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We trust our medical professionals to prioritize our health and safety when we turn to them for treatment for illnesses, accidents, and medical emergencies, but medical malpractice claims have risen steadily since the 1960s, and now, studies show that 21% of Americans have experienced a medical error. While many have only minor impacts, some medical mistakes cause severe injury, worsened medical conditions, and even death.
Over $42 billion was paid out in compensation to victims of medical malpractice between 2010 and 2019. Shocking recent studies indicate that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
When a doctor/patient relationship exists, doctors have an ethical duty to treat patients at the industry-excepted level of care—or the way another provider with similar credentials would treat the patient in the same circumstances. When they breach this duty of care and cause injury, they are responsible for the patient’s damages. Common medical malpractice claims in the U.S. include the following:
Each of these common medical malpractice claims can cause serious injuries, often with life-altering impacts and significant economic and non-economic damages to the injury victim.
Medical mistakes have serious effects on the victim’s life, requiring further medical interventions, corrective procedures, secondary surgeries, and lengthened recovery time. Some medical errors cannot be corrected and cause or hasten the patient’s death.
When a doctor fails to make the proper diagnosis in a timely manner, a patient’s medical condition may worsen, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. For example, missing or delaying a cancer diagnosis can cause the disease to spread beyond the original tumor to other organ systems. Failing to properly diagnose and promptly treat a stroke or heart attack can cause permanent impairment or death.
Medication mistakes can have deadly consequences, including adverse reactions, dangerous drug interactions, and allergic reactions.
Birth injuries have life-long consequences for the child and their family, sometimes resulting in cerebral palsy and other medical conditions that cause impairment, disability, and other health impacts.
Surgical errors such as wrong-site, wrong-side, and wrong-patient surgeries are considered “never events” in the medical profession, because of their life-long impacts, including organ loss and limb loss; however, these mistakes continue to occur in medical facilities despite protocols meant to prevent them.
Anesthesia errors sometimes cause oxygen deprivation, stroke, heart attacks, and death. Some errors cause surgical patients to endure intraoperative awareness or the experience of feeling the pain of surgery while being unable to move. This trauma often results in PTSD.
When a doctor misses the signs of infection, the patient may become septic—a life-threatening medical condition.
Victims of medical malpractice may face serious consequences, including physical and financial damages. Common damages in medical malpractice claims include:
When a patient suffers damages due to a medical provider’s error, they deserve compensation. Compensation for damages typically comes through the provider’s malpractice insurance. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact a New Haven personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case further.