When in the hands of health care professionals, it is expected that every measure is being taken to ensure safety. Although this is the intention in most care settings, mistakes happen, and there can also be lapses in communicating risks to patients. As a medical malpractice lawyer from Cohen & Cohen can explain, medical malpractice is an overarching term used to describe errors in treatment that result in harm to a patient. Even if harm that was caused was due to an honest mistake, patients may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages caused by medical malpractice by means of legal action.
In what treatment scenarios does medical malpractice most commonly happen?
When it comes to medical conditions, illnesses, and injuries, time is of the utmost importance. When a medical care provider fails to diagnose a condition, it may worsen to the point where it is untreatable, or even fatal. Delays in diagnosis of life-threatening health conditions, for example cancer, or heart failure means that precious time is being wasted that could be spent on treatment.
Some childbirth injuries are minor, but unfortunately, others can lead to life-long health implications for the baby and their family. When the injuries were preventable, or the risks were not properly communicated to the mother or family, malpractice may be a primary contributing factor.
Medical errors that are commonly associated with negligence or medical malpractice during childbirth:
- Misuse of forceps during childbirth
- Cesarean section errors or mistakes
- Placental abruption or other abnormalities
- nerve damage
- Oxygen deprivation
- Hemorrhage of the mother (pregnancy or labor)
Hospitals are places where infection-causing pathogens exist in higher concentrations than most other places. Although a considerable amount of time and effort are spent in hospitals to reduce a patient’s risk of infection by means of extensive infection reduction protocols, infections still happen fairly frequently.
There are a few general guidelines used to qualify an infection as hospital-associated:
- Infection identified up to 48 hours following admission to a hospital
- Infection occurrence up to three days after discharge
- Infection up to 30 days after surgery
- Patient hospital admission for reasons other than infection
When is cancer misdiagnosis considered to involve medical malpractice?
With many forms of cancer, early detection is instrumental in being able to successfully treat it. Unfortunately, when cancer is undiagnosed, progression of the disease is inevitable. In some cases the cancer will progress to the point where it is no longer treatable, leading to the most devastating of consequences for patients and their families.
When does failure to diagnose constitute medical malpractice?
Considered to be the most commonly observed form of medical malpractice, failing to diagnose medical conditions can have serious consequences. Patients seek out medical care in their time of need, and when ailments are ignored or simplified, the care provider may be acting negligently.
How can bedsores be a result of medical malpractice?
Also commonly referred to as pressure ulcers. Bedsores are a result of when a patient is immobile and confined to one place, commonly a hospital bed. When the healthcare providers fail to reposition an immobile patient on a regular basis, a bedsore can develop. These can easily become infected and lead to further health complications. Bedsores may also be a sign of habitual neglect in a care setting.