Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims in America- How You Can Avoid It

Medical errors are more common than you might think. In fact, a recent report from the British Medical Journal found that medical errors might be the third leading cause of death in the United States – causing 251,000 deaths each year. What are the most common types of medical malpractice claims in the United States, and how can you reduce your risk of being a victim?

Learn about the common types of medical errors that occur in the United States and how to play a role in your own healthcare delivery.

Mistakes regarding prescription drugs are one of the most common types of medical malpractice claims. These errors might occur when a patient receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose. It may also occur when a patient does not know about the side effects of a medication or how it might interact with other medicines he or she takes. Medication errors may occur in virtually any step in the healthcare chain – for example, a nurse might accidentally swap medications with a patient in another room, or a physician may prescribe a medication without foreseeing a potentially dangerous drug interaction. Pharmacists can also be liable for failing to dispense the right medication or neglecting to educate a patient about its side effects.

  • Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosis

Nearly 12 million Americans might be the victim of a misdiagnosis each year. It’s surprisingly common, because patients may have obscure symptoms or several concurrent conditions that might make diagnosis difficult. A diagnostic error might hurt a patient if it leads to a delay in appropriate treatment or a worse health outcome. Delays in diagnosis can also lead to the need for more extensive treatment, which presents a financial and emotional burden to the patient.

  • Birth Injuries

Both mother and baby may be vulnerable to medical mistakes during the labor and delivery process. Failure to properly monitor a mother and her child could lead to complications such as fetal distress, hypoxia, or maternal hemorrhage. Failure to intervene in a stalled delivery can also lead to complications such as shoulder dystocia, or Bell’s or Klumpke’s palsy. Birth injuries are more common than you might think, and can lead to a lifetime of complications. Every mother and child deserve the highest level of medical attention possible.

  • Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia requires proper administration and attentive supervision. Some of the most common anesthesia errors include failure to review a patient’s medical history, providing too much anesthesia, and failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs during surgery. These mistakes can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. They can also occur in many scenarios outside an operating room – anesthesia errors can occur in pre-operative and post-operative care, outpatient centers, and even at the dentist’s office.

  • Surgical Errors

Lastly, surgical mistakes can be serious and lead to life-threatening complications. Surgeons can leave equipment or pads in a body cavity before closing, or even perform an operation on the wrong body part. Although uncommon, you do hear horror stories about surgeons performing the wrong operation on the wrong person. More commonly, surgical errors occur when a physician fails to properly warn a patient of the risks associated with a procedure.

Medical errors can affect anyone at any time. Patients must be their own advocates for their healthcare and ask the doctors plenty of questions regarding any diagnosis, procedure, or new medication. If you’re unsure of something your provider does, ask. If something seems suspicious, report it. Finally, if you suspect you’re a victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced attorney for guidance.