Common Causes of Physician Malpractice Lawsuits
We trust physicians to make the best decisions for our health and well-being. Yet even with the extensive education and training all physicians complete, mistakes still happen. When a doctor’s mistake leads to a patient’s injury, illness, or even death, malpractice may be involved.
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital or medical professional injures a patient through negligence or omission. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed every year in the United States.
Not every mistake is malpractice. Under the law, a medical malpractice lawsuit must demonstrate that the accepted standard of care was violated, that violation caused injury to the patient, and that injury caused significant damages. The reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits vary, but the following are the five most common according to a Medscape poll of more than 4000 doctors:
- Failure to diagnose – Nearly one-third of doctors polled were sued for failing to diagnose a patient’s condition – resulting in serious injury or death. Doctors included in the survey were sued for failing to diagnose diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks and various forms of cancer. In many cases, patients would have been spared severe injuries, illness, and even death if diagnosed properly.
- Abnormal injury – When a doctor injures a patient in the course of a treatment or procedure, it is considered an “abnormal injury.” Thirty-one percent of doctors surveyed in the Medscape study were sued by patients suffering an avoidable, abnormal injury. Abnormal surgical injuries often cause serious disability or death.
- Failure to treat – When a doctor’s failure to properly treat an illness or injury results in additional health complications or avoidable worsening of the original illness or injury, that doctor can be sued for malpractice. In many cases, ailments that could have been managed with early intervention progress so far that they become untreatable.
- Poor documentation – Four percent of doctors in the Medscape study were sued for poor documentation of patient instruction. Patients with multiple doctors managing their care depend on clear and consistent documentation of their records. Any lapse or error in treatment or prescriptions can lead to dangerous medical mistakes.
- Medication errors – Nearly 1.5 million people are harmed by medication errors every year. Whether a doctor prescribes the wrong medication entirely, the wrong dosage, or a dangerous mix of medicines, patients can be seriously harmed by these errors. The digitalization of medical records has reduced medication errors significantly, but they do still happen.
Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patients depend on doctors to maintain a good standard of care and make decisions to improve their health, not make them worse. Doctors who injure patients when they fail to diagnose or treat an illness or injury should be held responsible.
Cherry Hill Medical Malpractice Lawyers Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Fight for Injured Patients
Medical malpractice cases are among the most challenging to prove. For that reason, patients need the experienced counsel of the Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. We understand how to effectively prove your damages are the direct result of your doctor’s negligence. To discuss your situation with a Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer, call 856-354-9444 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We represent victims and their families in South Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area.