Medical malpractice is a serious issue that many people face every single year, yet at the same time, not everyone knows when it even occurs. Attorneys Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann have seen all too many instances where a victim of medical malpractice is not aware of it, mainly due to being ignorant of what medical malpractice can constitute. Many people view it as physical injury caused directly by a doctor, and while that certainly applies, there are many more ways to experience medical malpractice than that.
Types of common healthcare issues that lead to medical malpractice
One of the more common types of medical malpractice is through a doctor misdiagnosing their patient. A misdiagnosis may be the product of the doctor being unable to identify anything wrong even if there was. Sometimes this can simply be due to the diagnosis being a difficult one to make, and other times it is simply because the doctor is not taking more time and care to fully and adequately examine you and your health status. Lacking a proper diagnosis can result in you not getting the medicine and other care that would follow as a result of a correct diagnosis. Another way for the misdiagnosis to occur is because the doctor gave you the entirely wrong diagnosis, which can have entirely different consequences, such as receiving medicine or treatment that at best has no real benefit for you and, at worst, may actively do harm to you for taking it. Harm as a result of the treatment and/or medicines that are prescribed as a result of the incorrect diagnosis can be covered under a medical malpractice claim. For either of these to be malpractice, it needs to be demonstrated that the behavior the doctor took was below reasonable standards for a medical practitioner to take during the diagnosis process, or that steps were taken that would not be considered reasonable for them to do.
Other forms of medical malpractice may actually involve a diagnosis, but either the diagnosis was unreasonably delayed, or the doctor failed to provide the treatment that would have been best to handle the diagnosis. The former most often occurs as a result of the doctor having eventually come to the correct diagnosis after failing to get it right before, or because another doctor gave you the correct diagnosis after the previous doctor failed. To correctly argue for this being an example of a delayed diagnosis, you would need to be able to demonstrate that the doctor did not take every step reasonable to rule it out, or that it was so obvious that it was unreasonable to miss. In the latter case, it may be a bit more obvious, as all you need to be able to prove is that the doctor released you or did not treat you and knew that there was a viable means by which to treat you.
Now we get to surgical malpractice, one of the more well-known types of malpractice. Surgical errors can come about due to many errors made at some point during the surgery. It can even be a product of the above-mentioned erroneous diagnosis, to where one of the methods of treatments is a surgery that turns out to not be needed. Even if the surgery is technically a success by the standards of that surgery, that the surgery was not for any valid purpose is the problem. On the other hand, the surgery may have been justified and the product of a correct diagnosis, but still go south, such as if the surgery leaves organs, nerves, and/or tissues damaged. It may also involve an incorrect procedure, such as administering too much anesthesia, improperly sterilizing the equipment used during the surgery, failing to remove medical equipment from the patient following the surgery’s completion, and of course, a failure to provide proper aftercare following the surgery.
Of course, not every single example of medical malpractice is going to be caused directly by a medical practitioner. Other examples of medical malpractice may come in the form of a medical product being poorly designed, leading to an injury or misdiagnosis of the patient. A medical product being faulty does not necessarily preclude a doctor from having responsibility for any damage if they were the one using it on you, but the blame for the faulty medical tool, unless the practitioner had reason to believe that it should not be used, should be placed on the manufacturer. Medical tools tend to cause damage to quite a few people before the defect is caught in the first place unfortunately. In order to sue a manufacturer specifically under a medical malpractice claim is if the manufacturer had been made aware of the defect’s existence either before sale or before claims of harm began to come in, and they ultimately fail to recall as soon as possible. A lot of the reasons for medical malpractice are unfortunately financially motivated, which has led to all too many people getting hurt or, worse, killed as a result.