Medical malpractice comes in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: a negligent failure to provide a patient with the level of due care that the patient is entitled to under Texas law. Whenever a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist or other healthcare professional makes a serious mistake, the patient’s life could be in danger.
Here are five common medical malpractice mistakes that can lead to tragedy:
- Never events. Some errors are so serious and so easily avoided that in personal injury law, they are called “never events” — as in, they should never happen. Never events include operating on the wrong-side body part (e.g., the left knee instead of the right) and accidentally leaving surgical equipment inside the patient’s body.
- Misdiagnosis. Doctors don’t always get it right the first time. But when a physician ignores obvious symptoms, fails to order necessary tests, or rushes through the exam, the chances of misdiagnosis greatly increase.
- Miscommunication between doctors. When you are seriously ill, you will likely see more than one doctor to learn your treatment options and get the care you need. Your doctors should work as a team and communicate regularly. If not, one of your physicians may miss ordering an important test or prescribe you a medicine that conflicts with another drug you are taking.
- Hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals are full of sick people, so naturally, there are lots of germs floating around. Cleaning policies must be carefully followed to prevent the spread of infection. But hospitals sometimes fail to keep patient rooms and common areas clean enough.
- Charting errors. Your medical chart contains all your health information. A mistake on your chart by a negligent doctor can affect the quality of care you receive in the future.
Whatever type of mistake their doctor made, for victims, the important thing is recovering from the consequences. Unfortunately, in severe cases, it can take years until the effects of medical malpractice disappear. Sometimes, victims die or are disabled for life.