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Three Common Medical Malpractice Situations Every Patient Should Know

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Medical malpractice is a complex web of legal guidelines, limitations, and expectations. Since no two cases are ever exactly alike, it can be tough to know for sure if you actually have a case. Doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals see patients at their most vulnerable, making it vital that they perform their role to the best of their ability. To understand if you've been a victim of malpractice, you need to understand the different forms that exist. Here are some of the most common forms of medical malpractice that you might encounter.


Making a proper diagnosis based on your symptoms is an essential part of any medical treatment program. Sometimes, a missed symptom or an inaccurate test result can lead to misdiagnosis. While some instances of misdiagnosis are not the doctor's fault, there are some instances where you may be able to hold your doctor liable for a misdiagnosis and any further damage that may occur. For example, failing to properly diagnose cancer, heart attack, stroke, embolism, meningitis, appendicitis or diabetes may be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.

Delay In Diagnosis

A delay in medical diagnosis occurs when your doctor fails to diagnose a condition within a timely manner if it can be proven that another doctor of equal skill and experience could have diagnosed that same condition much faster. Delayed medical diagnosis can lead to unnecessary injuries and other long-term complications in some cases, and you may be able to sue your doctor to cover the cost of those additional treatments. For example, if your doctor doesn't diagnose coronary artery disease, stroke, appendicitis or an internal trauma in a reasonable period of time, this may reduce the chances of a full recovery. You might be able to hold the doctor responsible for this.

Mistakes In Surgery

Sometimes, surgical mistakes can be serious, and can often result in further necessary surgeries, long-term damage, immune system problems and more serious issues. For example, an unintended perforation or laceration during surgery can lead to significant complications. If your doctor perforates a bowel or a blood vessel, this could lead to a severe infection and the potential for sepsis.

Miscommunications that lead to surgery performed on the wrong site of your body can also be considered medical malpractice in many cases. For example, the amputation of the wrong limb may lead to a medical malpractice suit.

Another common concern is a foreign object being left behind inside the body during a surgery. In fact, there were over 700 instances from 2006 to 2013. Most often, the foreign object was gauze or another absorbent material. This can lead to serious infections and extended hospital stays.

Unnecessary Surgical Procedures

In most situations, an unnecessary surgical procedure is the result of a misdiagnosis or a poor medical decision. Sometimes, surgery is unnecessary because it is chosen as a treatment option before other common or more conventional treatments are tried. Some of the most frequently performed unnecessary surgeries include things like cesarean sections and hysterectomies. While these surgeries are necessary in many cases, there are treatment options that can help prevent the need for them in many other cases. If your doctor recommends surgery over any other treatment option without justifiable explanation, you may have a case.

While the vast majority of medical treatments and surgeries are correct and timely, accidents certainly do happen. As a patient, it's in your best interest to be able to recognize those accidents when they do occur. With the information presented here, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself and reach out to a medical malpractice attorney if necessary. Don't dismiss your rights simply because you don't understand your options. Talk with an attorney today to see if you might be owed restitution. Attorneys like Robert Reardon may be able to meet your needs in this area.