When Medical Malpractice Can Occur

In order to prove that you are suffering from a case of medical malpractice, your personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that your physician or healthcare provider:

  • Had a duty of care to you: you hired this physician and they agreed to treat you
  • They deviated from the standard of care that they were supposed to provide to you
  • In such a way that another similarly-trained and reasonable physician would not have
  • The provider’s deviation from the standard of care caused you harm

Product Liability

When any device used by medical practitioners to treat an illness, injury or disability is found to be defective and dangerous, then patients suffer needlessly from the poor design or manufacturing. Equipment that is meant to save someone’s life can break and cause serious injuries or death. Common products that have been at the center of liability claims involving medical devices include:

  • Defibrillators
  • Stents
  • Pacemakers
  • Breast implants
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Kidney dialysis filtersInferior vena cava (IVC) filters
  • Hip and knee replacement parts
  • Many prescription drugs

Surgical Errors

Examples of surgical errors that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit include:

  • Not using sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
  • Leaving medical equipment, such as sponges, inside of the patient after surgery
  • Anesthesia malpractice
  • Performing unnecessary surgery or surgery on the incorrect body part
  • Damaging nerves, organs are other tissue during surgery
  • Not providing adequate follow-up care after surgery

Birth Injuries

These occur when an obstetrician’s prenatal care is inadequate, or when the newborn’s nerves become damaged or bones are broken during childbirth. Birth injuries can lead to: 

  • Cephalhematoma
  • A subgaleal hemorrhage 
  • Bleeding outside of the skull bones

Delayed or Misdiagnosis

Not ordering the correct type of test to lead to a correct diagnosis or failing to read a CT scan correctly can lead to delayed diagnosis, which occurs when a doctor fails to use the right diagnostic tools to find answers. All the while, the victim is getting worse, but the doctor fails to use the right tools to find what exactly is wrong. In a misdiagnosis, the doctor has assessed the patient’s symptoms correctly but came to the wrong conclusion regarding the patient’s condition. Misdiagnosis can occur because many conditions have overlapping symptoms, such a severe cough or stomach discomfort. This can lead doctors to:

  • Prescribing medication to treat an illness the patient doesn’t have, that could cause harm
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Unnecessary medical intervention that is quite costly

Both lead to unnecessary suffering or the worsening of an untreated condition.

Failure To Treat

Unlike delayed or misdiagnosis, in these cases, the doctor has ordered the correct tests and scans, and has read and evaluated them correctly, but has recommended the wrong treatment. This happens when doctors are more concerned about pleasing pharmaceutical companies that reward them for prescribing medications they manufacture even though there is a better treatment from a rival pharmaceutical company. Failure to treat can also occur in hospitals when a patient is discharged too soon, when a doctor fails to provide follow-up care, or they refer a patient to a specialist.

Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney

There are many different types of personal injury law, from car accidents to dog bites to cruise ship accidents, so be sure to hire an attorney who practices medical malpractice law in the state where you were injured.