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What are the top causes of medical malpractice claims?

When medical providers fail in their duties, patients’ lives are at stake. People can face serious injury if treatment protocols don’t meet medical standards.

An incorrectly ordered medication could cause a fatal interaction. Misdiagnosis of cancer or a stroke can be a death sentence. If a surgeon operates on the wrong body part, patients pay the price

A recent survey of medical malpractice statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals some of the most common causes of medical malpractice claims.

  • Failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis31 percent of doctors surveyed by Medscape reported that medical malpractice cases arose from a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include cancer, heart attacks (particularly in an emergency room setting), strokes and blood clots.
  • Failing to treat/under-treating – if all aspects of the patient’s health aren’t adequately monitored and corrected, his or her overall condition can rapidly spiral downward. Even a successful surgery can, for example, result in a life-threatening infection. If caught early, such infections are very treatable, and the patient can make a full recovery. Without intervention, however, a localized infection can become systemic, resulting in irreversible injury or even death.
  • Medication errors – medicines save lives, both in and out of a hospital setting. When not administered properly, however, the same drugs that sustain us can seriously injure us. Giving a stroke patient too much blood thinner can cause internal bleeding. An insufficient amount of insulin can send a severely diabetic patient into shock. Switching up medications meant for patients with similar names could result in potentially fatal drug interactions.

These are only a few of the causes of medical malpractice claims, though they do represent a large percentage of overall annual cases brought against negligent providers.

If you or someone you love suffered injury after a doctor, nurse, hospital administrator or other healthcare provider acted negligently, you may have a legal cause of action. Reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area for more information.

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