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Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Last week, we talked about what constitutes a medical malpractice claim. This week, we are taking a deeper look into the most common types of medical malpractice claims for a better understanding of what constitutes a medical malpractice claim.1

Medical malpractice are typically divided into these categories:

  1. Misdiagnosis: Misdiagnosis of a medical problem and medical error are among the leading causes of patient death, according to a BMJ medical journal study.2 If a patient is misdiagnosed – especially for a serious health problem – this puts him or her at risk of missing out on treatment that is critical to recovery or extending one’s life. Alternatively, a patient may undergo incorrect treatment for a non-existent medical problem. Again, as stated in last week’s blog, the patient needs to prove negligence or sub-standard care, resulting in misdiagnosis.
  2. Improper/incompetent treatment: If the medical practitioner provided sub-standard care that directly results in injury or harm to the patient.
  3. Medication mistakes: These types of mistakes typically occur in one of three areas:
    1. A medical practitioner prescribes a new medication without reviewing how that medication will interact with other medications the patient is using.
    2. The wrong medicine, or wrong dosage of medicine, is ordered by a medical practitioner or pharmacist. 
    3. A mistake by an anesthesiologist during surgery, in which the improper amount of medicine is given, with negative results on the patient. 
  4. Surgical errors: These are typically the malpractice cases you hear about in the news – or even your favorite hospital drama series. In these cases, a surgeon either leaves unwanted materials in the patient, performs the wrong surgery on the patient, or does not sufficiently complete all steps of the surgery, causing further harm to the patient.
  5. Pregnancy and Childbirth-related errors: This category typically involves treatment given during childbirth that result in damage to the baby (commonly due to improper use of delivery tools). Other areas within this category include misdiagnosis of medical issues during a woman’s pregnancy that might cause harm to the mother and/or child.   

Medical malpractice cases are complex in nature. In addition to proving negligence, the damages to the patient may include a range of issues including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost work time. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate the legal process.  Protzman Law will provide aggressive legal representation and creative solutions for patients finding themselves in a medical malpractice situation. Call us at 816.421.5100 or contact us here to begin the conversation. Whether you are seeking representation for one of your clients or for yourself, we look forward to learning more about your claim.


1 While these are the most common types of malpractice claims, this list is not exhaustive. An individual with a potential medical malpractice claim should contact an attorney for expertise on his or her particular matter.

2 BMJ 2016;353:i2139

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