According to the insurance carrier Coverys, medical errors rank as third among the leading causes of death in the U.S. Patients in Pennsylvania who are injured by these errors commonly can file a claim against the responsible parties. There are various types of medical errors that patients cite in claims.
Research shows that misdiagnoses and surgical errors account for the largest percentage of medical malpractice claims. When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, the patient misses out on essential treatment that may have provided him or her with better results sooner, which often causes death or further injury. Misdiagnoses also include missing symptoms and neglecting a patient’s past medical history.
During surgery, a surgeon could puncture an adjacent organ accidentally or unknowingly leave instruments inside a patient. Some surgeons have operated on the wrong patient or the incorrect part of the body. Other surgical errors include unnecessary procedures that cause infection and the wrong post-op treatments. The anesthesia itself often causes more issues than the surgery because a patient could have an allergic reaction to it if the doctor missed it on the person’s medical history.
Medication errors may warrant a claim if the prescription caused a patient harm. Errors occur from prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, incorrect labeling, or simply misreading labels from poor handwriting. While prescription errors are common, they are often harder to prove because several parties may be responsible, such as the doctor, the maker of the medicine, a nurse or the pharmacist.
Neglecting to treat
Doctors must uphold a reasonable standard of care under the law. In some cases, a physician diagnoses the condition but fails to provide adequate treatment. Failure to treat includes anything that might have prevented a patient from harm, such as delaying treatment, not making referrals or failing to perform necessary medical tests.
Doctor errors don’t always indicate that medical malpractice has occurred. If a patient feels that a doctor’s negligence caused him or her harm, he or she should consult a lawyer to analyze the case.