What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional breaches his or her duty of care to a patient and caused injury and damage to him or her. Fortunately, most medical care is performed in a careful, competent manner. But in rare cases medical malpractice does occur, and can inflict devastating consequences on a patient and his or her family.
It is important to note that a less than ideal outcome or less than ideal treatment experience does not necessarily amount to malpractice. It is possible for a medical professional to commit no errors and still have an unfavorable or less than favorable outcome for his or her patient. It may be necessary for an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case to determine whether there is a potential malpractice claim.
Although malpractice can occur during any kind of medical treatment, some incidents of malpractice are more common than others.
Many malpractice complaints arise from allegations of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose. When a medical professional fails to correctly or timely diagnose a condition, a patient can miss out on a critical treatment window that would allow the patient to avoid extended or additional suffering or even death. Misdiagnosis can even lead to a patient receiving treatments that he or she does not need. However, a misdiagnosis may not constitute malpractice; it is necessary to show that another professional of similar skill and experience would not have made the same mistake under similar circumstances.
Malpractice can cause injuries to a child during pregnancy or the birthing process, with these injuries inflicting conditions such as bone fractures, seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, or paralysis. Of course, it is entirely possible that these conditions have natural causes that occur during pregnancy. But if these conditions were inflicted by injuries sustained during pregnancy or the birthing process due to acts or omissions that another medical professional would not have committed under similar circumstances, it may constitute malpractice. Birth injuries can be caused by failing to diagnose medical conditions in the mother (such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, anemia, or hypoglycemia), failing to diagnose complications during childbirth (such as tangling the umbilical cord around the baby or signs of fetal distress), or improperly using instruments like forceps.
Medication errors are another common type of medical malpractice, which can occur at any step of the medication process, including when the physician makes the prescription (including by failing to calculate the correct dosage or failing to identify potential adverse interactions with other medication), when the pharmacy fills the prescription (including dispensing the wrong medication or dosage or making a transcription error), or when a nurse administers the medication (such as failing to confirm the medication against the prescription or that he or she has the correct patient).
Anesthesia errors can result in serious consequences for a surgical patient, including permanent neurological injury, brain damage, or death. These errors occur when anesthesiologists fail to confirm whether anesthesia will potentially cause complications for the patient or fail to inform patients about preoperative procedures, or when they fail to monitor a patient’s condition during surgery or take action during the first signs of distress.
Surgeons can make all kinds of errors during surgery, including accidentally perforating an organ or blood vessel, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving equipment inside a patient. Nurses can also be negligent in surgical care, including failing to warn the surgeon of negative changes in a patient’s condition during surgery or failing to perform proper post-operative care leading to infection or other complications.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Negligence Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at the Marrone Law Firm, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Center City, University City. Call us today at 866-732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 200 S. Broad St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102, and we also have offices in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.