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The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

FAST FACTS

  • Out of 4,000 physicians surveyed, 48% said they had been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
  • Surgeons and Ob/Gyns were the most named professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits.
  • 49% of these physicians have been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit between two and five times.

When you make an appointment with a doctor, you assume that you will be diagnosed and treated appropriately. When your physician tells you that you need surgery, you expect to be put under, have a procedure, and wake up with the issue solved, if not at least improved. Unfortunately, people don’t always have a positive experience with medical professionals.

A medical malpractice case arises when a patient is not provided with the currently accepted standard of care by a doctor, nurse or another medical professional. Mistakes are made in only a small number of cases which is good news unless it happens to you.

It would be fair to think that once a mistake is made, it wouldn’t be made again. It’s not necessarily the case. It seems that the same medical mistakes are made repeatedly, causing patients to seek remedy in a court of law. Let’s take a closer look at medical malpractice.

Elements Necessary for Medical Malpractice

It’s important to note before we talk about any mistakes that certain elements must be present for your Mobile medical malpractice attorney to move forward with a case. A mistake doesn’t always constitute malpractice.

The elements are:

  • There must have been a relationship established between the medical provider and patient.
  • The medical provider had a duty of care and failed to perform in accordance with that duty.
  • The patient was injured or harmed and sustained damages.
  • The injury was a direct result of the medical provider’s negligence or error.

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice infographic

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The most common types of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis, childbirth injuries, medication errors, anesthesia errors and surgical errors. It’s not to say that errors or negligence aren’t present in other situations, but the majority of medical malpractice cases center around one of these reasons.

1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

You visit a doctor because you don’t feel well. You sit with the doctor, discuss your medical history and your current symptoms. The doctor hands you a diagnosis and a prescription. The troubles begin when your symptoms don’t get better and, in some cases, get worse. You may have been misdiagnosed.

Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. If you have ever searched online for what disease or condition has a headache, for example, as a symptom, you’ll have dozens of results on your hands. There are several conditions that have common symptoms and it’s not always apparent which condition you have. This is why it is so easy to receive a diagnosis that isn’t correct.

Another issue is delayed diagnosis. When you aren’t diagnosed with anything at all immediately but later diagnosed with something that should have been treated as soon as symptoms appeared, you could suffer serious harm. Remember that it is always your right to get a second opinion, even if you don’t believe you have a condition that would be considered life-threatening.

2. Childbirth Injuries

There are a number of injuries that can be caused to both mother and child when birth injuries occur. An error or negligence on the part of a medical professional may occur at any time during the birthing process or, in other cases, during the prenatal care of the mother.

A medical professional may fail to identify birth defects or misdiagnose a condition in the mother prior to the birth of the infant. There may be an error made during the birthing process itself. It doesn’t matter when the negligence occurred. If a child or mother is injured during pregnancy or labor and delivery, a medical malpractice case may arise.

3. Medication Errors

According to a decades-old study, medication errors affect about 1.5 million people every year. The prescription given may be incorrect, the medication could be inappropriate for the condition, or a drug may be given to the wrong patient.

A medication error, however, most often occurs when a patient gets too little or too much of a drug. The doctor may write the wrong dose on the prescription, a nurse may give the wrong amount or a machine like an IV pump may malfunction.

4. Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia mistakes can be very dangerous. The slightest error by an anesthesiologist can have devastating effects on a patient. An error can occur when a patient’s full medical history is not taken, when preoperative instructions aren’t given or when too much or too little anesthesia is administered during a procedure.

5. Surgical Mistakes

Surgical mistakes are perhaps the most frightening for patients. When you are put under anesthesia for a procedure, you have no control over the situation. This can cause a great deal of anxiety and, thankfully, most people wake up and things are just fine.

In other cases, the wrong surgery is performed, nerves are severed, medical instruments are left behind and more. Surgical mistakes have the potential to be incredibly serious and sometimes fatal.

Again, it is important to remember that not every mistake made by a medical professional will lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. When an error is remedied before it causes harm, it is rare that a medical malpractice case will be initiated. When a patient sustains harm at the hands of a medical professional, they have every right to seek a remedy for the damages they incur.

CMT Coal Terminal

Proposed Orders in Coal Case

In the Coal Case, Judge Brooks ordered the attorneys to submit proposed orders on the pending motions for summary judgment. Both proposed orders are attached.  Plaintiffs’ central argument is that the Planning Commission lacked the authority to permit a coal handling facility as a coal mine.

Plaintiff Proposed Order

Defendant Proposed Order

Lori Carver Speaks Out For The First Time Regarding The Pill Mill Case

Recently Lawrence Specker of al.com wrote an article about Lori Carver and her part in taking down two Physicians’ Pain Specialists of Alabama (PPSA) clinics. Drs. Xiulu Ruan and John Patrick Couch were found guilty of running a pill mill out of the PPSA clinics, for this reason, the clinics were shut down by the federal government in May of 2015. On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Dr. Couch was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $15 million in restitution, consequently. Dr. Ruan’s sentencing will take place on Friday, May 26.

Lori is represented by Peter Mackey of Burns, Cunningham and Mackey, and Gregory Vaughan of Holston Vaughan. Lastly, you can find a link to the al.com article written by Lawrence Specker here.

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

Peter Mackey- Partner of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey

 

Coal Case Update

COAL DUST IN MOBILE ALABAMA

Mining, hauling and transferring coal are legitimate business activities and should be allowed so long as the public is protected from the toxic coal dust those activities create.  The Fox 10 News environmental documentaries, by investigative reporter Kati Weise, leave no doubt that coal dust is a huge problem in Mobile.  Large quantities of coal dust are accumulating on houses, cars, businesses, and public buildings in the Mobile community. Mobile County’s chief health officer, Dr. Bert Eichold, has testified that coal dust is a health hazard and fugitive emissions should be contained.  So, what is happening?

In the fall of 2015, Cooper Marine got caught illegally operating a coal handling facility less than one mile north of the Wallace Tunnel.   Cooper plead ignorance and applied for a permit.  The Planning Approval Staff Report, prepared in connection with that application, documents that Cooper provides even less coal dust mitigation than a prior applicant who withdrew its request following community protest.

At hearings on Cooper’s request residents complained to the Planning Commission of coal dust accumulation on their property and presented medical articles documenting the toxic effects of coal dust.  Even so, the Mobile Planning Commission gave Cooper permission to operate its open air coal handling facility next to the homes and businesses of downtown Mobile.

Residents appealed that decision to the City Council.  Councilmembers Rich and Manzie voted with the residents, Councilmember Daves abstained but Councilmembers Gregory, Richardson, Small and Williams sided with Cooper.  The residents’ appeal was denied 4-2.

Residents filed suit in the Circuit Court of Mobile County Alabama claiming that the decision to allow Cooper’s open air coal dust generating facility was “arbitrary and capricious” and that the statute under which it was issued is unconstitutional.  The case was assigned to the Honorable Sarah H. Stewart, Circuit Judge Mobile County Alabama.  On March 22, 2017 Judge Stewart denied motions to dismiss the complaint filed by Cooper and the City of Mobile.

So, the answer is that the case is moving forward!  A discovery hearing is scheduled for April 28, 2017.

If you’d like more information, please email my assistant Matt Laird at the following email address mlaird@bcmlawyers.com.