You suspect your doctor was negligent. You’re understandably upset and want justice. Before you start accusing that doctor of medical malpractice, there are some things you should know and do.
The Most Common Forms of Medical Malpractice
One of the best places to start is by looking at the different types of malpractice. Does one of them fit your situation?
#1 – Birth Injuries
Injuries caused during birth are one of the types of medical malpractice. Many things can go wrong during delivery, and it’s the doctor’s job to take preventative measures to keep a situation from worsening. For example, after her son stopped moving shortly before and during labor, nurses didn’t inform the doctors. No emergency c-section was instructed and the infant was born with brain damage.
#2 – Failure to Treat Correctly
The doctor may come up with the correct diagnosis but fail to properly treat the health condition. For example, you cut yourself with a knife and the doctor stitches it up. The doctor never took the time to thoroughly wash and disinfect the wound before stitching it. You now have a serious infection. The wound has to be opened, some tissue has to be removed, and you have to go on antibiotics. If the doctor had cleaned the wound in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened.
#3 – Incorrect or Delayed Diagnosis
These two forms of malpractice are similar. In both cases, a doctor made an incorrect diagnosis. With a delayed diagnosis, the correct diagnosis may be made, but it’s made too late and more harm occurs in the meantime. For example, you go to the doctor complaining of severe stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. The doctor says you have food poisoning. Two days later, the pain is unbearable. This time you’re asked where the pain is. You’re immediately diagnosed with appendicitis. You’re rushed to the surgery ward, but your appendix has ruptured and it’s spread the infection into the abdomen requiring a longer, more complex surgery and longer hospital stay.
#4 – Medical Equipment Issues
When medical equipment fails and causes harm, it’s also a form of malpractice. A 2015 recall of insulin pumps is a good example of medical equipment issues. The pump’s needle didn’t always work properly, which caused some patients to not get the proper dosage of insulin. The lack of insulin caused blood sugar to rise to unsafe levels.
#5 – Medication Errors
Medication errors occur when you’re given the wrong dosage or medication. It can be the nurse’s fault for administering too much or too little of medication or at too frequent an interval. It can be the doctor’s fault for writing the wrong medication down or calculating the patient’s weight and dosage correctly. It can be the pharmacist’s fault for grabbing a bottle of pills with a similar name and not double-checking before filling the prescription.
#6 – Surgical Errors
Surgical errors include mistakes like sponges or surgical equipment left behind in the body. It can be a mistake where a surgeon operates on the wrong organ, area, or side of the body. For example, a woman in Michigan went in to have blood flow improved in her legs to prevent painful cramps, but nurses made errors and a leg was amputated instead.
A Medical Malpractice Case Requires Proof
Be prepared to prove you had a doctor-patient relationship with the physician. If you were not a patient being treated by the doctor, a malpractice case isn’t easy to prove. You can’t just sue a doctor for malpractice if you heard that doctor say something on the radio that didn’t work for you. There must be an established relationship with that doctor who is providing your medical care. Keep copies of all paperwork and appointment cards that prove you and your doctor had a relationship prior to the malpractice case.
You must be able to prove the doctor was negligent. If you made a mistake following the doctor’s instructions, the doctor isn’t necessarily liable for any injuries or harm resulting. If the doctor diagnosed your symptoms incorrectly and gave you the wrong prescription as a result, you may have a malpractice case. The negligence also has to have caused harm in some way. If the negligence led to a costly medical stay, caused physical pain or emotional distress, or forced you to take time off work or school, you’d meet the criteria for medical malpractice. There are still variables that an experienced malpractice attorney would look for to ensure you have a valid complaint.
Arrange for a free consultation with Denver personal injury attorneys from Jordan, Herington & Rowley. Medical malpractice laws can be hard to navigate on your own. With an experienced malpractice attorney by your side, you’re fully supported if you decide to file a lawsuit. Call (303) INJURED at your earliest convenience.