According to Johns Hopkins Medicine and Medical Principles and Practice, the most common medical malpractice claims include failure to diagnose and medication errors. Both of these mistakes can have long-term consequences for victims and their families.
In these situations, liability depends on who made the error. For instance, if a doctor rendered the wrong diagnosis, they could be held responsible for the patient’s losses.
However, if a doctor prescribed the correct medication, but it was incorrectly filled by the pharmacist, the latter party could hold liability.
The Importance of a Correct Diagnosis
Healthcare providers are trained to recognize symptoms, read lab test results, and conduct examinations to deliver correct diagnoses. Diagnosing a patient with the wrong ailment could mean:
- The patient undergoes unnecessary (and even harmful) treatment.
- The patient’s true condition gets worse as it continues to go untreated.
- The patient pays for treatment that they do not need.
- The patient ultimately dies from their condition.
Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that cancer and respiratory diseases are among the leading types of conditions that are incorrectly diagnosed.
Liability in an Improper Diagnosis Case
If you suffered losses because of an incorrect diagnosis, liability in your case will depend on your situation. The following parties could share responsibility for your losses:
- A lab technician. If your incorrect diagnosis was due to improperly conducted (or examined) lab tests, the party that ran the tests could be held responsible.
- A third-party lab company. Some doctors outsource their lab tests to be read by other professionals. However, whether because of a lack of training or malfunctioning equipment, these parties can incorrectly read data.
- Your doctor. Your doctor might have been unable to recognize certain symptoms or attributed them to something else. This error could have prevented you from getting the care you needed.
There are other parties whose negligence could have played a role in your medical malpractice case.
Medication Errors Encapsulate a Range of Mistakes
Medication errors can refer to a wide variety of things, such as:
- Taking too much (or too little) of a certain medication
- Suffering from adverse side effects
- Taking the wrong medication
Aside from the harm of taking the wrong drug, a person’s condition can worsen.
Liability in a Medication Error Case
As noted earlier, liability in your case will rest on the details of your situation. Some liable parties in your case could include:
- A pharmacist or pharmacy technician, if you were given the wrong medication
- Your doctor, if they prescribed a medication that ended up hurting you
- A nurse, if you were administered medication while in a hospital
While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the distribution and manufacture of drugs, sometimes, things fly under the radar and cause irreparable harm. In this case, you could have a product liability claim against the makers of the drug that hurt you.
Other Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
Incorrect diagnoses and medication errors are not the only types of medical malpractice claims. Other instances of malpractice include:
- Surgical mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Breach of patient-doctor confidentiality
- Poor judgment
- Failure to act
- Failing to consult a patient’s medical history
- Failure to communicate
There are other medical malpractice situations not included here.
What do I Need to Prove to Establish Medical Malpractice?
To prove that you were harmed by medical malpractice, you must demonstrate four elements, as described by Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research:
- A healthcare provider owed you a professional duty of care, meaning that they had an obligation to provide you with their field’s accepted standard of care.
- The healthcare provider did not meet this obligation, meaning that you received less-than-optimal treatment.
- As a result of this failure, you were harmed.
- You incurred economic and non-economic damages.
If you can prove these elements, you could be awarded compensation for your losses. You can take action by filing a claim with the healthcare provider’s insurer or via a lawsuit.
Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
The cumulative value of your damages will depend on a lot of things, like the nature of your condition, the egregiousness of the mistake, and the cost of your financial losses.
Some recoverable damages in your case could include:
- The cost of the medical care you received and will need in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages, commissions, and employee benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
Johns Hopkins Medicine says that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you could be awarded compensation for loss of consortium, loss of parental guidance, and funeral expenses.
Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP for More Information
So now that you understand the most common medical malpractice claims, now is the time to consider your legal options. The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has over 100 years of combined experience, and we have recovered millions for victims of medical malpractice during our tenure.
You can explore your options during a free case review by calling (516) 358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.