Understanding the Most Common Kinds of Medical Malpractice Claims

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is projected to add over 4 million jobs between 2012 and 2022, making it the fastest growing industry in the nation. But while our need for quality healthcare cannot be overstated, our confidence in our medical providers may be.

While three-quarters of Americans trusted the country’s medical leaders in the mid-1960s, only 34 percent of people feel the same way today. While there are many reasons for this, it doesn’t help that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States.  

Medical errors aren’t always caused by evil doctors. But when a patient is suffers harm due to a medical professional’s failure to provide proper duty of care, it may be appropriate to hire a medical malpractice attorney and file a claim. To better understand this area of law, it may help to learn more about the different types of medical malpractice.


The most common sources of medical malpractice claims from 2013 to 2017 were diagnostic errors. In fact, 33 percent of malpractice claims filed during that time were related to errors made during patient diagnosis.

Missed or delayed diagnoses can cause a patient to endure unnecessary treatments or avoid receiving the right kind of medical attention — both of which could cause irreparable harm to the patient in question. In some cases, a misdiagnosis could actually lead to death. Most often, misdiagnosis occurs in cases of tumors, heart conditions, infections, and blood clots.

Medication errors

Unfortunately, medication errors are also incredibly common. A doctor may administer an improper dosage of a given drug or administer two or more medications that interact in ways that could be harmful to a patient. He or she could even prescribe the entirely wrong medication for a patient.

In a hospital setting, a doctor or nurse could accidentally administer medication to one patient meant for another. Improper dosage is typically the most frequently occurring example, but any of the aforementioned scenarios could potentially result in permanent injury or fatalities.

Surgical errors

In 2010, there were roughly 51 million inpatient surgical procedures performed throughout the United States. While we all would hope that our doctors would do everything correctly when we go under the knife, the reality is that surgeons have been known to make mistakes in the operating room.

It’s possible that a surgeon could puncture an organ or even operate on the incorrect body part. In some cases, doctors have also left surgical equipment inside the body, causing patients all kinds of damages post-surgery. It’s also possible that medical staff members could fail to provide proper instructions for a patient after their surgery or utilize inadequate procedures that cause harm.

A failure on the part of the anesthesiologist to periodically move the patient during surgery could lead to substantial injury. Anesthesia errors are also subject to medical malpractice claims, which might include neglect in monitoring a patient’s vital signs, administering too much anesthesia, or failing to investigate a patient’s medical history for potential complications.

Childbirth injuries

Although there are some birth conditions caused by natural causes, there are others that can result from the negligence of the doctor. Brain injuries, bone fractures, nerve damage, and paralysis are all examples that can be completely devastating.

A failure to diagnose a mother’s medical condition or a child’s birth defect could also prompt a medical malpractice suit. So could failing to respond to signs of fetal distress, improperly using equipment, or neglecting to administer a cesarean procedure when warranted. Although you may not be able to file a lawsuit merely because your pregnancy or delivery did not pan out as expected, there are numerous instances where it is entirely warranted to make a medical malpractice claim.

There are, of course, other types of medical malpractice claims that you and your lawyer might be able to use as precedent for your own. Medical product liability, failure to treat, and other situations may be addressed by filing this type of lawsuit. If you feel you’ve been harmed due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should contact your attorney to assess the situation and to determine whether you have a case.

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