition was caused by a negligent healthcare professional, please come get free legal advice from us regarding your next step.

The compassionate attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush Law Offices have helped many victims of medical malpractice in Rhode Island recover financial compensation. Some of our clients have been awarded multi-million dollar settlements. Call us or fill out the online form to schedule a free case consultation with one of our award-winning lawyers today. 

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