Medical Malpractice: When the Doctors are to Blame for Your Medical Condition
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Usually when you are sick you go to the doctor to have them help you get healthy again but what if your illness or medical condition was created by your doctor's negligence. Medical malpractice is something that is not likely to happen to everyone in their lifetime but recent studies by Health grades has shown that from 2000 - 2002 an average of 195,000 hospital deaths occurred per year due to potentially preventable medical errors.
Medical malpractice can come in many forms and often leave the patient feeling untrusting of doctors and like a victim rather than a patient. Some of the most common ways that medical malpractice can occur are:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose - When a doctor diagnoses you with the wrong medical condition (misdiagnosis) and treats you for something else malpractice can occur because of the wrong treatment or can occur because your true underlying condition is being ignored and not properly treated which causes the condition to worsen. Another way this may occur is if you are seen by a doctor for symptoms that point to a condition and your doctor fails to catch the condition in the first stages regardless of you being seen and evidence that clearly point to specific condition (failure to diagnose). Both of these situations can result in permanent injury and possibly even death if not corrected in time.
- Surgical errors - This type of medical malpractice is often the easiest to spot because it leaves the patient in a large amount of pain and discomfort. When surgery is done incorrectly and when doctors are negligent medical mistakes that are made can be long lasting and lead to a long term disability, permanent injuries and even death. Sometimes surgical errors as simple as leaving a piece of medical equipment in the patient after surgery occurs and causes unbelievably painful complications.
- Anesthesia errors - Errors that occur during anesthesia can be fatal often because the anesthesia is given at the wrong dosage or because the injection is made in the wrong area causing paralysis, brain damage and even death. Anesthesia errors often occur in simple routine situations such as when epidural are given during labor or for back pain management. If the anesthesiologist administers the epidural in the wrong area of the spine it can cause life lasting disabilities.
- Defective products - Some types of medical malpractice are not necessarily the doctors fault but rather the manufacturer who supplies the doctors and hospitals with medical supplies and equipment. If a patient suffers adverse reactions, injuries or is given a medicine that is ineffective the manufacturer may be held liable for their defective product. A situation where this may not apply and the hospital or doctor may be held liable is if the defective product was recalled and the hospital or doctor did not get rid of the malfunctioning product or recalled medicine.
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