Even though doctors and other medical professionals are expected to provide quality care, certain medical mistakes may happen (if they act in a negligent way) that can cause severe injuries to patients or even death. Such medical errors can result in medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice is the breach of the duty of care by a healthcare provider or a hospital. In such medical negligence cases, a comprehensive medical record review of the plaintiff’s medical records is necessary to find the evidence to prove that the healthcare provider violated the standard of care, resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries, fatal condition or compensable financial damages.
Some of the most common errors that may lead to medical malpractice claims are –
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is a major reason for a large number of medical malpractice claims. A provider’s diagnosis error can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or even no treatment, making the patient’s condition worse. To prove the provider’s negligence, attorneys require medical records that highlight what the treating doctor did and compare it to what other competent doctors within the same specialty would have done to handle the patient’s condition.
For any patient’s care, a proper diagnosis and an effective treatment plan is crucial. If a patient receives an improper diagnosis or none at all, he or she will not receive appropriate treatment, which may result in severe personal injury or death.
Birth injury refers to any type of injury a baby suffers before, during, or directly after childbirth. Such injuries can last a lifetime and may lead to many other medical complications. However, many birth injuries are preventable and are caused by medical malpractice. Common causes of birth injuries are – delayed birth, oxygen deprivation, certain medications prescribed, or viral or bacterial infections in the mother or infant. Any negligence in medical treatment during pregnancy or during childbirth such as not identifying congenital disabilities or an ectopic pregnancy or not responding to signs of fetal distress could harm the fetus (baby) or the mother or both. Provider’s negligence can cause a number of fetal injuries such as brain injuries like cerebral palsy and seizure disorders, and fractured bones.
To prove a birth injury case, attorneys require medical records of the mother’s treatment during pregnancy and delivery, the infant’s birth injury, and expert testimony from obstetricians, nurses, and other experts among others.
Errors in Medication
Each year, medication errors harm thousands of people in the U.S. NCBI has reported that the emergency department is the third most common source of medication errors such as wrong doses and overdoses. A doctor prescribing wrong medication can pose severe consequences for patients. Serious harmful results of a medication error may include death, life-threatening situation, hospitalization, disability or birth defect. According to the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they receive more than 100,000 U.S. reports each year associated with a suspected medication error.
Errors in dosage can happen in diverse circumstances – when the doctor writes a wrong dosage on the prescription, the nurse administers the incorrect dosage, defective equipment that administers the drug malfunctions, or the pharmacist fills the medication wrong.
Medical malpractice claims may also arise from mistakes in the operating room. Negligence during the surgery can be the result of poor planning before the operation. Mistakes that happen during and after surgery or even during post-operative care can have overwhelming consequences to a patient, including dangerous infections, medical complications or death.
Surgical errors may include operating on the wrong body area, performing the wrong surgery, making the incision in an incorrect location, leaving a foreign object inside the patient, or operating on the wrong patient.
Anesthesia errors are also common and more dangerous than surgical mistakes. Even a small mistake from an anesthesiologist can lead to permanent injury or brain damage. Such errors can be caused by not investigating the patient’s medical history for any possible complications, not informing the patient about the risks involved if preoperative instructions are not followed, administering too much anesthesia to the patient, or not monitoring the patient’s vital signs. Such errors can cause permanent injuries or death.
Plaintiff or defense medical malpractice attorneys may have to deal with a huge volume of medical records that are often unorganized. Professional medical record organization services are available to organize these records chronologically into digital files that are easy to read and quickly navigable.