According to the AMA, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. If you or a family member was a victim of malpractice, it’s crucial to reach out to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Case settlements range from the reimbursement for pain and suffering to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The health industry pays out more than $3 billion every year.
Below, we’ve put together a few of the leading causes of medical malpractice suits.
1. Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
“Informed Consent” is when you are aware and agree to whatever it is a physician, nurse, or other medical professional is doing to your body. For instance, if you are cognizant and a doctor tells you she is going to put an IV into your arm and explains why and what drugs are in the drip bag and what they’re for, you would provide informed consent.
There is also “implied consent,” or if you agree to surgery and complications arise (like a knicked artery), and the surgeons have implied consent to prevent life-threatening conditions within the scope of that surgery. If, for example, you’re getting your gallbladder removed and they find a tumor in another part of your body, they have no right to operate on it unless it is necessary. You (or a parent, guardian, or spouse) would need to give consent.
2. Misdiagnosis and Medication Error
Any number of reasons can cause a misdiagnosis, but if it’s negligence or an obvious oversight that is beneath the standards of reasonable care, you should call a medical malpractice lawyer for legal representation. Reasons to pursue these cases include a doctor not following up with lab results or an x-ray, a “that’s not a problem” mole that turns out to be skin cancer or giving a patient the wrong or improper dose of medication. According to Forbes, there are about one million medication years per year that result in 7,000 deaths.
3. Negligent Maternity Care and Birth Injury
Birth injuries account for a large percentage of medical malpractice cases. Oxytocin, a drug often used if an infant is distressed, may be overused, and cause serious complications. Also, if a primary doctor is unavailable and did not properly inform another physician about her patient’s medical history, a mother and her newborn may be at risk.
4. Surgical Errors
While having an object left in your body after surgery is everyone’s worst nightmare, it does happen. Scalpels, sponges, needles, retractors, clamps, suction tips, and clips left in your body can cause infection, pain, obstruction, perforations, infertility, and even death. There are around 28 million operations every year in the U.S., and an estimated 1,500 retained surgical body cases.
5. Anesthesia Errors
The odds of being sued as an anesthesiologist are 50-50 after twenty years of medical practice, and nearly 90 percent by the end of a long career. While 33 percent of these cases are dismissed, claims range from dental damage, internal pain, misdiagnosis, and loss of life.
The medical industry is a difficult one. People’s lives are at stake, and no matter how thorough and competent health professionals are, mistakes do happen. If you need any advice, a free case review, or a consultation, contact the Dixon Injury Firm’s St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers today.