Six Common Types of Medical Malpractice


Doctors and other healthcare professionals sometimes make mistakes while treating patients. When those errors rise to the level of medical malpractice and cause serious injuries and losses, the victims have the right to pursue malpractice claims to recover compensation. Sustaining injuries because of medical negligence can leave people with serious disabilities, worsened conditions, and substantial losses. Victims might have to deal with emotional and physical trauma because of their injuries for the rest of their lives.

Even though malpractice can permanently alter people’s lives, many victims do not pursue claims. Some people are uncertain whether what happened in their cases amounted to malpractice, and others are hesitant to pursue claims. Some people wait too long to file their claims, barring them from pursuing damages. The general statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania is two years. Because of the minimal time for filing a lawsuit, it is important to speak with lawyers that handle malpractice cases as soon as possible. The malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia at Raynes & Lawn can meet with you and help you to understand whether you have a viable claim and your next steps. Here are six common types of medical malpractice that sometimes happen in Pennsylvania.

1. Misdiagnoses

Misdiagnoses are among the most common types of medical negligence in malpractice claims. A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s condition and instead diagnoses the patient with the wrong condition or states that he or she does not have any type of medical condition.

A misdiagnosis can rise to the level of medical malpractice when a patient’s condition worsens because he or she did not receive the right treatment for his or her actual illness. It can also be malpractice if the patient is harmed by unnecessary treatment for a condition he or she does not have.

Not every misdiagnosis will amount to malpractice. A misdiagnosis will only qualify as malpractice if the doctor failed to provide care that a similarly skilled, competent doctor would provide under the same treatment conditions and caused the patient’s injuries and resulting losses.

2. Delayed Diagnoses

Delayed diagnoses are frequently linked to misdiagnoses. In malpractice cases involving delayed diagnoses, the doctor initially incorrectly diagnoses the patient with a different condition or states that he or she does not have a medical condition. Eventually, the patient does receive an accurate diagnosis, but the delay results in the patient’s condition worsening because of a lack of appropriate treatment.

A delayed diagnosis might qualify as medical malpractice when the doctor’s initial diagnostic

assessment of the patient fell below the standard of care expected of other similarly situated doctors. For example, failing to order a diagnostic test or to accurately interpret information on imaging scans might qualify as malpractice if the patient was harmed as a result.

3. Negligent Failure to Treat

In some cases, a correctly diagnosed patient will not receive appropriate treatment. This type of situation might occur when a doctor has too many patients and prioritizes profits over patient safety. When a doctor has too many patients, he or she might not be diligent enough in treating patients. A patient might be discharged too early. The doctor might fail to provide a referral to a specialist or to recommend necessary follow-up care.

4. Surgical Malpractice

Many different types of surgical mistakes might rise to the level of medical malpractice, including the following:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Wrong-patient surgery
  • Performing the wrong surgical procedure
  • Damaging nerves, tissues, or organs during surgery
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Using surgical instruments that have not been sterilized
  • Leaving objects behind inside the patient
  • Administering too much or too little anesthesia
  • Failing to provide adequate follow-up care

Surgical mistakes can seriously impact the patient’s quality of life can cause permanent injuries. Signing a consent form before surgery does not prevent a patient or his or her surviving family members from pursuing a malpractice claim.

5. Birth Injuries

Welcoming a new infant into the world is among the most cherished experiences of many people. When the labor and delivery staff are negligent and cause birth injuries, the experience and its aftermath can be especially devastating. While expectant parents can plan for many things surrounding the birth of a new child, they cannot plan ahead for a birth injury caused by medical

negligence. In some situations, birth injuries can cause the mother’s or baby’s death.

Malpractice leading to birth injuries can take any of the following forms:

  • Provision of inadequate prenatal care
  • Failing to diagnose serious complications
  • Incorrectly using assistive devices and causing cerebral palsy or brachial plexus injuries
  • Performing an unnecessary C-section
  • Failing to perform a C-section in an emergency
  • Failing to monitor the baby and mother during labor
  • Anesthesia errors

In many cases, birth injuries can lead to an infant needing lifelong care, resulting in losses of millions of dollars.

6. Defective Medical Devices

Some cases involve defective medical devices that result in serious injuries. When a medical device is defective, the patient receiving it can suffer serious injuries or death. For example, some patients might suffer organ perforations from poorly designed medical devices. In others, the patient’s condition might worsen when a defective device does not provide the benefits promised.

In many cases, patients might be injured by defective medical devices before the defects are discovered. However, if the manufacturer should have known or knew about the defect, the manufacturer can be liable to pay damages.

Do You Need a Malpractice Lawyer?

If you have suffered injuries because of any of these types of scenarios or others while under the care of medical professionals, you should speak to a local medical attorney at Raynes & Lawn. We can carefully assess your case and work with a medical expert to determine whether medical malpractice might have occurred. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.


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