Black and white image of sad woman with caption "5 most common forms of medical malpractice"

What are the 5 most common types of medical malpractice?

Let’s start with this — what do you think are the leading causes of death, in the United States?

Maybe heart disease comes to mind. Or cancer? We’ve all heard that word more than we should. Surely’s it’s high on the list.

How about accidents, diabetes, stroke? If you thought of any of these… you’re right. They’re all up there. In the top 12, in fact.

But medical malpractice? Many people wouldn’t think to mention that one.

According to a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins, “More than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.” Yep.

Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in our country. How is that even possible in a country as developed as ours?

In this article we’re going to cover the five most common types of the third most common cause of death, medical malpractice.

1. Birth Injuries

Black and white photo of adult hand with baby hand in it.

If you’ve searched through our site at all, you’ve probably noticed that we talk a lot about birth injury malpractice. It’s because we’re passionate about fighting for justice for families who’s child has been injured because of negligence.

Every family deserves to bring a healthy baby home. Of course, there are unforeseen circumstances and health conditions that are unavoidable, but if something negligent did happen, someone needs to be held accountable.

Birth injuries can occur in many different ways, such as nerve injuries, cerebral palsy, medication mix ups, and misdiagnosis. These injuries are costly, not just financially, but physically and emotionally as well.

Sometimes the injury is obvious, and other times they may not notice for quite some time. Either way, it’s important you reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible, as you have a limited window of time to seek legal action.

2. Prescription Drug Mistakes

Assortment of prescription drug pills.

Each day millions of patients are treated in healthcare facilities across the country.  It’s no easy feat, considering the numbers of patients compared to medical staff, and there’s always a need for more healthcare professionals. Some people pursue this field because of passion and the desire to help others. For others, maybe it’s for more practical reasons, like job security and good salary. Whatever the reason, the common thread among all medical professionals is that they’re human.

Humans make mistakes. Workers are often overworked and fatigued, which of course spikes the chance of a mistake occurring. Other times, people simply don’t pay enough attention. Whatever the reason, there has to be consequences for sloppy care. Errors like medication mix ups, prescribing errors, and overdoses shouldn’t happen.

It’s important that there’s clear communication among healthcare professionals, that charting is accurate and up to date, and that medications are labeled correctly.

All precautions need to be taken in order to avoid mistakes like these. But when people fail to take the proper precautions, mistakes happen, people get hurt, and they come to medical malpractice lawyers like us to seek justice and compensation.

3. Errors During Surgery

Group of surgeons and medical professionals standing near table.

We’ve all heard stories of surgery gone wrong. Like a doctor sewing up a patient with a medical instrument left inside. It sounds crazy, but it happens, and more often than you might think.

Surgical errors aren’t limited to foreign objects left behind, but also:

  • Operating on the incorrect body part.
  • Anesthesia errors.
  • Damaging healthy organs while performing surgery.
  • Failure to properly monitor vitals and blood supply.
  • Not taking enough precautions to avoid infection.

Like prescription errors, surgical errors often occur because of negligence at the hands of healthcare professionals. Surgery is meant to correct an existing condition, not create new ones. If you think you may have a medical malpractice case, read Do I have a medical malpractice case? to find out, or give us a call.

4. Misdiagnosis

Sad woman laying in hospital bed with a coffee cup in her hand.

Misdiagnosis happens a lot more than it should. In fact, diagnostic errors occur in 10%-30% of all medical cases. When a condition like heart disease or cancer is misdiagnosed, the results are often fatal. If you find an illness early on, the chances of survival are significantly higher. But what if you were diligent and expressed concerning symptoms to your doctor but they didn’t listen? Or maybe they didn’t take you seriously, and blew you off? Testing could have been done. Your medical record and family history should have been carefully scrutinized.

All too often patients don’t receive the treatment they should. If your doctor wasn’t comfortable with treating you, they should have referred you to someone who could. The worst scenario is knowing you could have survived had the disease been found earlier.

If this has happened to you or your loved one, reach out to an attorney. Poor care or untimely death because of misdiagnosis isn’t fair. There are things you or your family member can do to make it better.

5. Failure to Treat

Hospital room with chair and patient observation light.

So a diagnosis has been made… but the treatment wasn’t timely. Or you went in for surgery, but were released too soon and later got an infection. Healthcare professionals are responsible for seeing the big picture. Knowing which steps should be taken and how to get you back to health is a big part of their job.

There’s a reason you’re seeking care from a health care professional… because they went to school for years and trained to recognize signs and symptoms. They have the knowledge but if they’re not passing that on to you, what’s the point?

When a doctor or medical professional fails to treat you because of negligence or substandard care, it may be malpractice. Again, if you believe you have a medical malpractice case, read Do I have a medical malpractice case? to find out, or give us a call and we’ll help you find out.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to think about medical malpractice. That probably why most people don’t realize that medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. But changes won’t happen if people don’t know the truth about malpractice, and what they can do if they become a victim of malpractice.

If you or your family member has dealt with any form of medical malpractice, please reach out to us or an attorney in your area. The first step can seem hard, but it’s probably much easier than you think, and it’s the only path to justice and compensation.