Medical malpractice consists of any negligent act or omission by a medical practitioner that causes an injury. Malpractice law determines medical negligence by comparing your practitioner’s action or inaction to what a similarly-qualified provider would do in the same or similar circumstances. Some of the most common types of medical negligence include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Failing to diagnose a serious condition, or diagnosing it as something else, can lead to serious and unnecessary complications or to harmful delays in proper treatment.
- Medication errors. According to the Institute of Medicine in a 2006 study, 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured, or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications. Pharmacists as well as doctors can commit malpractice involving medication errors.
- Anesthesia errors. Anesthesia errors—giving too much or too little anesthesia or failing to consider the patient’s medical history to determine risks—can result in anything from death to serious brain injury to the trauma of being awake and immobilized but in tremendous pain and aware of every cut the surgeons make.
- Surgery errors. Surgery areas include everything from failing to maintain proper hygiene and exposing the patient to risk of serious infection to operating on or removing the wrong limb.
- Childbirth errors. These can include injuries to both the mother and the infant, and can result from negligent prenatal care or negligence during childbirth.
These broad categories cover some of the most common medical malpractice scenarios, but are not all-inclusive. Any time a medical provider does not live up to the standard of care adhered to by most similarly-qualified practitioners and causes injury, you should consult with an experienced malpractice lawyer to determine whether you were the victim of medical negligence.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.