5 Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Suits
Whenever you visit your doctor’s office or seek treatment at a hospital for a medical issue, you depend on the physicians, nurses, and other staff to provide quality care to support your recovery. While doctors take an oath “to do no harm,” they and other medical professionals make mistakes like the rest of us. Their errors, however, can sometimes result in significant injury, diminished quality of life, and even death for the patients they care for. Hospitals have protocols in place to prevent major medical errors and injuries, but accidents still occur.
When patients are injured due to negligence, incompetence, and noncompliance by medical professionals, they may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. Below are the five major medical errors and accidents that commonly produce medical malpractice suits in the U.S.
Hospital Acquired Infections
According to the CDC, 99,000 Americans die annually from infections acquired in a hospital. Health care workers are required to wash their hands before and after contact with patients, use hospital approved sanitizers, and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves to prevent the spread of germs. Hospital equipment and instruments must also undergo significant sterilization to prevent transmission between patients. However, worker noncompliance with sterilization procedures and hygiene requirements result in the spread of bacteria, risking infection for sick and recovering patients.
When entering the hospital, people are at greater risk for falls. The combination of illness, medication effects, altered patient mental status, and improper use of hospital equipment like wheelchairs can increase the likelihood of fall, potentially resulting in a serious injury such as a head injury or broken hip. Geriatric patients are especially at risk, and can die due to complications stemming from a fall.
When administered properly, medication can relieve discomfort and support healing. On the other hand, if a doctor prescribes an inappropriate medication or dosage, or a nurse administers the wrong medicine or dosage to a patient, it can have severe, sometimes fatal consequences.
Wrong-site Surgical Errors or Procedures Performed on the Wrong Patient
While rare, there are cases of surgeons performing procedures on the wrong body part of a patient, as well as performing procedures on the wrong patient. These mistakes are some of the most severe and costly due to unnecessary surgery.
Retained Surgical Items
Surgeons must use a variety of instruments when performing procedures, such as scalpels, clamps, scissors, and surgical sponges that must be accounted for following the surgery. However, errors are still made resulting in thousands of incidents of retained surgical items each year. Forgotten instruments can damage delicate tissues, and require a second surgery to remove the foreign body.
Have you or someone you know been injured due to a serious medical error? Contact the Florence medical malpractice lawyers at Barth, Ballenger and Lewis today to discuss your options. We will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.