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Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Blog

Monday, April 10, 2017

Leading Reasons for Medical Malpractice

People who need medical care put their trust in doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. When that trust is violated and a patient is injured because of a medical mistake or incompetence, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is a brief overview of leading reasons for medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Many medical practice claims arise from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. A patient whose injury or illness is not accurately or quickly diagnosed may not receive the necessary treatment and suffer serious harm or death. Having a valid claim requires demonstrating that a reasonably skilled doctor would not have made the same mistake under the same circumstances.

Medication Errors

Medication errors occur when the wrong drug or dosage is prescribed or the medication is not properly administered. These errors often occur when hospitalized patients are given the wrong drugs or equipment such an IV pump malfunctions and overdoses a patient. In most cases, prescription errors cause patients to receive to little or too much of a medication, often with catastrophic consequences.

Surgical Errors

A variety of mistakes can occur during surgical procedures. In some cases, a negligent surgeon may operate on the wrong bodypart, fail to close a bleeding vein or artery, puncture a vital organ, or leave sponges or surgical instruments inside a patient's body. In addition, the nursing staff may be negligent during post-operative care by failing to notice complications.

Anesthesia Errors

Mistakes by anesthesiologists are especially dangerous and even a small error can lead to a permanent injury or death. These mistakes have a variety of causes, such as defective equipment or patients not being properly intubated. In many cases, injuries arise when anesthesiologists fail to adequately review a patient's medical history and administer too much anesthesia.

In the end, the fact that a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional makes a mistake does not mean they were negligent. In order to have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is necessary to demonstrate that medical professional failed to provide the appropriate level of care.


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Richard F. Silber is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. From his office in Georgetown, he and his legal team assist clients throughout the Washington metropolitan area.



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