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Common errors that cause medical malpractice

Chicago doctors and other health care practitioners who fail to exhibit an accepted standard of care for their patients could have committed medical malpractice. While many medical malpractice errors involve omissions, it can occur in several ways.

Missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor finds a condition but mistakes it for a similar condition to the real one. For example, a heart condition could get initially diagnosed as a panic attack. The patient may undergo unneeded treatment for a problem they don’t have, which may cause the real problem to get worse.

Sometimes called a delayed diagnosis, a missed diagnosis happens when the doctor correctly identifies the conditions, but didn’t diagnose it on time. This commonly occurs with cancer, which has already spread to the later stages.

Surgical errors

The most common and more serious surgical errors involve anesthesia. The practitioner can administer too much anesthesia, the wrong kind, or not enough. These errors can cause heart attack, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain damage, and death.

A surgeon often uses dozens of instrument during a procedure that may get left inside the patient, such as sponges and forceps. Doctors may operate on the wrong patient or operate on the wrong organ or side of the body.

Medication errors

Medication errors commonly happen along the chain of prescribing to distribution. Stats show 50% of medication errors occur at the prescribing or ordering stage.

Sometimes, doctors don’t write legibly, so a pharmacist could give the patient the wrong medicine. A patient may get too much of a medication or not not enough, or the medicine gets administered improperly. Many medications have similar names, which could easily cause confusion.

Though medical negligence is often unintentional, it can have devastating consequences for patients. If a patient thinks they were harmed by a medical error, a lawyer may be able to determine the next steps to take.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, “What is medical malpractice?” published April 5, 2017.