What is Medical Malpractice?

By: Joe Devine

Medical malpractice is the very broad term given to a very wide variety of incidences where a doctor or someone with a medical license makes some sort of mistake that results in the injury or death of a patient. Such areas include birth injuries, missed or wrong diagnoses, or improper treatment. These are just three of many other areas of medical malpractice.

Birth injuries are basically any injury to a baby during birth that could have been prevented by action on the part of the doctor that was responsible for delivering the baby. For instance, if there are difficulties during the delivery and a doctor does not perform a c-section to get the baby oxygen, brain damage can occur. This is an example of birth injury that could have been prevented by quicker action or action in general by the doctor that was delivering the baby. Many birth injury situations involve unforeseeable complications that must be treated as best as possible when they occur. In other situations, a birth injury is preventable and may be the result of medical error, negligence, or malpractice. Birth injuries and birth traumas are often considered the same thing. Common causes of birth injuries include:

- Complications during pregnancy

- Improper dating

- Complications during childbirth

- Ob/Gyn errors such as mishandling of an instrument, improper delivery technique, Incorrect estimation of birth date, improper prenatal testing, failure to perform C-section in a timely manner, diagnostic errors, and failure to treat a condition

- Obstetrical mistakes such as failure to recognize fetal distress, failure to diagnose or treat infection, and failure to respond to complications in a timely manner

Missed or wrong diagnoses are pretty much exactly the way they sound. They involve a doctor misdiagnosing a disease or injury or a doctor not diagnosing something that is there. An example of misdiagnosing a disease would be diagnosing someone with Type 2 diabetes as having Type 1 diabetes. Quite frequently, these errors are quite dangerous as they frequently involve incorrect treatment. Doctors can also diagnosis something when a patient is in actuality healthy. The opposite of this situation is also true.

Improper treatment is also very similar to what it sounds like it is. It involves treating a disease or injury incorrectly. The incorrect treatment of a disease often results in the disease getting worse or a different disease developing. In order for incorrect treatment to be brought into play, a doctor must first diagnose the disease or injury correctly. Only then can improper treatment be brought up as an issue.

These are just three of the many areas of medical malpractice that personal injury lawyers see on a daily basis.


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