When you get care from a doctor or other health provider, you have the reasonable and proper expectation that you will receive high-quality, attentive treatment. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Medical malpractice is a serious problem—and it can be dangerous. Johns Hopkins Medicine cites medical malpractice as the third leading cause of death nationwide.
Medical malpractice can come in many different forms. It occurs when a patient is harmed because of substandard care received from an individual or institutional medical provider. Malpractice is a form of negligence. In this article, our Birmingham medical malpractice lawyer highlights the top five types of medical negligence to look out for in Alabama.
- Diagnostic Errors
An accurate, timely diagnosis is key to the treatment of many different types of medical conditions. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors remain the leading type of medical malpractice. These mistakes can occur in several ways. An overview of some of the most common types of diagnostic errors that constitute malpractice in Alabama include:
- Failure to Diagnose: The most common diagnostic error is a missed diagnosis. It happens when a healthcare provider fails to identify the correct illness or condition affecting the patient. Missing a diagnosis could prevent a patient from getting the appropriate medical treatment.
- Delayed Diagnosis: A delayed diagnosis can also have serious repercussions, allowing a condition to progress further than it would have if caught in a timely manner.
- Misdiagnosis: Doctor misdiagnosed occurs when the doctor incorrectly identifies the disease or condition, leading to inappropriate treatments which can cause further harm. The implications of diagnostic errors can be fatal, especially in cases of serious illnesses like cancer or heart disease.
Were you or a family member harmed because of failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or doctor misdiagnosis? You may be entitled to significant financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Contact a Birmingham, AL, medical malpractice attorney for a free, strictly confidential initial consultation.
Surgical mistakes, while less common, can have severe, sometimes life-threatening consequences. These errors can range from operating on the wrong patient or body part to leaving surgical instruments inside a patient’s body post-surgery. Additionally, postoperative negligence, such as inadequate monitoring and infection control, can also lead to further adverse complications.
A surgeon’s experience, focus, and overall procedural planning play crucial roles in preventing these types of errors. A surgeon and their employer—such as a hospital—may bear liability for harm caused by a serious surgical mistake. If you or your loved one was involved in a surgery that went wrong, contact an experienced Alabama medical malpractice lawyer for immediate help.
- Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia errors have the potential to be even more dangerous than surgical mistakes. Modern anesthesia can help to make an invasive operation bearable for a person. However, anesthesia involves the use of incredibly powerful drugs. Even a seemingly minor error could cause severe harm. Errors can happen in dosage, where too much can cause severe injury or death, while too little can result in the patient waking up during surgery. Another type of error is the failure to identify potential complications related to the patient’s medical history or neglecting to inform the patient about the necessary preoperative procedures (like not eating before surgery).
- Birth Injuries
Sadly, birth injuries due to medical malpractice can inflict life-long complications for both the child and the mother. Negligence can occur in several ways, such as failing to monitor fetal distress, improper use of birth-assisting tools, or not performing a necessary cesarean section in time. These mistakes can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and brain damage in infants, while mothers can suffer from postpartum hemorrhage and infections. A medical malpractice claim for a birth injury can be pursued on behalf of a mother and/or an infant.
- Prescription Drug Errors
Prescription drug errors are a common form of medical malpractice. This can include prescribing the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failing to consider dangerous drug interactions, especially in patients taking multiple medications. The consequences can range from minor side effects to serious health complications and even death. Indeed, the misfiling of a prescription by a pharmacist can cause severe complications for a patient. It is critical for healthcare providers to maintain a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history and current medications.
An Attorney Can Help You Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim in Alabama
Medical malpractice is a terrible thing. It is imperative that patients and their families have the proper professional advocate on their side. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of medical malpractice in Alabama, seeking legal assistance can significantly bolster your chances of receiving rightful compensation. As with other states, Alabama has specific rules around filing a medical malpractice claim. To prove medical malpractice, you must establish the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship was formed;
- The medical provider was negligent (substandard care);
- The substandard care was the cause of the incident; and
- You suffered real harm due to medical negligence.
Alabama law often requires expert medical witness testimony to establish the accepted standard of care and prove a breach by the healthcare provider. An attorney who is well-versed in the state’s medical malpractice claims process can connect with reputable medical experts. Through a medical malpractice claim in Alabama, patients can seek financial compensation for the full extent of their damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability/disfigurement, and wrongful death of a family member.
Contact Our Birmingham, AL, Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham medical malpractice lawyers have the expertise you can count on in a complex case. If you or your loved one was the victim of any type of medical negligence, we are more than ready to protect your rights. Reach out to us at 205-896-6410 or contact us online to set up your no-cost, no-obligation case review. Our law firm provides medical malpractice representation in Birmingham and all across the wider region of Alabama.