Common Medical Mistakes That Lead to Lawsuits

Aug 7, 2019

Common Medical Mistakes That Lead to Lawsuits

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Medical mistakes are a serious public health issue in the United States. Estimates from two famous studies suggest that preventable medical mistakes kill 251,000 to 440,000 U.S. patients each year.

Patients who do not lose their lives may suffer from permanent health conditions that severely reduce their quality of life. In some cases, these patients or their family members seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, hospital, or another party. Below, we list common medical mistakes that may lead to a lawsuit.

Diagnostic Errors

Diagnostic errors are the most common type of medical mistake in the country. However, there are multiple types of diagnostic errors. Common diagnostic errors include but are not limited to:

  • Delayed diagnosis. This is where a doctor gets the diagnosis wrong the first time but later corrects the mistake after time has passed. In some cases, a delayed diagnosis makes it impossible or much more difficult to treat a serious health condition.
  • Missed diagnosis. A medical practitioner may get a diagnosis wrong with no correction ever being made. Patients may believe they have a “clean bill of health” when in fact they are suffering from a potentially dangerous or fatal health condition. 
  • Wrong diagnosis. In some cases, a doctor may confuse one health condition with another. For instance, a doctor may mistake bacterial meningitis with the flu. There are more common examples, as bacterial meningitis is extremely rare. Heart attacks share similar symptoms with common health conditions. 
  • Failure to diagnose a related disease. This is where a doctor gets one diagnosis correct but fails to detect another condition that is affecting the diagnosed condition. 

Diagnostic errors can occur in any type of health care setting. However, emergency rooms are notorious for the examples listed above. 

Surgical Errors 

Some types of surgical errors are called “never events”. As the name implies, a “never event” is a type of medical error that should not happen. The National Quality Forum maintains a list of never events. Surgical never events may include: 

  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Leaving surgical equipment in patients after a procedure (retained surgical items)
  • Conducting the wrong type of surgical procedure

There are other types of surgical errors where patients might be able to sue. A surgeon may harm healthy organs during a procedure or could fail to recognize a dangerous health condition before or during the surgery. 

You should consult with a medical malpractice attorney if you or a loved one suffered harm during surgery and you have questions about your legal rights. 

Medication Mistakes

Medication mistakes can kill patients or cause life-altering injuries. It would depend on the medication involved, the dosage and other factors. These types of mistakes can occur in a hospital or pharmacy.

Medication mistakes include: 

  • Providing the wrong medication
  • Providing the wrong dosage
  • Incorrectly administering the drug
  • Omission errors – such as failing to provide a patient a scheduled dose
  • Giving a patient medication at the incorrect time
  • Incorrectly preparing a compound medication
  • Failing to monitor patients for complications caused by the medication

When Is a Medical Mistake Medical Malpractice?

Patients and their family members may be able to seek compensation for their damages by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are certain requirements for filing a lawsuit. You must be within the statute of limitations. 

More importantly, you must be able to demonstrate that the medical professional responsible for your care did not provide services within the accepted standard of care and that you suffered damages as a result. 

You should speak with one of our attorneys if you have questions about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina.

About Our Rock Hill Medical Malpractice Lawyers

The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. can help you determine if it would be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina. Our personal injury attorneys have experience with a variety of personal injury cases. You can learn more about our law firm on our website. Our website also has helpful information about how you can protect a potential medical malpractice claim

Call (803)324-7200 or use the online contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.