Three common medical mistakes
Medical malpractice costs the United States over $55 billion each year, and although increased restrictions and regulations have been somewhat successful, the number of injured patients continues to climb. Medical malpractice attorneys who represent clients after a medical or surgical mistake can help hold negligent providers accountable and encourage the rest of the medical profession to exercise care and good judgment.
There are many types of possible medical mistakes, but three common ones are incorrect treatment, mistakes during skilled care, and defective medical products. All three have different causes and produce different types of injuries, with varying levels of liability and proper treatment approach.
Patients assume their doctor will provide them with the correct treatment for their illness. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Even when physicians correctly diagnose a medical condition (which isn’t always guaranteed; misdiagnosis is an entirely separate type of medical malpractice), they may make a mistake in determining the right course of treatment.
Sometimes, a given condition may have multiple potential treatment options. In those cases, the doctor will make the best possible recommendation and discuss it with the patient, so that the patient can give informed consent. However, in other situations, a doctor may propose a treatment that is wildly inconsistent with the illness. The patient doesn’t know any better. The effects of such a mistake can be serious, both because the underlying condition goes untreated and because the new treatment can have major side effects. A patient injured by this kind of mistake can recover for both kinds of damages.
Another type of incorrect treatment has to do with prescriptions and other drugs. If a patient is allergic to a particular drug and a medical provider gives them the drug anyway, the patient may not realize what they are taking and suffer a serious allergic reaction as a result. In other cases, prescriptions can get mixed up, with a patient receiving drugs intended for someone else.
Skilled care mistakes
Medical malpractice can also include mistakes made by nurses or other support staff. An anesthesiologist who uses too much medicine to put a patient to sleep could cause permanent injuries that may not show up immediately. When patients are bedridden, nursing staff may forget to check on them or forget to respond to requests, causing them pain and making their condition worse. Therefore, medical malpractice may be committed even by staff who are not doctors.
Defective medical products
Every day, physicians are bombarded with advertisements for new medical products that are intended to help patients with various medical conditions. In some cases, physicians can even receive financial incentives to prescribe medical products to patients. However, some medical products are not well-tested or carry risks that aren’t fully explained to patients.
Common medical products which sometimes malfunction include stents, artificial valves, pacemakers, insulin pumps, and transvaginal mesh inserts. When a medical product doesn’t perform as advertised, damages can be severe. A medical product liability attorney like Cohen & Cohencan evaluate injuries and determine whether the product manufacturer can be held liable.