Types of Medical Malpractice

Types of Medical Malpractice

When we go to the doctor, we expect to be treated with the utmost care. While most doctors do help their patients, some do not. They act in a negligent or reckless manner, causing patients extreme harm. 

This is called medical malpractice, and it can happen in a number of ways. Medical malpractice is more widespread than you may think, affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the United States every year.

The effects of medical malpractice are widespread. A patient could suffer an injury or worsened medical condition. A person could also die from medical malpractice.

As a patient, it is important that your doctor meets the standard of care. The standard of care refers to a diagnostic and treatment process that a doctor should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or circumstance. In short, this means the widely accepted level of care in the medical community.

If your doctor does not meet the standard of care, then you may be the victim of medical malpractice. Here are some common types of medical malpractice of which you should be aware.

Misdiagnosis/Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis is a common issue. While some diseases may be easy to identify, such as cancer, rare diseases may be a lot harder. This means that the doctor may diagnose you with a certain condition and treat you for something you do not even have. This can be problematic, as many medications and treatments come with side effects. Plus, the treatment is not helping the real medical ailment you have. So if your doctor removed your appendix due to a stomach issue, but you actually have cancer, you need to file a claim for improper treatment. Even a delayed diagnosis — such as not discovering your cancer until a month later — can be a life-or-death situation.

Medication Errors

Patients must receive the right medication with the correct dosage to help with their condition. If they receive too much of a medication or the wrong medicine altogether, it could lead to serious side effects and even death. Errors can happen due to communication issues between your doctor and pharmacy, drug names that sound alike, and medical abbreviations. Fortunately, medication errors are highly preventable. 

Surgical Errors

While surgeries come with risks, you should not have to worry about your doctor making stupid mistakes, such as operating on the wrong body part or cutting a nerve or organ. However, these situations do happen from time to time. Anesthesia errors and leaving a tool or sponge inside the patient’s body are other common events. Sometimes incompetence and poor planning result in surgical errors. It is possible that a surgeon may not adequately prepare for the surgical procedure. This means that instruments may not be sterile, and the required equipment may not even be available for use.

Birth Injuries

Childbirth is an everyday occurrence in the United States, but doctors still make mistakes. An emergency situation can happen at any time, and doctors need to be prepared. A lack of oxygen, for example, can affect the infant’s brain and cause brain damage and cerebral palsy. Sometimes a doctor refuses to order a C-section, causing prolonged labor and fetal distress. A doctor who misuses birthing instruments such as vacuum extractors and forceps can cause Erb’s palsy, shoulder dystocia, and skull fractures. Many things can go wrong during childbirth, and a doctor who fails to take action could be sued for medical malpractice.

Defective Medical Devices

Sometimes medical devices can do more harm than good. If they are defective, they may not work as intended. They may perforate organs. In these cases, the manufacturer may be held liable, especially if they should have known about the defect. Defective medical devices include implants, transvaginal mesh, defibrillators, surgical robots, pacemakers, and prosthetics. 

Failure to Prevent Infections

Infections are incredibly common in a hospital environment due to all the sick people. Plus, staff members often do not follow proper procedures such as washing hands and wearing masks. Those with compromised immune systems, as well as the elderly, are especially prone to infections. Many of today’s infections are also resistant to traditional antibiotics, making them life-threatening.


Bedsores are common in nursing homes and hospitals. They occur when a patient is left in the same position for too long, causing injuries to the skin and underlying tissues. They tend to occur on the ankles, heels, hips, and tailbone and are a sign of neglect or inadequate care. Bedsores may develop over a course of several days and can be hard to treat. They can get infected and require immediate medical care at that point.

Contact Us Today

Medical malpractice is something you need to be aware of when you visit your doctor or undergo a procedure. If you have been affected by a doctor’s negligence, you need to understand your legal rights in such a case.

The team at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm will carefully evaluate your case and guide you through it. Schedule a free consultation by calling (954) 876-4344 or filling out the online form. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.