Medical malpractice occurs when a health professional or medical facility deviates from the accepted standard of patient care, thereby causing injury, disease, or death. There are numerous ways that this can happen, and it’s usually not obvious or clear right away whether medical malpractice is the culprit. If you are injured by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
Below are just a few of the common types of medical malpractice claims that lawyers assist clients with.
Accurate and timely diagnosis is essential for patient care. The following types of diagnostic mistakes can be costly, and even fatal for the patient:
- Failure to diagnose – When a physician misses the symptoms of a disease or health complication, the issue continues untreated. This may result in a worsening of the illness or disorder, and can lead to injury or death.
- Delayed diagnosis – Like the failure to discover and treat a medical condition, delaying the diagnoses presents similar problems that could have been prevented with a timely and competent medical response.
- Misdiagnosis – Errors in testing, faulty equipment, missed symptoms, and poor training are some of the reasons for this dangerous medical error.
- Failure to refer – Most Primary Care Professionals (PCPs) do a great job. They manage their patients’ general health, treat a variety of issues, and determine when a specialist is needed to examine a potentially serious issue. But when a PCP misses a red flag or serious issue, this can result in serious consequences for the patient.
Errors during surgery run the gamut, from leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient, to puncturing an organ, to operating on the wrong body part. While all surgeries carry risk, certain surgical mistakes are preventable. Some causes of surgical errors may include:
- Poor communication
- Incompetent surgeon
- Inadequate pre-op planning
- Alcohol/drug use by the surgeon, anesthesiologist or other surgical team members
- Carelessness / neglect
- Anesthesia errors
Medication and prescription drug errors can be easily overlooked until something tragic occurs. Below are some of the ways that these errors happen:
- Prescribing or delivering the wrong medication
- Administering the wrong dosage
- Failing to warn of known medication side effects
- Medication mislabeling
- Administering medicine to a patient who is allergic
- Prescribing multiple medications that together have negative effects
Urgent Care Facility Medical Malpractice
The popularity of urgent care clinics has greatly increased, along with medical malpractice claims against these facilities. The following issues typically form the basis for malpractice claims against these clinics:
- Inadequate staffing
- Poor emergency preparedness
- Inadequate training
- Lack of physician oversight
- Poor patient safety methods and controls
- Insufficient regulatory agency routine inspections
- Outdated / poorly functioning diagnostic equipment
Broken bones, fractures, and issues with tendons, joints, and ligaments are common ailments which fall under the purview of orthopedic medicine. Orthopedic surgeons frequently work with victims of physical trauma and sports injuries. Orthopedic care involves surgical intervention, physical therapy, and other forms of physical rehabilitation. This wide-ranging area of medicine is vulnerable to many forms of medical malpractice. Some of the more common allegations of malpractice against orthopedic surgeons are as follows:
- Defective medical devices, such as knees and hips
- Gross surgical mistakes
- Improper placement of metal plates and pins
- Medication mistakes
- Post-operative infections
Obstetrical (OB) and Delivery Medical Malpractice
An obstetrician is tasked with a vitally important job – overseeing a pregnancy and helping to deliver a child. But negligence and carelessness can turn a joyous occasion into a nightmare. Proper training, focused attention and detailed oversight can prevent the following potential OB errors:
- Negligent delivery techniques
- Insufficient prenatal testing
- Delayed treatment / diagnosis
- Clinical judgment errors
- Poor documentation and patient history
- Communication issues between OB staff, hospital, ER, lab, and/or the anesthesiologist.
- Poor oversight and supervision of physician’s assistants and nurses
- Inadequate prenatal care
Not every mistake made by a medical professional constitutes malpractice. Each case must be carefully reviewed and investigated to determine whether malpractice occurred. This involves an exhaustive review of the patient's medical history and records by one or more expert witnesses at the outset of a case. Expert witnesses in these cases are typically licensed physicians themselves, and are retained by the law firm to analyze key issues in the case.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or illness that you suspect was caused by medical malpractice, contact the Reinartz Law Firm. We are experienced New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers who tirelessly fight for the rights of victims of malpractice.