Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know
Here at the Mike Hostilo Law Firm, we know that medical malpractice can take on many different forms, and no two cases are ever the same
Modern medicine is complicated and it's very important to understand that a doctor's smallest error may have life-altering (or even life-ending) consequences for his or her patients.
We want you to know that medical malpractice can occur in any medical situation, including but not limited to, dental appointments, emergency room visits, routine health checkups, or even a high-risk surgical procedure. Below you will find some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
After you are admitted to a hospital, medical school, emergency room, dental office, or any other competent medical facility, the first step is figuring out what is wrong. Correctly diagnosing symptoms is extremely important for providing medical treatment to any patient. Unfortunately, sometimes symptoms are not immediately easily identifiable and when this happens diagnosing the patient incorrectly may occur. Below are a few common misdiagnoses:
● Misdiagnosis of Symptoms of Impending Heart Attack
● Misdiagnosis of Stroke
● Misdiagnosis of Diabetes
● Failure to Recognize Meningitis
● Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis
● Failure to Recognize DVT and Pulmonary Embolism
● Failure to Diagnose Cancer
If a patient is not properly treated due to a diagnostic error, the doctor may be held responsible for any subsequent injuries or damages.
It is important to note that if another doctor would have accurately handled the same condition correctly the first time, a delayed diagnosis may be considered medical negligence. Rather than being treated, if the disease or accident gets worse, the delay being diagnosed may cause extreme harm to the patient.
A doctor’s heavy workload is often a factor in why a prompt diagnosis is delayed. These heavy workloads often limit the doctor’s ability to administer medical care efficiently and effectively. In these situations, the hospital or clinic may be held responsible for any losses that happen while waiting on a diagnosis and proper care. Some of the more serious examples of delayed diagnosis are:
● Untimely Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease
● Delay in Diagnosis of Heart Attack
● Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke
● Delay in Cancer Diagnosis
● Failure to Timely Diagnose Appendicitis
● Delay in Diagnosing Internal Trauma Injury
Any delay in diagnosing and treating an illness or accident reduces the patient's chances of recovery.
Medical malpractice from surgery is a serious matter and can lead to further procedures, infection and sepsis, internal organ injury, immune system failure, and even death. Surgical procedures require a high degree of skill and even small errors can significantly impact the patient.
Examples of surgical mistakes include but are not limited to:
● Wrong-Site Surgery
● Accidental Lacerations of an Internal Organ
● Uncontrolled Blood Loss
● Organ Perforation
● Foreign Object Left in the Patient's Body
Wrong Site Surgery:
Wrong-site surgery is a form of surgical error that occurs when a surgeon operates on the wrong organ or external body part due to a miscommunication or an error in hospital records.
In some of the most extreme cases of wrong-site surgery, patients that need surgery for an arm or leg amputation, can have the wrong one amputated, resulting in the loss of both limbs.
Foreign Object Left in a Patient:
In some cases, a patient's infection and sepsis symptoms may appear days or weeks after a surgical procedure. A foreign object mistakenly left in their body by the surgeon may be one of the reasons.
In a situation like this, gauze, another soft medical covering or absorbent substance is left in the body by mistake, resulting in inflammation, sepsis, and/or shock.
This form of careless medical treatment can go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years, before the consequences become apparent. This can often require additional surgery in order to remove the object. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario is that a patient develops a severe infection and succumbs to septic shock due to this type of medical negligence.
Unnecessary surgery often occurs when a patient's symptoms are misdiagnosed or when a medical decision is made without considering other options or possible dangers.
It is also important to note that surgery is often preferred over more traditional approaches. This is due to surgery’s practicality and ease. Below you will find some of the most commonly performed unnecessary surgical procedures:
● Pacemaker Implant
● Coronary Bypass Surgery
● Cesarean Section
Although these operations are often appropriate options and may save lives, the patient's condition does not often necessitate such drastic and painful procedures.
A study conducted by the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia shows that about 20% of all pacemaker operations are unnecessary. Heartbeat irregularities in patients could be handled through much less invasive methods.
Although performing an unnecessary surgery is not medical malpractice in and of itself, any surgical operation carries significant risks. Suppose an accident could have been prevented by not having the surgical operation. In this case, the doctor's decision to order it could be considered negligent, and he or she could be held responsible for any damages caused as a result of the procedure.
Errors in Anesthesia:
Anesthesia is an extremely dangerous component of any major surgical procedure, and it must be administered and monitored by a physician and anesthesiologist.
Before any surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will study the patient's medical history, prior prescriptions, allergies, and the operation's time specifications to decide the best drug combination to use.
Anesthesia errors can also occur during the pre-operative medical examination or during the procedure itself.
There are many types of medical negligence claims, however it depends on the case on how you can best claim those.
The Mike Hostilo Law Firm wants you to be prepared should you need surgery and also understand that if complications arise due to negligence, we are always here to help you
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