With the shocking revelations from the Johns Hopkins study, it's no wonder why medical malpractice claims are rising in the U.S. Every year, about 20,000 people will file a lawsuit against a medical professional for medical malpractice. Here are the most common causes:
Misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis - Since healthcare is so fragmented now, it's more difficult for doctors to have a complete picture of a patient's health which can lead to misdiagnoses. The doctor may be inexperienced or overconfident, both of which can lead to patient harm. Since health care has become more like a business than a calling, many doctors only spend about 15 minutes with a patient. Such a brief amount of time is rarely enough to evaluate symptoms properly. Instead, the patient is sent to a specialist who further complicates matters since the specialists will be looking for signs that are relevant to their field. By the time the accurate diagnosis is found, the patient may have suffered irreparable harm.
Failure to treat - When a doctor fails to treat a patient with a medical condition, the patient's health may deteriorate or may even cause death. A doctor can fail a patient if they don't order tests, treat conditions in a timely manner, fail to treat because of insurance or let the patient know about the available treatments for their condition.
Medication errors - A medication error can result in an overdose, complications with other medications, and delayed treatment. Medication errors can happen because of the wrong dosage, wrong medicine, failure to research drug allergies, past prescription drug use, and failure to warn the patient of the drug's risks and side effects.
Surgical or procedural errors - Surgeons need to have the proper training to perform their delicate work. Suppose a surgeon is overly confident in their skills and performs a surgery in which they are not qualified. In that case, the results can be disastrous for the patient. Furthermore, lack of communication and insufficient staffing can lead to patient harm if an anesthesiologist isn't made aware of the patient's drug allergies, or the nursing staff is overwhelmed and doesn't check on a patient after surgery.
Childbirth injuries - A childbirth injury can occur at any time during gestation or birth if a doctor or nurse fails to provide adequate prenatal care, fails to recognize fetal distress, or doesn't perform a C-section when it's apparent that one is necessary.