How do I Know if there was Medical Malpractice?
If you witness any instance of medical malpractice, you have the legal rights and protections to take action and file a lawsuit. By working with a medical malpractice lawyer, you can receive the expert guidance you and your family need to win your case. You may receive substantial compensation for pain and suffering, loss of past and future earnings, medical fees, and life-long care and assistance funds. Medical malpractice lawsuits often hinge on four common areas of complaint, which can be caused by medical professionals across the spectrum of care.
1. Medication Errors
Prescription errors represent nearly 70% of the medication errors that have the potential for adversely affecting the health and vitality of a patient. Nurses, pharmacists, and doctors alike can make medication errors such as:
- Incorrect dosage recommendations—too little or too much of a drug is given or prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist
- Dosage errors—nurses provide patients with the incorrect dose of a drug, although the prescription was written correctly by a physician
- Incorrect prescription—health professionals prescribe patients the wrong type of medication for their condition and the prescription goes unchallenged and administered
- Equipment malfunctions—medication administration equipment (like IVs) fails or overdoses
2. Injuries During Childbirth
Medical professionals who provide negligent prenatal care of a pregnant mother, negligent fetal care of a child, or inappropriate care during childbirth can be held liable for committing medical malpractice. Aside from preventable death, common examples of this include causing serious permanent mental and physical injuries or disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, seizure disorders, skeletal fractures, and hearing or vision impairments.
Obstetricians or nurses can be held responsible for the following instances of negligent care:
- Failure to diagnose problematic, pregnancy-specific conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and hypoglycemia
- Failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
- Failure to detect certain birth defects in utero (this applies to birth defects that can be detected with blood tests or diagnostic equipment during pregnancy)
- Failure to respond appropriately to fetal distress
- Failure to order a C-section when medically necessary
- Failure to use forceps or vacuum devices in a competent manner
3. Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis may be the most difficult type of medical malpractice to prove simply because misdiagnosing a condition may not necessarily be evidence of negligence. Your medical malpractice attorney must gather facts that clearly shows a physician acted incompetently or “not to the level expected of others in his profession.” Successfully claiming a doctor made diagnostic errors requires proving that the doctor failed to utilize a differential diagnosis list, did not perform the necessary testing, or failed to ask opinions of appropriate medical specialists.
4. Anesthesia and Surgery Errors
Anesthesia and surgery errors primarily occur in the operating room, where even the smallest mistake made by a surgeon or anesthesiologist may cause permanent, debilitating injuries or even death. What many people do not realize is that anesthesia errors are potentially more dangerous than surgical errors because wrongly administered anesthesia affects all physiological systems.
According to Anesthesiology, 2,211 recorded anesthesia-related deaths occurred in the United States from 1999 to 2005. Reasons for these deaths include over-dosing patients with anesthesia, neglecting to monitor vital signs, and improperly intubating anesthetized patients. Most surgical errors involve surgeons leaving items like sponges or scalpels inside a patient’s body that later cause massive infection and re-hospitalization.
If you or a family member are a victim of medical malpractice, consult an Arkansas medical malpractice attorney at Nolan Caddell Reynolds today. Call 866-242-0452 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss what you have witnessed, the facts of your potential case, and what we can do to legally assist you.