What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims - morgan and morgan
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Common Medical Malpractice Claims

What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?

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What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?

Healthcare in the United States is not as safe as it should be. In fact, medical errors are a leading cause of death and injury. A recent Johns Hopkins study found that medical errors result in more than 250,000 deaths per year, making them the country’s third-leading cause of death. Research also indicates that 1 in 5 U.S. adults have experienced a medical error. Many of these mistakes have a long-term impact on the patient’s physical and emotional health, relationships, and finances.

Given that Americans spend more on healthcare than any other nation in the world, we should have little tolerance for mistakes such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and medication errors. At a bare minimum, we should expect that the treatment won’t do more harm than good.

If you believe you or someone you love to be the victim of medical malpractice, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case review.

Diagnosis-Related Errors

Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of medical malpractice claims, according to claims advisor Coverys. This type of error can occur at several stages of the diagnostic process and includes mistakes such as:

  • Failure to properly evaluate the patient
  • Diagnostic/lab testing errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Referral and follow-up errors

Cancer, infections, cardiac/vascular conditions, fractures/dislocations, and myocardial infarctions are among the leading conditions in diagnosis-related malpractice claims.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are the second leading cause of malpractice claims, reports Coverys, and account for one-quarter of all claims filed annually. The vast majority of these involve allegations about the doctor’s performance during the procedure, but scenarios such as a left foreign body during surgery, an unnecessary procedure, and surgery on the wrong part of the patient are all also common. More than ten percent of surgical claims allege a failure in communication. Around thirty-five percent of surgical errors result in permanent injury.

Suspect medical malpractice? Download your free copy of our medical malpractice checklist.

Medication Errors

Around two-thirds of Americans take at least one prescription drug. Prescription drugs are a big part of total healthcare expenditures—and a leading cause of liability in healthcare settings.

Most medication errors occur in an office or clinic setting. These errors can happen at every step of the process—from the practitioner initially ordering the medication, to giving a patient an incorrect dose, to improper monitoring and management. Patients could be given two or more drugs that cause a harmful reaction, be given the wrong drug, or be given a drug meant for a different patient. Anticoagulants, opioids, antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, steroids, and psychotropic drugs are frequently involved in malpractice claims.

Birth Injuries

The birth process is inherently stressful for both mother and child, but no matter how difficult the delivery, it is not an excuse for medical negligence. Mistakes before, after, or during delivery can cause birth injuries that affect the child for their entire life. The doctor or medical professional who delivered the baby could be held liable for errors such as:

  • Improper forceps use
  • Improper vacuum use
  • Delay in ordering a cesarean section
  • Failure to properly respond to fetal distress
  • Not performing specialized tests during pregnancy

Morgan & Morgan has a long and successful history of representing the parents of children who suffered birth injuries.

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Our medical malpractice track record includes many substantial verdicts and settlements. Over 30+ years, we’ve won more than $13 billion—and counting—for our clients, including many multi-million dollar medical malpractice verdicts.

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