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Patients may think that common medical mistakes are just that -- innocuous goof-ups. What they may not really is that these three common types of medical mistakes are actually medical malpractice, and victims are entitled to sue for these errors. And as NPR has reported, these errors are the "third-leading cause of death in America."
So what are these three common mistakes, and how can victims sue to recover from medical malpractice?
1. Diagnostic Errors.
Being misdiagnosed can harm you in multiple ways: You can go months without the proper treatment, you can be harmed by treatment for a condition you don't have, and conditions which may have been nipped in the bud may greatly worsen. This doesn't mean that every time a condition is misdiagnosed it's an example of malpractice -- after all, doctors aren't infallible diagnosis machines (unless you're Dr. Gregory House).
But it does mean that if a doctor failed to act as a reasonable prudent doctor would under similar circumstances, malpractice may be present. Failing to even consider a patient's true diagnosis or ruling it out without testing are just a few ways in which diagnostic errors can potentially amount to malpractice.
2. Medication Errors.
Prescribing a patient with the wrong medication is not just a simple mistake, it can often be fatal. Even the "right" medication can prove to have major complications when mixed with other drugs in a patient's system. Doctors can prescribe medication with injurious side effects just as easily as pharmacists can make a mistake in filling out a prescription.
Seniors are particularly in danger when medication errors are made; the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that over 100,000 ER hospitalizations of persons over 65 are caused by adverse drug effects. There is a science behind drug complications, one which doctors are tasked with knowing, and failing to use that knowledge may be considered malpractice.
3. Surgical Errors.
Any number of things can go wrong when a patient is on an operating table, and unfortunately, many of them are preventable. Wrong-site or wrong-patient surgical errors occur when a medical professional performs a surgery on the wrong patient or even the wrong part of a patient's body.
Surgical mistakes can also include: leaving foreign objects inside a patient, infections caused by poor hygiene, and even patients suffering falls while unconscious.
These mistakes can leave serious physical and mental scars on victims, so don't hesitate to have a malpractice attorney evaluate your medical mistake case.