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Examples of medical malpractice

Source: , Posted On:   30 March 2021

Examples of medical malpractice

Although it’s not something we ever want to consider, medical malpractice is something that does happen and it can cause a great deal of suffering, not just to the patient themselves, but also to their family and loved ones around them – this is why it is so important to know more about it, how to spot it and what to do if you suspect medical malpractice. 

Diagnostic errors

According to statistics from the Institute of Medicine, there is a chance that most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, of varying degrees of severity, and looking at postmortem research suggests that it could be responsible for around 1 in 10 patient deaths. Either a failure to diagnose or a completely incorrect diagnosis can be fatal as it delays, or entirely prevents the patient from getting the correct treatment. In fact, it could involve them being treated for something else entirely which ultimately ends their life. 

Surgical errors

Many surgical errors happen during very low-risk, routine operations which makes them all the more devastating. An example of this could be the perforation of the bowel during a routine polyp removal, nerve damage caused by an incision error, or a lacerated bladder during a hysterectomy. Terrifyingly often, surgeons accidentally leave equipment such as gauze or even scalpels in the body before stitching it up, which can cause catastrophic issues. 

Medication errors

When administering as many different types and quantities of medication as doctors and nurses do, it’s almost understandable that occasionally there may be an error, however, this error could be instantly fatal. Whether by an accidental overdose, or administering a medication that the patient is allergic to, one wrong dosage can be devastating. 

Premature Discharge

When you’re in the hospital, you’re likely to want to leave as soon as possible and start to recover at home. However, there are times when patients are sent home prematurely and this causes their condition to deteriorate, as away from the hospital there isn’t instant access to medical experts and specialist equipment designed to aid their recovery. As important as it is to keep things moving, it’s vital that this is never rushed, as this can cause a risk to the lives of patients. 

Around 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are thought to be caused by medical errors, and some 45% of those are thought to be due to information processing. In such a high-pressure, fast passed environment, it seems that things are miscommunicated, or misunderstood, and as such, costly mistakes are made every day that are causing people to die. 

Of course, this isn’t intended to scare you off visiting your doctor when needed – after all, in the vast majority of cases, everything goes smoothly and medical professionals are doing an amazing job, however, it’s important to be aware that there are a small number of times when this isn’t the case, and medical malpractice is a very real issue.