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Everything you need to know about medical malpractice

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Other than going in for an annual physical, most people rarely see doctors when they are healthy and pain free. More often than not, doctors see their patients when they are at their most vulnerable and most desperate. That is why medical malpractice can be so deeply injurious.

Through healthcare can fail for any number of reasons beyond a healthcare professional’s control, medical malpractice is specifically damage caused through negligence, error or omission on the part of any healthcare professional, not just a doctor. It can result in injury, disability or even death. 

Because the law surrounding medical malpractice is complex and highly technical, many patients who suffer from medical malpractice have difficulty recovering the damages they are owed, or simply do not know where to turn. By messaging Conexión Legal through WhatsApp, or by calling us at 1800 201 1220, you can receive free legal advice. If you want to hire a medical malpractice lawyer, we can connect you to an attorney in our network whose experience fits your case.

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Most common cases of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice includes failures by doctors, pharmacies, hospitals or other healthcare entities and providers. It can include cases as varied as misdiagnosis, prescribing the wrong medication, filling a correct prescription with the wrong medication, operating on the wrong limb, performing the wrong surgery altogether and aggravating a preexisting condition due to negligence or error. Here are the most common types:

Medical malpractice for diagnosis

Television shows like “House, M.D.” make exciting drama out of diagnosing the conditions behind a patient’s baffling array of symptoms, turning medical mysteries into modern Sherlock Holmes-style cases with clean, often simple solutions. In reality, diagnosing illness is often just the first step in treatment, and misdiagnoses are the most common cases of medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor makes a mistake in the assessment of a patient’s symptoms. Since treatment is based on a doctor’s diagnosis, that error could lead to an incorrect treatment that, at best, fails to address an underlying issue, or at worst, worsens the patient’s condition, leading to injury or death. For instance: A doctor diagnoses a stomach ache as mere indigestion, when it is, in reality, appendicitis. The delay in treatment caused by the misdiagnosis could lead the appendix to rupture, or other serious complications that would not have occurred had the original diagnosis been correct.

Medical malpractice for medication errors

Errors in medication can happen in a variety of ways, and from a variety of sources. An incorrect diagnosis can lead to an incorrect prescription. If a diagnosis is correct, the medication dispensed may be incorrect. That can be due to confusion on the part of the prescribing doctor, the pharmacist or the pharmacy tech — medication names could be spelled similarly, or the pills are the same color and shape. In other cases, the medication may be correct, but the dosage may be incorrect — the doctor prescribes one pill taken every hour, but it is only supposed to be taken once per day. A pharmacist or a pharmacy tech may have received the prescription over the phone, and misheard the medication name or the dosage. In all of these cases, the patient receives the wrong treatment because of carelessness or mistakes by a healthcare professional.

Medical malpractice for errors during pregnancy or delivery

The United States ranks last among industrialized countries in maternal mortality rate. Why? While OB/GYN doctors specialize in female reproductive health, the fact of the matter is that most medical schools treat the male body as the default condition of a human being. That means many warning signs of potentially debilitating or deadly conditions are missed in pregnant women.

It is considered medical malpractice to ignore any warning symptoms in expectant mothers that can lead to diseases such as preeclampsia, which can cause liver or kidney damage. Extra attention should also be paid to mothers with anemia, diabetes or other high-risk illnesses. If a doctor’s failure to perform adequate prenatal care — which includes listening to and considering symptoms as told to them by their patient — results in injury to the child or mother, the doctor may be held liable for any injuries.

During childbirth, if a doctor misdiagnoses the position of the fetus and/or the umbilical cord, and that leads to injury or damage, it is considered malpractice. If the mother requires a cesarian section, and the doctor either does not order one, or takes too long to order one, that, too is classified as negligence, as it puts both mother and child at risk of injury or death.

If the obstetrician delivering a baby uses inadequate force, or misuses medical instruments, the child could be injured severely, resulting in cerebral palsy, disfiguration, spinal injuries or death.

Medical malpractice for mistakes in surgery

Surgical malpractice refers to improper, negligent or even illegal activity conducted by a surgeon or a member of the surgical team that results in injuries to the patient. The errors that could lead to medical malpractice are many, including leaving surgical materials or implements inside a patient, performing an incorrect procedure, performing a procedure on the wrong limb or organ and not providing the correct level of anesthesia. 

Not informing patients of possible risks that could result from a surgery or of the problems that could arise during surgery — so that the patient can give their informed consent — is also medical malpractice. 

Other potential cases of medical malpractice include hospital errors, radiology errors, poor cosmetic or dental procedures and injuries from faulty medical equipment.

At Conexión Legal, we offer free advice for cases of medical malpractice. Simply contact us through WhatsAppor call 1800 201 1220 for a consultation. If you need a medical malpractice attorney, we can connect you to a member of our network of expert lawyers.

What should I do in case of medical malpractice?

If you or a family member are injured or die as a result of medical malpractice, you or your family members may be entitled to compensation. In order to receive that compensation, you must first prove that the injury or illness was a product of medical error. A medical malpractice lawyer with knowledge of similar prior cases and medical protocols will be able to help you find and assemble the proper documentation, and has valuable insight into how to deal with hospitals, doctors and medical insurance companies. 

At Conexión Legal, we not only have a network of medical malpractice lawyers at our disposal, but we also have medical experts who can testify in your case. Remember that if you are a victim of medical malpractice, you have the right to compensation, which can include recovering lost wages, payment for a doctor to correct the damage done and pain and suffering damages for the wrongful death of a family member, among other rights.

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