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5 Most Common Reasons for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

When you or a loved one seeks medical care, the assumption is that the physicians and other practitioners attending to you will heal your ailments or at least help alleviate your symptoms. The idea is to make you better, not worse.  Unfortunately, even the most experienced healthcare professionals can make mistakes—and these mistakes often cause significant harm to patients.

In fact, a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins estimated that more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are caused by medical error, making it the third leading cause of death. Some studies peg the annual medical mistake deaths as high as 400,000! And this does not factor in the permanent injuries suffered by patients who have incurred medical mistakes, which is estimated to be 10 to 20 times as frequent as deaths.

Given the widespread problem of medical malpractice and the severe consequences, it is common for patients who have been harmed to pursue lawsuits against the health care providers who caused the harm. Here are five of the most common reasons behind medical malpractice suits:

  1. Delayed diagnosis. With many health conditions, time is of the essence in receiving proper treatment. If a physician or hospital fails to identify and recommend treatment for a condition in a timely manner, and the patient’s health deteriorates as a result, the provider may be liable for medical malpractice.
  2. Misdiagnosis. A similar situation may arise when a physician recognizes that a patient has a medical problem, but incorrectly identifies what it is. Misdiagnosis often results in the patient receiving the wrong treatment—which could in itself cause further harm, while failing to treat the patient’s true condition.
  3. Medication errors. Studies indicate that approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S. are injured by medication errors each year. Medication errors encompass a variety of circumstances, ranging from the right medication being prescribed at an improper dosage to a combination of medications that causes an adverse effect.
  4. Surgical errors. Whether you’re having a minor outpatient procedure or a complex, hours-long surgery, needing to undergo a surgical procedure is a frightening event for many patients as they surrender complete control to their healthcare teams. Unfortunately, a variety of errors may arise surrounding surgeries, including: physicians ordering unnecessary surgical procedures; surgeries performed on the wrong part of the body; surgery damaging healthy organs or vessels, surgeries performed on the wrong patient; and surgical tools left inside the body after the procedure.
  5. Anesthesia errors. Another terrifying problem that may arise in surgical settings involves the administration of anesthetic drugs. The role of anesthesiologists and their teams is crucial, as they examine a patient’s complete medical history before surgery, note any current medications or drug allergies, and determine the precise combination of anesthetics that should be administered in light of the patient’s unique circumstances and the type of surgery. When mistakes are made during this process and the patient is harmed as a result, it often leads to medical malpractice lawsuits.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm after receiving medical care, it’s crucial to speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible—in Florida, the statute of limitations for bringing these cases is only two years. Florida’s Medical Malpractice Act, Florida Statutes 766, is a complex array of laws that have very specific requirements before bringing a medical malpractice case. At Leighton Law, our team has extensive experience representing victims of medical mistakes, and has secured some of the largest verdicts and settlements in state history on behalf of our clients. To request a consultation, call us today at 888.988.1774.

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