There are many different types of medical malpractice, but most of them can be placed into one of the following three categories. A Maryland medical malpractice lawyer can help if you were harmed by any of the three types of malpractice:
- Diagnostic errors
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
All medical providers have a responsibility to provide a standard of care when treating patients. If they do not and their medical care leads to injuries, it can warrant a medical malpractice claim.
Malpractice Type #1: Diagnostic Errors
An accurate diagnosis of a medical condition is the cornerstone of good treatment. Your provider needs to know what is causing your symptoms so they can prescribe a treatment that:
- Effectively targets your condition
- Does not cause your condition to worsen
- Will not interfere with any other treatments you are currently undergoing or any other conditions you have
Providers must do all they can to correctly diagnose their patients, including running tests, listening closely as the patient describes their symptoms, and reviewing the patient’s medical history.
A provider may arrive at an incorrect diagnosis if they:
- Dismiss a patient’s concerns without taking the time to investigate the cause of their symptoms
- Fail to order appropriate tests that could shed light on the patient’s condition
- Misread the test results or used the results from the wrong patient
- Do not communicate clearly with other medical providers, such as an x-ray technician
- Use diagnostic equipment that is out of date, malfunctioning, or not in good repair
When a provider misdiagnoses you (or fails to provide any diagnosis at all), it can take time for you to realize their mistake and to receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, your condition could continue to worsen and cause you unnecessary pain.
For legal consultation, call (410)777-8960
Malpractice Type #2: Surgical Errors
Of the three types of malpractice, surgical errors tend to result in the most “extreme” incidents, including when a provider:
- Operates on the wrong body part
- Leaves a piece of medical equipment in the patient’s body
- Operates on a patient who does not need surgery
- Makes a mistake during childbirth, causing the parent and/or the child to suffer a catastrophic injury
- Uses unsterilized equipment
Some surgical errors can be corrected. For instance, once the patient complains of symptoms and the provider realizes they left something like a sponge in their body, they may be able to remove the sponge and address the symptoms without any permanent damage befalling the patient.
Unfortunately, all too many surgical errors result in long-term, even permanent damage to the malpractice victim.
Malpractice Type #3: Medication Errors
As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains, there are numerous opportunities for your providers to make a mistake when prescribing you medication. Examples of common medication errors include the following:
- Your provider tells you to take the wrong drug: maybe that drug has been proven to be dangerous or does not adequately address your condition.
- There is a miscommunication between provider and pharmacist, and the label on your pill bottle includes the wrong instructions (e.g., it tells you to take too many or too few pills at a time).
- The pharmacist responsible for filling your prescription makes a mistake, such as using the wrong drug or making the pills too weak or too potent.
Every year, the FDA has to evaluate over 100,000 reports of potential medication errors. Mistakes like those listed above can have disastrous consequences for patients, up to and including death.
The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice
The three types of malpractice have several factors in common: they all stem from a lack of care and competence from your provider. To recover compensation for medical malpractice, a medical malpractice victim has to prove that the provider’s actions meet all four of the following criteria:
- The provider was responsible for your safety and well-being. This is called a duty of care.
- The provider, in some way, failed to uphold their duty of care. They may have misdiagnosed your condition, made a mistake during surgery, or prescribed the wrong medication.
- The breach of duty resulted in a medical injury, which is defined by Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-2A-01(g) as an “injury arising or resulting from the rendering or failure to render health care.”
- This injury has had a noticeable and negative effect on your life. You may have experienced physical pain, emotional trauma, and/or financial hardship.
These elements apply whether the malpractice occurred at a hospital, an urgent care center, or your primary care provider’s office.
If you would like someone to help you prove your malpractice case, feel free to talk to a medical malpractice attorney in your area. They can gather evidence to build up your case and even meet with the liable party’s insurer to get you the money your family needs.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Who Is Responsible for the Three Types of Malpractice?
As you may have already guessed, any medical professional with an obligation to help patients can be liable for a medical error. This includes but is in no way limited to:
- Primary care providers
- Physician’s assistants
- Specialists (podiatrists, cardiologists, etc.)
- Lab technicians
In some cases, the cause of malpractice goes deeper than a single careless provider. The healthcare facilities where these providers work are responsible for:
- Vetting prospective employees and ensuring they have the qualifications to do the job they are being hired for
- Ensuring the equipment their providers use is operational at all times
- Setting the rules and regulations providers must follow regarding matters such as cleanliness, communication, and proper treatment of patients
If any of these factors played a role in your malpractice case—for instance, if the nurse who helped to operate on you was not qualified for the position—you could potentially sue both the nurse and the facility that hired them. Your medical malpractice lawyer can tell you more and make sure you hold all liable parties responsible.
Does Your Case Involve One of the Three Types of Malpractice?
Now that you know what the three types of malpractice are, do you know which category your own personal injury falls into? If not, do not worry: MD Accident Law can investigate your injury and help you file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. To get started, call us today and ask for a free case evaluation.