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Everyone has times of sickness in their lives. When health problems hit home, we seek out care with the belief that we are receiving they best a doctor has to give. The harsh reality is, there are a vast amount of medical malpractice cases in Missouri, Illinois, and across the United States each year. In fact, as part of a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing last year, it was reported that there are as many as 1,000 preventable deaths per day as a result of medical malpractice. Which begs the question:  What is medical malpractice?

There are various types of medical negligence that could be classified as medical malpractice. Before we go on, it should be noted that not ALL medical errors can be classified as medical malpractice. There are some medical errors that happen which are expected, and sometimes, unavoidable in performing a medical procedure. In the legal industry, this is referred to as the “Standard of Care,” which is a standard set forth that allows certain medical errors to occur without the doctor or medical provider being held liable for damages caused by these errors. This is to prevent medical malpractice lawsuits from being filed against medical providers that unknowingly caused a medical error in performing other lifesaving procedures.

Types of Medical Malpractice

medical malpractice

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

This type of medical malpractice is, perhaps, the largest faction of medical malpractice claims. This occurs when a doctor fails to recognize a condition that causes harm to the patient, or catches the condition at a stage that is too late to reverse damage that has already been done.

Childbirth Injuries

There are several types of childbirth injuries that could constitute as medical malpractice such as:  brain injuries, seizure disorders and cerebral palsy, klumpke’s and erb’s palsy, and fractured bones. Although these disorders could be caused by medical negligence, they are often caused by other issues beside medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice can occur sometimes far before the mother ever begins labor. Negligent prenatal care can harm both the child and the mother and can be caused by the physician or the obstetrician treating the pregnant mother.

  • failure to diagnose health conditions in the pregnant mother, such as:  Rh incompatibility, anemia, gestational diabetes, hypoglycemia or preeclampsia
  • failure to recognize ectopic pregnancies
  • failure to identify birth defects
  • failure to render a diagnosis of a disease that could be contagious to the mother’s child

Childbirth medical negligence can occur in different ways, as well:

  • failure to respond to a distressed fetus
  • failure to anticipate alternatives in delivering a large-sized fetus or a fetus entangled in the umbilical cord
  • failure to order a C-section when needed
  • improper use of a vacuum extractor or forceps

Prescription Errors

One of the most common types of medical malpractice happens when the patient is administered medicines improperly. There are several ways this can occur – a doctor could prescribe the wrong drug for the condition, or the doctor could prescribe a medication for a condition that the patient does not have. When admitted to the hospital, a nurse could mistakenly give you your roommate’s medication. The most common prescription related medical malpractice involves the dosage of the prescribed drug. The wrong dosage could be written by the doctor, or if a machine is used to administer the drug, and malfunctions, the patient could receive too much or too little of a necessary drug. If you believe you may have been harmed by medication errors, it is important to consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

Anesthesia Negligence

Anesthesia medical malpractice cases are some of the worst injuries, and often involve a patient who has died from the mistake. Anesthesia-related medical malpractice occurs when an anesthesiologist fails to inform the patient of preoperative procedures that could cause complications or when they fail to fully investigate a patient’s health history for the possibility of complications.

Other anesthesia medical malpractice errors involve:

  • administering too much anesthesia
  • improper intubation of the patient
  • use of defective equipment
  • failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs

Surgical Medical Malpractice

Operating room errors are common and involve complications such as puncturing internal organs, leaving medical equipment or supplies in the patient’s body or operating on the wrong body part. Surgical medical malpractice can also occur when the nursing or surgical support staff fails to provide proper post-operative care which could cause infections, among other medical issues.

As we’ve stated earlier in this blog, not every medical error is medical malpractice. That is why it is very important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after you believe the medical error has occurred. In addition, medical malpractice laws are different in every state, so you should seek out a knowledgeable Missouri or Illinois medical malpractice lawyer so that you’re represented to the best of the medical malpractice attorney’s ability.

Call our medical malpractice law firm with convenient locations in St. Louis, MO, St. Charles, MO, and Granite City, IL. We can be reached at 1-800-536-8844 or online by clicking here.