When preventable errors occur in medical settings, patients can suffer devastating consequences such as physical pain, permanent disability, and even the loss of life. Unfortunately, medical mistakes happen more often than you might think. A John Hopkins study revealed that medical malpractice is among the leading causes of death in the US, following heart disease and cancer.
Medical malpractice takes many forms, from misdiagnosis and medication errors to surgical mistakes. If your healthcare provider’s negligence has injured you or a loved one, it’s essential to understand each type and its unique set of circumstances to determine if you have a case.
While the best first step is still to consult a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, we explore the most common types of medical malpractice below to help you protect your health and well-being.
The Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Delayed or incorrect diagnoses make up most medical malpractice incidents, and a government report revealed alarming statistics proving so:
- Around 7.4 million diagnosis errors are made every year
- 2.6 million people suffered preventable harm or injury
- Three hundred seventy thousand suffered permanent disability and death due to misdiagnosis.
Strokes, heart attacks, aortic aneurysms, and spinal injuries are commonly misdiagnosed in the country. Unfortunately, an incorrect or delayed diagnosis can put patients with these conditions at risk of complications from receiving the wrong or delayed treatment.
Diagnostic errors can happen in different ways:
- When a patient is not diagnosed with a particular medical condition despite showing symptoms consistent with it
- When a patient is diagnosed with a condition they don’t have
- When a patient is diagnosed with a condition after it has reached an advanced or incurable stage.
If your health declines and you suspect that you have been misdiagnosed, it’s crucial to seek a Chicago malpractice attorney to learn about your rights and options. They can also arrange for an expert to provide a medical testimony explaining how a competent professional would have diagnosed your condition early and correctly.
Medications are meant to help stabilize or improve a patient’s condition. When mistakes are made at any stage of the medication process, patients may be given the wrong type or dosage of drugs and eventually suffer serious harm. Such errors typically occur due to failure to monitor patients, miscommunication among healthcare providers, mislabeling, and off-label prescribing.
Who Is Liable for Medication Errors?
Different healthcare professionals can be liable for a medication error, depending on your unique circumstances. For example, doctors may be liable for prescribing the wrong medicines or recommending the wrong dosage. A nurse may also be held responsible for administering the wrong drug or dosage.
Medication errors can have devastating consequences for patients, including prolonged hospitalization, adverse drug reactions, and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured by a medication mistake, it’s best to work with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve.
While surgical mistakes are rare compared to other types of medical malpractice, they are worth noting because of the life-changing consequences they can bring to a patient.
Here are some examples of surgical mistakes that are considered medical malpractice:
- Failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs, diet, and medication before surgery
- Using improper surgical techniques
- Puncturing or cutting surrounding organs with a surgical tool
- Operating or amputating the wrong body part
- Leaving behind surgical instruments inside a patient’s body
- Failing to provide proper post-operative care
Expecting parents partner with professionals like obstetricians and gynecologists to ensure a smooth and safe delivery. Unfortunately, when your trusted professionals make otherwise preventable mistakes during the planning, pregnancy, and delivery stages, lifelong problems for your newborn can arise.
Common birth injuries include physical trauma, temporary paralysis, fractured bones, and brain damage, but some complications also lead to a tragic loss of life. These can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as the failure to:
- Respond to complications like fetal distress, excessive bleeding, uterine rupture, or umbilical cord entanglement promptly
- Perform a timely C-section
- Use forceps or vacuum extractors competently.
Negligent Prenatal Care
Birth-related medical malpractice can also happen outside the delivery room and months before birth. As a woman trusts her obstetrician to monitor the pregnancy, negligence in ordering tests may lead to the failure to identify complications, such as ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and birth defects.
As mentioned earlier, medical malpractice is among the leading causes of death in the US. A medical professional’s negligence can cause complications, resulting in wrongful death.
If you believe a loved one died prematurely due to medical malpractice, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced Chicago malpractice attorney. Proving medical malpractice in wrongful death cases can be complex since it requires solid proof that your healthcare provider’s negligence directly caused the death. Medical malpractice attorneys specializing in wrongful death cases in Illinois can review your case and advise you on the next steps to take.
Other Medical Malpractice Cases
Besides the common types of medical malpractice enumerated above, here are some more medical errors to be aware of.
Anesthesia is essential in managing a patient’s pain and, at times immobilization while undergoing procedures like surgeries and dental work. However, when it is negligently administered during an operation, the patient can suffer awareness-induced PTSD, heart attack, stroke, brain damage, and even death. Spinal infections, nerve damage, and seizures can also arise from mistakes in administering spinal and epidural anesthesia.
The negligence of doctors, nurses, and hospital staff that results in hospital-acquired infections may also qualify as a medical malpractice case. Patients are particularly vulnerable to infections, so they must be adequately cared for and monitored throughout their hospitalization. Failing to timely recognize and properly treat a hospital-acquired infection can also constitute a medical negligence case.
Lack of Informed Consent
As a patient, you have the right to know and understand the risks and benefits of the treatment you are about to undergo, along with other potential viable options. In the same way, your doctor has a legal duty to obtain your informed consent before prescribing you a drug, performing a procedure, implanting a medical device, or undertaking any other treatment.
If you have suffered harm or injury due to a lack of informed consent, you may be able to demand compensation due to medical malpractice.
What To Do if You Believe You Have a Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe medical malpractice has caused you or a loved one harm, it’s imperative to take action as soon as possible. We recommend following these steps, so you not only recover the compensation you deserve but also get on the road to recovery.
- Seek Proper Medical Treatment
Your health is a top priority, so it’s best to get the medical attention you need for the illness or injury you suffered due to the suspected medical error before anything else.
- Gather Documents
As you undergo further treatment, secure documents related to your case. This can include photos of your injuries, bills, invoices, and prescriptions.
- Work With a Chicago Malpractice Attorney
Reach out to an attorney concentrating in medical malpractice cases in Illinois as soon as possible. The sooner you have legal counsel, the earlier they can investigate your case and advise you on the best course of action.
If they determine that your case involves medical malpractice, they can also collect and analyze vital evidence to recover maximum compensation for you.
The Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Kroot Law Can Help
If you have suffered harm from a preventable medical mistake, you need an expert to advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the best compensation.
Founded by experienced trial lawyer Jason M. Kroot, our law firm concentrates in serious medical malpractice and wrongful death cases in Illinois. Within the last five years alone, we obtained top settlements in cases including those involving misdiagnosis, medication error, and wrongful death throughout the state.
Consult our Chicago medical malpractice lawyer if you believe you’ve been harmed due to a medical error. We can review the facts of your case and explain your legal options in a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation. Contact us at (312) 543-0030 or fill out this form to schedule your appointment.