4 Medical Errors That Can Lead to a Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical Malpractice AttorneysWhile we all want to believe that the medical professionals we entrust to our care are competent enough to heal us rather than harm us, sadly this isn’t always the case. Negligent actions of health care professionals result in countless injuries and deaths each and every year, but people often fail to report them as medical malpractice because they aren’t sure if their injury qualifies.

If you or a family member was harmed by a healthcare provider’s negligence, it’s important to get legal help. In the meantime, knowing what kinds of errors commonly result in malpractice lawsuits is a good starting point. I’ll tell you more about them below, as well as when a New York medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help.

Understanding General Negligence

Regardless of the type of personal injury you have sustained at the hands of another, you must be able to prove negligence in order to win your case. All medical professionals are required to exercise reasonable care and skill in treating a patient. They must treat you in accordance with what are known as “acceptable standards of care.” To meet this standard, your doctor must deliver the same level and type of care that any other reasonably competent and skilled health professional with similar background and training would have provided in a similar scenario.

If it can be proven that a medical professional violated their duty of care by not acting within acceptable standards of care, you may have a malpractice lawsuit on your hands. To understand whether or not your health care provider may have been negligent, you will want to talk with a lawyer, but in the meantime here are some common scenarios that lead to malpractice lawsuits.

Error #1: Misdiagnosis

If your healthcare provider fails to recognize the symptoms of a serious disease or other condition that is threatening your life and you suffer the consequences, this could qualify as negligence. This is even more true if your treatment is delayed or improperly managed due their misdiagnosis. We commonly see this with heart attacks that are mistaken for indigestion or another condition, blood clots in the lungs that go unnoticed, and masses or tumors that are overlooked. Recently, we have heard of many COVID-19 cases where a patient visits the emergency room and is sent home only to have their condition quickly decline and become serious or even fatal. Depending on the circumstances, this could be attributed to negligence.

Misdiagnosis can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a patient doesn’t reveal all of their symptoms, or their symptoms don’t quite match up with the symptoms that are usually seen with a specific disease. In these cases, the doctor might not be deemed negligent. Other times, however, misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to listen to the patient, or to properly or promptly respond to a patient’s concerns about their health. In these cases, the physician may be found negligent.

Whether your treatment has been delayed due to misdiagnosis or your condition has worsened because of it, you could have a medical malpractice case. The best thing to do is to get in touch with a medical malpractice lawyer in New York to get a sound legal opinion and a clear explanation of your rights.

Error #2: Obstetric Negligence

Although fewer serious injuries and deaths occur today due to obstetric issues, there are common medical errors related to both that lead to malpractice lawsuits. Prolonged labor, premature births, carelessly performed C-sections, and hemorrhaging during labor or after a baby is born are just a few of many serious issues that can happen during or after childbirth. Issues with epidural pain injections where a nerve is struck can also cause serious lasting injuries.

It’s important to remember, however, that just because an injury occurred during delivery, or because you weren’t satisfied with the care you received, it does not necessarily mean that your healthcare provider was negligent. Negligence is reserved for cases where a doctor does not follow the usual standard of care or does not act with the skill of someone who is similarly qualified.

If you are uncertain whether your situation would qualify as negligence, speaking to a New York malpractice lawyer is a good way to find out.

Error #3: Medication Errors

One of the most common scenarios where we see medical malpractice is in medication and prescription errors. There are many ways this can happen, including:

  • Being given another patient’s medicine while you’re in the hospital
  • Being given too much or too little of a medication by your doctor
  • A pharmacist filling your prescription with the wrong medication or dosage
  • Your doctor failing to notice that a medication they prescribe will interact dangerously with a different medication you are taking

Again, for this to qualify as medical malpractice, you would need to establish that the health care provider did not behave in accordance with established standards of care. A New York malpractice lawyer may be helpful in determining this.

Error #4: Surgical Errors

Surgery is incredibly complicated and involves many steps, which makes it among the most common medical situations that leads to a malpractice lawsuit. Anesthesia errors, mistakes made during surgery, and improperly responding to post-surgical complications all often lead to malpractice suits.

With anesthesia, for example, allergic reactions are quite common. If the reaction is not immediately taken care of, the consequences can be disastrous. Likewise, if an anesthesiologist gives a patient too much anesthesia, the results can be fatal. Patients must also be carefully monitored while under anesthesia, and again, if this does not happen, it can result in serious issues or even death.

During surgery, a surgeon may damage an organ or nerve, fail to control bleeding, or leave a foreign body inside a patient. The list of possible errors that could occur is endless. And even if the surgery itself was successful, if a patient experiences complications afterwards, the doctor must take them seriously. If they don’t, and serious illness or injury occurs because of this, the surgeon could be considered negligent. Again, this is only true if they did not do their job in accordance with standards of care.

Limitations on Malpractice in New York

Something that is important to know is that there are a few cases in which you may not be able to file a malpractice claim under New York law. The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is 30 months. In the case of minor children, they have 30 months from their 18th birthdays to file a claim.

In some cases, what is known as the “limited discovery rule” applies. These are cases where the victim had no way of knowing that medical malpractice had occurred. For example if a foreign object was left in the body but it did not cause problems until years later, the statute of limitations could be extended. Since these cases are complicated, however, it is important to talk to a New York malpractice lawyer.

Buttafuoco & Associates has successfully handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over the last 35 years. If you feel that your rights as a patient have been violated by your healthcare provider, get in touch with us right away. Consultations are always free and we can tell you more about whether you have a malpractice case as well as apprise you of your rights.

Call us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.

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