What are the top causes of medical malpractice claims?

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When medical providers fail in their duties, patients’ lives are at stake. People can face serious injury if treatment protocols don’t meet medical standards.

An incorrectly ordered medication could cause a fatal interaction. Misdiagnosis of cancer or a stroke can be a death sentence. If a surgeon operates on the wrong body part, patients pay the price

A recent survey of medical malpractice statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals some of the most common causes of medical malpractice claims.

  • Failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis31 percent of doctors surveyed by Medscape reported that medical malpractice cases arose from a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include cancer, heart attacks (particularly in an emergency room setting), strokes and blood clots.
  • Failing to treat/under-treating – if all aspects of the patient’s health aren’t adequately monitored and corrected, his or her overall condition can rapidly spiral downward. Even a successful surgery can, for example, result in a life-threatening infection. If caught early, such infections are very treatable, and the patient can make a full recovery. Without intervention, however, a localized infection can become systemic, resulting in irreversible injury or even death.
  • Medication errors – medicines save lives, both in and out of a hospital setting. When not administered properly, however, the same drugs that sustain us can seriously injure us. Giving a stroke patient too much blood thinner can cause internal bleeding. An insufficient amount of insulin can send a severely diabetic patient into shock. Switching up medications meant for patients with similar names could result in potentially fatal drug interactions.

These are only a few of the causes of medical malpractice claims, though they do represent a large percentage of overall annual cases brought against negligent providers.

If you or someone you love suffered injury after a doctor, nurse, hospital administrator or other healthcare provider acted negligently, you may have a legal cause of action. Reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area for more information.

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