Medical accidents cause between 65,000 and 200,000 deaths per year. Of that number, 25,000 to 120,000 are the result of medical malpractice. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been affected by medical negligence, it may be helpful to understand the most common causes and circumstances of medical malpractice cases.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are the most common causes of medical malpractice claims. Between 26 to 63 percent of claims in primary care are due to diagnostic mistakes. The most common missed diagnoses in adults are heart attacks and cancer, especially lymphoma, breast cancer and melanoma. Other common mistakes include underestimating the severity of a fracture or confusing similar diseases such as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of a serious condition can lead to the patient missing crucial treatment.
Medication error is the second most common medical error, affecting around 1.5 million people in the United States per year and representing 5.6 to 20 percent of claims in primary care. Medication errors are sometimes the result of misdiagnosis when the doctor prescribes medication for a condition the patient does not have. Medication errors can also occur when a doctor prescribes a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dose, or fails to inform the patient of the drug’s side effects.
Surgical errors account for one third of all inpatient medical malpractice cases. Common surgical errors include operating on the wrong patient or body part, puncturing internal organs, leaving surgical instruments in the body or the use of unsanitary surgical tools. These errors are often committed by doctors who are sleep-deprived or overworked.
Misuse of Anesthesia
Anesthesia errors are often even more dangerous than surgical errors, potentially causing brain damage or death. Anesthesiologists can misuse anesthesia by using too much or failing to check a patient’s medical history for potential complications. Other errors can occur if the anesthesiologist does not give a patient correct preoperative instructions, fails to monitor a patient’s vital signs, uses defective equipment or uses equipment incorrectly.
Mistakes During Pregnancy and Childbirth
There are many opportunities for medical errors during pregnancy and childbirth. OB-GYNs are the most frequently sued type of physician, with around 20 percent of all medical malpractice cases filed against them. Common errors during prenatal care include failing to identify birth defects or ectopic pregnancies, and failing to diagnose a contagious disease in the mother. Potential errors during childbirth include responding inappropriately to fetal distress, failing to anticipate birth complications and incorrect use of equipment such as forceps.
Do You Need a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice can result in injury, higher medical bills, as well as stress and frustration. If you or a loved one are the victim of a medical error, you may be able to receive compensation. Medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Firm of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. can review your medical records, evaluate standards of care and contact medical experts to help you get a fair settlement.
Schedule your free case evaluation today or call us at:
- 803-324-7200 (Rock Hill attorneys)
- 803-289-7202 (Lancaster attorneys)
- 803-396-5200 (Fort Mill attorneys)