Doctors and other medical professionals are required by law to exercise reasonable care. But even those highly skilled in the medical profession can make mistakes. What happens when they do?
What is Medical Malpractice?
The definition of medical malpractice is the improper, or unskilled, treatment of a patient by a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional.
But how does this differ from medical negligence?
Malpractice refers to any injury or complication caused by a physician or other healthcare professional’s failure to provide proper treatment according to the medical community’s accepted standard.
Negligence is considered a mistake in treating the patient that results in unintentional harm.
Medical Malpractice Examples
Misdiagnoses or Delayed Diagnoses
Misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses occur when a medical professional fails to diagnose a condition or incorrectly diagnoses a condition resulting in the patient’s severe deterioration or death. Misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses make up the largest number of medical malpractice complaints.
Childbirth injuries can occur when the physician fails to anticipate complications, respond to fetal distress, or perform a necessary cesarean section when required. Mistakes made during delivery can lead to brain injuries, broken bones, and nerve damage, resulting in lifelong problems or permanent disability for the child.
However, not all difficulties a newborn may have come from malpractice. Many deformities or medical conditions may be the result of a genetic disorder. If a physician fails to properly care for an expectant mother, such as failing to diagnose a condition that can transmit to the fetus, he may be liable.
Surgical mistakes are errors occurring in the operating room and carry over to the nursing staff’s post-operative or recovery care. Examples of these mistakes include leaving an instrument in the body, operating on the wrong body part, or operating on the wrong patient.
Administering anesthesia can result in brain damage or death. An anesthesiologist may be liable is he/she fails to do any of the following:
- Learn the patient’s medical history
- Inform the patient of the associated risks of anesthesia, including death
- Administers too much or the incorrect type of anesthesia
- Does not monitor the patient while under anesthesia
- Improper placement of a breathing tube in the patient’s airway
- The use of defective equipment
Medication errors can also result in harm to a patient. When mistakes happen with prescribing medications, there is a risk that the patient’s condition will not improve, or it may result in additional symptoms, injury, or death.
The following medication errors can lead to medical malpractice liability:
- Incorrect medication prescribed
- Incorrect dosage prescribed
- Incorrect administering or by the wrong method
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect occurs much too often. Vulnerable elderly patients require staff to meet their basic needs for care and safety. Although nursing homes are under stringent regulations, abuse and neglect episodes still often occur, resulting in tragedy.
Emergency Room Negligence
Emergency room negligence can be the failure to recognize that a patient requires immediate treatment from a specialist, delayed, or failure to treat, or a misdiagnosis can result in medical malpractice.
Do You Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Medical malpractice lawyers must know medicine, hospital policies, and procedures and deal with expert witnesses. Medical malpractice cases in Ohio are very complex. It first must be determined if the doctor’s treatment of the patient fell below accepted standards. To answer these questions, consulting qualified experts is required.
The lawyer must also ascertain what damages occurred as a result of the doctor’s treatment. A negligent doctor will often claim that the patient’s outcome would not have changed if other providers had used different treatment methods. The answer to this usually depends on the opinion of the qualified expert.