What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare provider injures a patient as a result of a medical mistake, error, or omission. The negligence may be due to an error in diagnosis, poor judgment, or a mistake made during the surgical procedure.
Many people understand medical malpractice conceptually; but without examples it can be difficult to know whether medical malpractice has occurred. When you have questions about medical care, speak with a lawyer quickly because most claims have to be investigated and preserved within one year from the time you learn of the injury. Here, we identify common examples of medical malpractice to help clarify whether you or someone who love may have been a victim of medical negligence.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose and are common types of medical malpractice. A failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis case may involve the wrong diagnosis, a missed diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or a failure to recognize complication that change or aggravate an existing condition.
As an example, consider the case of a man who goes to the doctor complaining of chest pain and tingling in his extremities but is sent home without testing. He later suffers a heart attack.
The doctor who saw the man should have diagnosed these common signs and symptoms of a heart attack. The man would have a medical malpractice claim for against the doctor who treated him for a failure to diagnose the common symptoms of a heart attack.
Another common surgical error occurs when the anesthesiologist uses too much or too little anesthesia, or administers anesthesia in the wrong way. Consider the case of patient that has a complication after the start of a surgical procedure. Usually, the anesthesiologist is covering multiple operating rooms and the patients care is managed by a CRNA, a nurse specifically trained to monitor patients that are under anesthesia. Unfortunately, CRNA’s do not have the training that a doctor has to monitor patients for decompensation and there are delays in recognizing that the patient is not getting the oxygen they need during surgery. If your loved one suffered an anoxic brain injury during surgery, it is likely because of a failure to properly administer the anesthesia or a failure to monitor of complications.
If your loved one suffered a major complication or death during surgery, consult with a lawyer experienced in handling medical negligence claims.
During abdominal surgeries, a doctor may nick or tear a gastrointestinal organ, causing its contents to leak into the abdomen. In one case, a 46 year old woman underwent elective surgery to release tissue adhesions. Two days after surgery she was complaining of abdominal pain. It turned out that the surgeon had perforated her bowel during surgery, and she was suffering from a serious infection that, if left untreated, could lead to her death. Sometimes causing the injury during surgery is an expected complication, but the failure to immediately recognize the injury during surgery and the failure to monitor the patient after surgery for complications can lead to devastating results.
Following abdominal surgery, be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of a bowel perforation, which include common signs of peritonitis, including pain, nausea, vomiting and other signs of infection, infection such as rapid heart rate, fever, dehydration, and low urine output.
Performing Surgery on the Wrong Body Part
Wrong side surgery occurs more often than we might like to think. Perhaps the most publicized type of wrong side surgery occurs when a doctor amputates the wrong leg or arm, or removes the wrong kidney. In other cases, physicians have drilled into the wrong side of a patient’s skull.
This is a clear cut case of medical malpractice that could easily be avoided by properly marking the surgical site. In fact, it is now common practice for surgeons to ask the patient to mark the correct side for surgery, or will mark the site themselves using a permanent marker and the surgeons initials.
Leaving Surgical Tools Inside a Patient
Surgical teams have been known to leave surgical tools, such as sponges, retractors, and other implements, inside a patient after surgery.
Consider the case of the patient who had surgery to remove a tumor in his abdomen. Shortly after surgery, the patient learned that the surgeon had left a 13-inch metal retractor inside his abdomen. A second surgery was required to remove the implement. the patient sued the surgeon for medical malpractice.
Think You Were the Victim of Medical Malpractice? Contact an Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously complex. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled and experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side. But act quickly to preserve the claims. In most cases, the you have to file suit or take action within a year of the discovery of the malpractice.
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence, contact an Ohio medical malpractice attorney at Robenalt Law or one of the attorneys at his firm today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-223-7535, complete our online form, or email [email protected]
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.