What are the Most Common Forms of Medical Error?

by Terry Bryant

Sometimes, the unexpected turns in life cause us the greatest harm. The things that we take most for granted are the ones that pounce when we are at our most vulnerable. Unfortunately, many Americans learn this lesson when they get sick and seek medical treatment. We trust that medical professionals will do everything in their power to make us better.

Most of the time, things go just as we hope. Doctors treat our ailment, and then we get better. Other times, however, a doctor or other healthcare provider not only fails to help a patient, but they cause a patient serious harm. A recent major medical study found that as many as 250,000 people die every year because of medical error. Millions more are injured or made ill because of mistakes made in a medical setting.

Common Examples of Medical Mistakes

Medical errors can occur at any point in the healthcare process, from diagnosis to surgery. Some of the most common include:

  • Misdiagnosis – When a doctor or nurse misidentifies a patient’s condition, the treatments can be harmful to a patient. This is one of the most common forms of medical error.
  • Medication error – Medication-related error occur when a patient is given the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or the medication that prompts an allergic reaction.
  • Surgical error – Thousands of surgical errors occur in the United States every year. They occur when a surgeon performs the wrong operation, performs an operation on the wrong patient, or leaves a foreign object inside the body of a patient.
  • Birth injury – These injuries are tragic because they are often preventable and lead to injuries that can affect a newborn throughout the course of his or her life.
  • Communication breakdowns – Many medical errors occur because providers fail to communicate the needs or conditions of a patient to another provider. These communication failures can occur between doctors, nurses, hospitals, or departments within a hospital.
  • Healthcare-associated infection – When a staff fails to sanitize surfaces or equipment, an infection can spread among patients, many of whom are already suffering from another injury or illness. The results of a healthcare-associated infection can be devastating and, in some cases, fatal.

Medical Malpractice Cases are Complicated – That’s Why Attorneys Can Help

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase meaning, “first, do no harm.” It’s one of the fundamental principles of the medical profession. Sadly, patients regularly suffer harm at the hands of healthcare providers. These cases are both complex and intimidating for patients who have suffered from medical negligence. That’s probably the reason that most people who are hurt by a doctor’s mistakes don’t take any legal action, even though it is their right to do so.

If a healthcare provider – a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, etc. – has injured you, it is important to realize that you do have options. An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows that the law is designed to help people who have been wronged by another’s negligence, and they can help their clients to win compensation for the damages they have suffered.

While these situations can be overwhelming for a patient, an experienced lawyer knows what to do and can make your life much simpler by handling your medical malpractice case. To speak to one our attorneys, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today.