How to recognize medical negligence: 4 common types of errors

Let’s be honest – no one ever enjoys going to the doctor. But when you put your life in the hands of a trusted professional and get disappointed, the experience is utterly disagreeable. Unfortunately, many people fall victims to medical negligence, dealing with the dreadful consequences of a doctor’s error. Injuries due to medical negligence can worsen patients’ conditions, lead to serious disabilities and substantial losses. And the physical and emotional trauma caused by the injuries can be long lasting. 

Medical errors can happen in any setting, but some mistakes are more frequent than others. However, you cannot establish liability simply by pointing to one mistake. You must prove that your injury is a direct result of the doctor breaching the standard of care. 

In this article, you’ll learn the most common types of medical negligence. But first, let’s take a look at how you can recognize if you are a victim of a medical error. 

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/hIgeoQjS_iE 

What are the signs of medical negligence? 

According to Medical Negligence Law UK experts, medical negligence occurs when “a doctor harms their patient by providing care that is beneath the standards of professionalism, skill and diligence expected of them.”

Victims of medical negligence are entitled to compensation for their pain and financial damage. Recognizing the signs of medical negligence is critical so that victims can take the necessary steps to claim their losses. 

Some common signs of medical negligence include:

  • Your treatment doesn’t work, and you don’t get any better;
  • Your condition worsens;
  • You develop another condition due to improper treatment; 
  • Your doctor overlooks your concerns;
  • There is no aftercare following your illness or treatment;
  • Your doctor is unwilling to answer questions regarding your condition;
  • You got a different opinion from another medical professional. 

Common types of medical negligence

Misdiagnoses

For most medical conditions, it’s crucial to get a proper diagnosis and receive a treatment plan as soon as possible. That way, your chances of recovering increase. On the other hand, if you are misdiagnosed, treatment is delayed, and your condition might worsen in time. In addition, improper treatment can lead to side effects that can negatively affect your health. 

Getting an incorrect diagnosis can be accounted for as medical negligence. When your GP or another medical professional fails to identify or record your symptoms, that’s a negligent medical misdiagnosis. Failure to order accurate tests and adequately analyse their results also falls into the category. Cancer, diabetes and stroke are some frequently misdiagnosed medical conditions. Their symptoms can be easily missed or misinterpreted as different conditions if the doctor fails to take proper care during the diagnosis. 

Overdiagnosing a medical condition

This type of negligence is the opposite of misdiagnosing a medical condition. Overdiagnosing can be as harmful to patients as not getting the proper treatment from the very beginning. 

Unnecessary testing is dangerous for patients – and so is prescribing medication that might not be needed. 

Different conditions require different types of treatment. If you don’t get a proper treatment plan, you put your health at risk, and the damage can be permanent. Treating a condition that’s not even real can lead to severe consequences and impact the patients’ life considerably. 

Surgical errors

This is another common form of medical negligence. Many different issues can fall under the umbrella of surgical errors. When undergoing surgery, patients are the most vulnerable – at this point, it’s of the utmost importance for doctors to take proper care of them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and some doctors make errors that can have devastating effects.

Here are some examples of surgical errors:

  • Perforation. When performing surgery, cutting a vein, muscle, or organ is one of the highest risks, as they should never be touched throughout the procedure. When this happens, the patient could deal with additional medical problems.  
  • Incorrect placement of the medical device. Medical devices are indispensable when performing a surgery. Pumps, replacement joints, and pacemakers can make patients’ lives easier when implanted. However, if done incorrectly, the procedure can have the opposite effect. Incorrect placement of a medical device can lead to catastrophic events. 
  • Improper site. This is often the result of medical professionals’ miscommunication. In this case, an inappropriate surgery is performed on the patient. 
  • Foreign objects. Doctors can also make the mistake of leaving foreign objects, such as a sponge, inside the patient. 
  • Unnecessary surgery. Sometimes, doctors prescribe surgeries that are later revealed to be unnecessary. This frequently happens with pacemakers and hysterectomies
  • Anaesthesia complications. Because this type of medical procedure is very specific, even the slightest mistake can cause many complications. An under dosage or an overdosage could put the patient’s life at risk. 

Infections

When patients go to the hospital, they expect the best from their visit. Sometimes, however, their experience isn’t the best because they might be at risk of developing infections. This is another form medical negligence can take.  

No matter their position, all medical professionals must take preventive measures to avoid infections being transmitted from one individual to another. The error of not cleaning their hands or instruments correctly can lead to serious infections for a patient. 

What to do if you are a victim of medical negligence

Medical negligence should not go unpunished. If you’ve been a victim of a doctor’s negligence, you should fight for your rights and get the justice you deserve. With the support of an experienced lawyer, you can increase your chances of winning the case. It’s better to have them by your side because they understand the legal aspects and know the steps to get the desired outcome. 

In a medical negligence case, gathering strong evidence is vital. Your medical records are a valuable tool for the legal professional as they can begin analysing the information. Negotiating a fair settlement is also critical, as it helps you avoid the uncertainty of a trial or appeal. 

What’s more, you get to be compensated for your suffering. Compensation is fundamental in medical negligence cases because it acts as insurance for the person who has suffered many losses. Thus, it allows you to pay for litigation costs, business failure and medical bills. 

Final thoughts

Medical negligence is a serious issue that shouldn’t be overlooked. Doctors must ensure patients’ safety throughout all the medical evaluations and procedures. No one should ever suffer significant damage due to the negligence of a healthcare provider. 

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