CHICAGO, IL – Medical malpractice occurs in various ways. The more you know about the different types of negligence committed by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, the better you can understand what happened to you or your loved one. In this article, we discuss the different types of medical malpractice claims and break down the types of claims.
Missed or Delayed Diagnoses
If a diagnosis is missed or delayed, it prevents you from receiving the treatment you need and your condition can quickly worsen. Diagnostic errors can occur when you are not diagnosed with a medical condition despite having signs and symptoms with the condition, you are diagnosed with a condition you don’t have or you are diagnosed after the condition has reached an incurable stage.
Heart attacks and strokes are the most common misdiagnosed medical conditions. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians and others can be held responsible if you or a loved one is harmed by the failure to properly diagnose your medical condition.
Medication can be used to stabilize or improve a patient’s condition. Serious harm results from mistakes that are made when prescribing and administering medication. More than 1.5 million people suffer harm annually from medication errors.
Other medication errors involve miscommunication, mislabeling, prescribing medication for “off-label” uses and failing to monitor patients.
Pregnancy Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical mistakes are preventable but can occur during the planning, pregnancy and labor/delivery stages which can lead to a child suffering a disability, including cerebral palsy, and in some cases, may cause a tragic loss of life.
A woman trusts her obstetrician to closely monitor her pregnancy, order proper tests and prescribe safe medications. When an obstetrician is negligent, it can lead to the failure to identify an ectopic pregnancy, gestational diabetes, birth defects or cause other harm.
Medical mistakes can also be made during labor and delivery by doctors, nurses or midwives, which may lead to devastating birth injuries. These errors may cause a child to suffer from physical trauma or deprive a child of oxygen which can lead to brain damage. In many cases, the error comes from a failure to respond in a timely manner.
When a child is born, the hospital must continue to closely monitor the child’s condition. The hospital should take proper action if breathing difficulties, heart problems, jaundice or other medical issues arise.
Anesthesia errors occur when doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals fail to properly check equipment and monitor a patient’s vital signs and level of consciousness during surgery. If a device malfunctions or anesthesia is negligently administered during an operation, a patient can suffer a stroke or heart attack, brain damage, psychological harm or death.
Mistakes can also be made when administering spinal and epidural anesthesia, leading to complications such as spinal infections, nerve damage, seizures and allergic reactions.
There are various surgical errors that can occur that lead to injured patients, including:
- Failing to properly administer general or regional anesthesia.
- Failing to properly prepare a patient for surgery by monitoring their vital signs, diet and medication.
- Puncturing or performing an organ with a surgical tool.
- Failing to monitor a patient after surgery and respond in a timely manner to blood clots, infections, illness and heart problems.
Hospital-acquired infections can lead to serious and potentially deadly illnesses, such as sepsis. In many cases, patients suffer infections when the negligence of doctors, nurses and hospital staff allows harmful germs and bacteria, including MRSA to spread to patients.
Hospital infections can be caused by the failure to:
- Wash hands
- Clean and disinfect sinks
- Clean and sterilize surgical instruments
- Use double-gloving during surgery
- Follow special handling and disposal precautions for items like scalpels, needles, lab waste and blood
Because they are at a high risk of infections, patients must be carefully monitored while hospitalized. Often, a patient’s harm results from the failure of medical professionals to diagnose and treat an infection in a timely manner.
Emergency Room Errors
Diagnostic errors are a leading type of emergency room error which is especially a problem when a patient goes to the ER with a dangerous condition such as a stroke or heart attack. The condition may be misdiagnosed as a less serious condition such as a headache or heartburn. Many ER errors can be traced to overcrowding, understaffing and poor training. Emergency room malpractice may include:
- Failing to order appropriate tests
- Failing to get a description of a patient’s symptoms
- Misreading tests
- Failing to follow proper procedures when administering medication
- Allowing unsanitary conditions to exist
- Miscommunication during “hand-offs”
Radiologists play a critical role in the diagnosis of a patient’s condition by conducting and interpreting X-rays and tests, including MRIs and CT scans. As a result, a patient may fail to get timely treatment when radiology errors occur, such as:
- Failure to perform the test correctly
- Failure to perform follow-up tests
- Use of detective equipment
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Miscommunication of test results
Radiology errors carry severe consequences like pregnancy complications, progression of cancer or worsening of a traumatic brain injury.
Dentists have a duty to follow the accepted standard of care when providing services to their patients like other medical professionals. When dentists fail to follow this standard, a patient is harmed as a result and a patient may have a claim based on negligence.
Examples of dental malpractice include:
- A missed or delayed diagnosis of mouth or gum disease
- Failing to adequately supervise dental assistants
- Failing to properly administer general or regional anesthesia
- Performing an unnecessary procedure like a root canal
- Extracting the wrong tooth
- Using unsterilized equipment
Patients who are victims of dental malpractice can suffer harm such as infections, broken teeth, chronic pain or the progression of a disease.
Failure to Monitor
The failure to monitor can lead to the failure to timely and effectively treat a patient’s medical condition. It can occur in situations such as:
- During a mother’s pregnancy or during labor and delivery
- After a patient is administered medication
- When anesthesia is administered during surgery
- While a patient is being hospitalized after surgery
The failure to monitor may result in a medical professional missing signs of complications such as breathing or heart problems, allergic reactions, infections, blood clots and internal bleeding.
Contacting a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois
It’s necessary to have an experienced medical malpractice and personal injury attorney who has experience protecting your rights while defending your health and medical treatment. If you or a family member has been injured due to neglect, misdiagnosis, malpractice or birth injury, contact our Illinois personal injury attorneys for free consultation to learn how we can protect you, your health and your family. Call (312) 384-1920 or simply fill out this form and we’ll contact you. Don’t wait – get started today.