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Most Common Types and Causes of Medical Malpractice

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Categorized as Legal Updates

The damages caused by medical malpractice range from mild injuries to death. You might be eligible for significant compensation if the medical professional who caused these damages was negligent. Identifying the type of medical malpractice that was committed can be the most challenging part of this process. Consider consulting with a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer if you have questions about what steps to take.

Most Common Types of Malpractice

Exploring the different types of medical malpractice may make it easier to identify the type of malpractice you experienced. At the same time, there might be cases that do not fit into the categories of these types of medical malpractice. This is why it can also be helpful to understand what counts as medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is generally considered to be any act of negligence that causes harm to a patient. The person who caused your damages must be a medical professional that you have some type of relationship with as a patient. Negligence can look like an act of recklessness or a failure to act to prevent harm.

Looking at some of the most common forms of medical malpractice can help you start identifying malpractice you may have experienced. These types of medical malpractice include:

  • Surgical errors
  • Failure to treat
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Mistakes during medical procedures
  • Improper use of medical devices
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to obtain informed consent

Surgical errors range from leaving objects inside patients to performing surgery on the wrong side of the body. Some cases of surgical malpractice have even involved operating on the wrong patient due to a mix-up in the data records. This can lead to failure to treat the patient who may have needed immediate surgery on that specific day. Failure to treat can also stem from misdiagnosing or failing to notice key symptoms.

Improper use of medical devices or tools may lead to harm during medical procedures. This can also take the form of medication errors, when professionals administer the wrong medication. The effects can be drastic and range from not treating the patient to life-threatening side effects. Common types of medication malpractice include:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Wrong dosage
  • Improper timing to take the medication
  • Failure to follow up with patient about side effects
  • Failure to consider allergies
  • Not factoring in adverse medication interactions
  • Mixing up similar medication names

Many of these errors happen during times of rushing to complete daily tasks. All it takes is mistyping or misreading one decimal, number, or letter to mix up certain medications. The error may seem small, but the effects can be severe and, in some cases, life-changing.

Top Causes of Medical Malpractice

Being aware of the most common causes of medical malpractice can be important for helping you build your malpractice claim. To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove certain factors including:

  • Negligence
  • Causation
  • Damages
  • Duty to the patient

Negligence is a breach of the standard of care. Carelessness, reckless behaviors, and failure to act to prevent harm all count as negligence. This can be the hardest factor to prove and usually requires significant evidence like medical records and witness testimonies.

Causation ties the act of negligence committed by a medical professional to the damages experienced by the patient. Proving this may involve expert testimonies and representation by a lawyer. Damages are any harm you suffered as a patient and are proven with pictures, medical records, and documents.

The duty to the patient is the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. This is easily proven with a signed consent form or circumstances surrounding your care. All of these elements are put together in a medical malpractice lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help you collect evidence and organize these elements together to improve your chances of receiving the compensation you need to recover.

Some of the top causes of medical malpractice revolve around time constraints, lack of experience, not following protocols, and miscommunication. Nurses, doctors, and pharmacists are all human and can make mistakes under certain circumstances. Some mistakes can be prevented by following protocols or not taking action without certainty.

For example, during times of being rushed, medical professionals may mix up the wrong patient with the wrong medication. A doctor may rush the examination of a patient and miss subtle symptoms that point to a serious illness. Pharmacy technicians may rush to fill a prescription and accidentally dispense the wrong dosage. This can lead to patient death by overdose.

Acts of carelessness can be caused by time constraints, stress, burnout, or a simple lack of concern for performing the job properly. This might look like not following up with patients on concerns they bring up. A patient may bring up medication side effects that point to a more serious underlying medical complication. When a doctor fails to follow up on this and the patient suffers harm, then that doctor could be held liable.

Medical professionals who operate without a professional medical license or who abuse substances might be deemed reckless. Substance abuse on the job can lead to a variety of mistakes that can harm patients in multiple ways. Signs of this may include stumbling, slurring words, acting differently than usual, and blatantly not following proper medical protocols.

Consider contacting a Kansas City malpractice lawyer if you think you may have gone through something similar. An experienced lawyer can help you identify the type of malpractice you experienced along with what legal options you have available. Filing a lawsuit could potentially have your medical expenses paid for along with additional compensation for pain and suffering.

Kansas City Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Taking legal action against a medical professional or organization can be intimidating. You do not have to go through this alone. Feel free to reach out and contact Peterson and Associates P.C. today at (816) 888-8888 to talk to a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney for a consultation about your legal options. Our legal team might be able to help you obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income related to the malpractice you suffered. We serve clients in Kansas City, Missouri.