What Are the Most Common Errors Made by Doctors?

Medical errors are the third most common cause of accidental death in the United States, and doctors who make negligent errors typically absorb liability for the damages they cause. When a patient in Missouri suffers harm due to a doctor’s negligence, the patient can hire a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer and pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover their losses. Medical malpractice claims most commonly arise from five main causes.

Diagnostic Errors

Doctors use a process of elimination to determine a patient’s condition. Some medical conditions entail symptoms that mirror those of other conditions, sometimes making accurate diagnosis more difficult. Doctors who do not properly conduct their diagnostic processes are guilty of medical malpractice. An incorrect or delayed diagnosis can carry disastrous consequences, including increased medical costs, remedial medical actions and surgeries, and even permanent disability. Failing to properly diagnose a patient’s condition can also cause the patient’s condition to worsen, potentially turning fatal.

In a medical malpractice claim for a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, the plaintiff will need to prove that the doctor did not provide an acceptable standard of care. The plaintiff must typically show the court how another doctor with similar skills and experience in the same situation would have acted differently.

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia plays an important role in medicine and allows medical professionals to perform complex surgeries and procedures with minimal patient discomfort. If a doctor or anesthesiologist makes a mistake when administering anesthesia, this can cause serious harm or even patient death. In some cases, missteps with anesthesia can cause the patient to experience a rare phenomenon known as “anesthesia awareness.” A patient in this situation will be fully awake during surgery and feel everything happening but will be unable to cry out, speak, or move. This is a horrifying experience that often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems.

Surgical Errors

Surgeons must provide the highest standard of care possible in the operating room. Common surgical errors include:

  • Leaving a surgical instrument, sponge, gauze, or other device inside a patient after closing the surgical incision.
  • Operating on the wrong side of the body.
  • Performing an untested or experimental surgery without medically acceptable justification.
  • Giving negligent postoperative instructions or care.

Medication Errors

Some patients are allergic to certain medications or additives in medications, and doctors must carefully analyze a patient’s medical history before prescribing medications. A doctor may also negligently prescribe a medication that conflicts with another medication the patient already takes or aggravate a preexisting condition. It’s important to remember that prescribing doctors are not the only individuals who might absorb liability for a medication error. A doctor who prescribed the wrong drug or the wrong dose, a pharmacist who incorrectly filled a patient’s prescription, or a defective drug manufacturer may all potentially face liability for a medication error.

Childbirth Injuries

The childbirth experience is supposed to be a joyful time for new parents, but a childbirth injury can cast a pall over what should be a time for celebration. Childbirth injuries can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Improper monitoring of the mother and baby before delivery
  • Misapplication of force during delivery
  • Misusing surgical instruments such as forceps or vacuum extraction tubes
  • Failure to recommend Caesarean procedures when necessary
  • Negligent prenatal care, including failure to detect an ectopic pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or another anomaly that might endanger the mother, child, or both

Babies who suffer injuries at birth often carry lifelong disabilities or medical complications as a result. For example, lack of oxygen during delivery can lead to cerebral palsy and other developmental delays.

Legal Options for Injured Patients

Patients and their loved ones who experience medical errors such as these must think carefully about their options for legal recourse. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex process that demands the attention of a reliable Kansas City injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases.