Medical malpractice

Four Types of Medical Malpractice and How To Avoid Them

February 10, 2016 by James McHugh, Jr.
Types of Medical Malpractice

Because medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death for adults in the United States, it’s crucial for patients to understand what types of medical malpractice can take place and how to avoid them. Under Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs whenever a doctor or healthcare professional violates the standard of care for their profession or practice. The standard of care can vary based on a variety of factors including medical history and age.

Four Main Types of Medical Malpractice

  1. Misdiagnosis accounts for a large number of medical malpractice lawsuits. Misdiagnosis (or delayed diagnosis) can mean that an incorrect diagnosis was given to a patient, causing their condition to worsen. Misdiagnosis is more likely for rare conditions or conditions that have non-specific symptoms.
  2. Surgical errors are often referred to as “never events,” as in they are events that should never happen during an operation. This includes performing the wrong procedure, operating on the wrong part of the body, using an incorrect implant, or leaving a foreign object in the body. While this type of medical malpractice is uncommon, it causes significant health problems and even death.
  3. Medication errors are events that led to a medication being used inappropriately. This can happen when a physician fails to learn about current conditions or current medications you are taking before prescribing new medications. The physician is also responsible for relaying any risks associated with medications to the patient. While poor communication is often at the root of a medication error, a physician prescribing the wrong medication or prescribing an incorrect dosage can also cause medical malpractice damages.
  4. Anesthesia errors include using the incorrect dosage of general or local anesthesia, failing to monitor a patient under anesthesia, or administering anesthesia to a patient with known allergies. While some symptoms of anesthesia errors are minor, including blurred vision and fatigue, many are more severe and can cause heart damage, brain damage, stokes, or even death.

How A Patient Can Avoid Medical Malpractice

While a patient’s care is ultimately a physician’s responsibility, there are several things patients can do to avoid medical malpractice. First, it’s important that as a patient, you receive all of the answers to any questions you have. This can help you be more aware if a medical mistake does occur, and facilitates communication between you and your physician. Second, it’s always wise to seek a second opinion with non-emergency conditions. Lastly, patients should choose their health care providers carefully. Researching your physicians and hospitals is a good first step toward ensuring you don’t choose a provider who gives substandard care.

Lopez McHugh Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice in Philadelphia, you are not alone. The lawyers at Lopez McHugh are experienced at analyzing the facts and determining liability in injury and death cases. If you think you have a claim, contact Lopez McHugh LLP today and have one of our knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys review the facts.

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