Medical doctors are supposed to help their patients – not make them suffer. But everyone makes mistakes or errors during the course of their jobs. If you fail to file a claim against your doctors in a timely manner, you may forfeit the right to seek damages.
There’s usually a two-year statute of limitations wherein a medical malpractice claim can be filed.
Errors can occur in:
- Medication prescription
And when errors occur, the plaintiff will need to prove that the doctor made an error that is out of the norm. For example, if 10 other doctors would have followed the same care routine, it would be difficult to win a malpractice claim. You must prove that the doctor’s standard of care is below that of their peers.
There are times when other doctors may have prescribed the same amount of a drug, or they may have diagnosed the condition in the same way.
In these cases, it will be very difficult to win a claim.
4 Common Areas of Error That Doctors Wish You Didn’t Know
Remember the errors we mentioned earlier? These are the most common areas of errors, and let’s dig into them a little further.
1. Diagnosis an Issue, or Failure to Diagnose
All too often a person will feel a pain, and they consult with their doctor to determine the cause of their issue. Perhaps you have a sharp pain in your stomach, and the doctor claims that this pain is gas that will pass.
But what’s really happening is that a tumor has formed in your stomach and is starting to cause you pain.
In the United States alone, 12 million people are misdiagnosed per year.
This isn’t always the fault of the doctor. Perhaps the illness masks symptoms, or the illness shares symptoms that other illnesses also present. It can be difficult to diagnose a condition that is very similar to another condition.
When a misdiagnosis is serious, this can lead to:
- Hospital stays
- Pain and suffering
- Financial burden
- Improper treatment plan
- Progression of the condition
- Delay in potential treatment
This is why it’s so important to seek a second opinion on any serious diagnosis. There’s always a chance of an error, and when a serious condition goes untreated properly, this can lead to death. Family members may be able to seek damages for loved ones that have died due to medical malpractice.
2. Prescription Errors
Anytime a prescription is written, the doctor has a duty to ensure that the prescription is for the proper medication, for the proper patient and of the right dosage. Patients must be made fully aware of all potential side effects.
Prescription mistakes often aren’t reported to patients, and errors can occur throughout the entire prescription chain:
Risks also exist where a doctor will prescribe a medication that will not mix well with another prescription that a patient is taking. When mixed, side effects and even death may occur as a result.
3. Childbirth Errors Account for 20% of All Errors
Mothers want the best for their children, but very few mothers imagine that when they’re child is being delivered into this world, they will suffer from medical malpractice. Unfortunately, 20% of medical malpractice claims involve babies.
OBGYN’s face more claims than any other type of doctor, and errors can impact the mother or child, or both.
Negligence can cause serious issues, and this may include:
- Maternal death
- Fetal distress
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Spinal cord injuries
But some complications are simply unavoidable, and when this is the case, it is not the doctor’s fault for the issue occurring. Mothers and their children do deserve the highest level of care, but complications can occur that the doctor could not foresee.
4. Surgical Errors and Complications
Surgical and anesthesia errors occur every day. When a surgical error occurs, it can be obvious: a limb removed, the wrong site worked on, or the surgical issue can involve leaving a foreign object inside of the body.
Mistakes can have life-long implications, and infections can set in that lead to further health issues or death.
Poor planning in the preoperative stages are often to blame for these surgical errors.
Anesthesiologist errors can be life-threatening, and this can mean permanent damage to the patient. It may also mean death, or it may mean that the patient was able to feel the procedure, suffering from immense pain and suffering in the process.
When medical malpractice occurs, it’s important that you immediately file a claim and gather evidence to strengthen your case.