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Top 5 Types of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor’s care is considered negligent and below the accepted standards of practice in the field of medicine. In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, it must be proven that the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional resulted in the patient’s personal injuries, disability, further medical issues and expenses, loss of income or employment, or any other form of suffering. 

It is estimated that about 200,000 people die in the US each year due to medical errors, and yet only 15% of personal injury lawsuits filed each year are related to medical malpractice. Here are the five most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Misdiagnosis

Almost 12 million patients are misdiagnosed in the US every year. Misdiagnosis can result from misreading diagnostic images like X-rays or MRI scans, attributing a patient’s symptoms to another disease with similar symptoms, or a doctor simply being careless.

Heart attacks and cancer are commonly misdiagnosed, but for any condition, misdiagnosis delays necessary treatment and can force the patient to undergo unnecessary treatments. Misdiagnosis also leads to extended hospital stays, serious complications such as heart conditions, infections, tumours, and blood clots, and even death.

Prescription drug errors

Medication errors are unfortunately a very common form of medical malpractice. Prescribing a patient the wrong medication, an improper dosage of the correct medication or multiple medications that cause harmful interactions with each other are all negligent actions that can have serious health consequences for the patient. Not informing the patient of a drug’s side effects might also be considered malpractice in some cases. 

Birth injuries

More medical malpractice claims are filed against OBGYNs than any other type of doctor. Conditions that can be caused by medical errors include spinal cord injuries, fetal distress, cerebral palsy, nerve damage, cephalohematoma, and paralysis. 

Medical negligence can affect the mother as well as the fetus when it comes to conditions like postpartum haemorrhage, which is the number one cause of maternal death from childbirth. Other examples of medical malpractice claims filed against OBGYNs include the improper use of equipment, not performing a Caesarean section when one is recommended, or failure to diagnose a birth defect.

Surgical errors

This category of medical malpractice is wide-ranging. Leaving surgical tools or objects inside the patient, puncturing an organ, neglecting to provide the patient with proper post-surgery instructions, operating on the incorrect body part, or even performing the wrong surgery altogether are all examples of surgical errors that can result in medical malpractice lawsuits. These are serious mistakes that can lead to infections, permanent damage, and even death.

Anaesthesia errors

Examples of medical malpractice involving anaesthesia include administering too much or not enough anaesthesia, not reviewing a patient’s medical history for potential risk factors, failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs throughout surgery, or neglecting to periodically move the patient during surgery. As with any type of physician, negligence on the part of an anesthesiologist can be deadly.

Many patients choose not to pursue legal action against doctors who have caused them harm. They are worried that the process of filing a malpractice claim will be too stressful and complicated, or that their doctor’s malpractice insurance will not end up paying after a lengthy battle. Many states even have a statute of limitations in place for filing medical malpractice claims, so you should not delay in seeking justice. If you believe that you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, a Charlotte medical malpractice lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering.


Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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