In the realm of healthcare, trust is paramount. Patients rely on medical professionals to prioritize their well-being and provide competent care. However, instances of medical malpractice can shatter this trust, leaving individuals vulnerable, potentially hurt, and in search of justice.
Below, we explore six common types of medical malpractice and share proactive steps you can take to seek justice.
1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
One of the most prevalent forms of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. When healthcare professionals fail to accurately identify a medical condition, patients can suffer severe consequences, including worsened health and increased treatment costs.
For these reasons—no matter your health situation—it’s crucial to save all of your medical records, should you need to consult with another healthcare professional for a second opinion, hire a medical malpractice attorney, or file a complaint with a medical board.
>>> Related read: When and How You Should File a Complaint Against Your Doctor
2. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse within the healthcare system is a deeply distressing but not uncommon form of medical malpractice. Instances of sexual abuse by healthcare professionals, such as Dr. Vernon and the DuPage Medical Group, can include inappropriate touching, sexual comments, or unwanted advances during examinations.
Some other signs of inappropriate behavior by your healthcare provider can include:
- Conducting exams without gloves
- Failing to explain a procedure or adequately answer questions about it, leaving you feeling violated
- Asking inappropriate questions about your sexual history
- Refusing to let anyone else in the room, such as a nurse or loved one (this may be impacted by COVID protocol)
In these cases, victims often face immense emotional and psychological trauma, making it difficult to identify or even address what happened to them. However, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone and can find closure and peace by reporting the incident and seeking experienced legal counsel.
3. Surgical Errors
Surgical errors, including emergency room errors or operating room errors, can have life-altering consequences, ranging from permanent disabilities to fatalities. Common surgical mistakes include wrong-site surgeries, incorrect procedures, and leaving surgical instruments inside patients.
As with the examples above, it’s critical to document the details of the procedure, obtain your medical records, and consult with a medical malpractice attorney to get the compensation you need to care for yourself moving forward.
4. Medication Errors
Medication errors can occur at various stages, from prescription to administration. This can include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Incorrect dosage or improper route of administration
- Administering medication to the wrong patient
- Failure to review patient allergies or contraindications
- Failure to monitor for adverse effects
- Prescribing or administering contraindicated medications
- Lack of proper documentation
- Medication storage errors
Patients experiencing adverse effects from medication errors can pursue several routes, including reporting the incident to their healthcare provider, documenting symptoms, and seeking legal advice to explore their options.
5. Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
According to the American Cancer Society, informed consent is “a process of communication between you and your health care provider that often leads to agreement or permission for care, treatment, or services.” This can include instances in which patients are coerced into consenting to a treatment or medical professionals fail to document the consent.
If a patient has not been adequately informed about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a procedure, they could suffer physical or psychological harm. In these circumstances, they can file a complaint with the medical board or consult with a legal professional to explore potential avenues for justice.
6. Breach of Confidentiality
Maintaining patient confidentiality is crucial to preserving trust in the doctor-patient relationship. Breaches of confidentiality, such as unauthorized disclosure of medical records, can lead to serious consequences, including emotional distress, lack of trust in the healthcare system, deteriorating health, loss of privacy, or even discrimination. Patients who believe their right to privacy has been compromised can report the incident or seek legal counsel for help.
Get the Justice You Deserve as a Medical Patient
Medical malpractice can have profound and lasting effects on the lives of patients. Recognizing the common types of medical malpractice is the first step toward seeking justice. If you or a loved one has experienced any of these forms of malpractice, it is crucial to document the details, consult with other healthcare professionals for second opinions, and seek legal advice promptly.
Our team at Hurley McKenna & Mertz has years of experience fighting for survivors of medical malpractice. With you, we can take proactive steps to hold responsible parties accountable, contributing to a safer and more trustworthy healthcare system for all. Contact us via the form below for a free consultation today.