The Top Three Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims in the U. S.
While the figure varies annually, there are an average of over 80,000 medical malpractice suits filed every year, and trends show that this number is on the rise. These numbers are alarming, especially because estimates place the number of medical injuries at around one million per year.
Not every case of medical injury or unpleasant experiences at the hospital constitutes medical malpractice, however. Medical malpractice describes when a medical professional breaches his/her duty of care to a patient, either via an omission or negligent act, which leads to injury or death of the patient. For this post, we’re looking at the top three causes behind medical malpractice suits in the U. S.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
The primary cause of medical malpractice suits across the nation, erroneous or delayed misdiagnoses are a frighteningly common occurrence, with recent figures estimating that over 20 percent of patients with a serious or life-threatening condition are initially misdiagnosed. A mistaken diagnosis can be deadly, as it prevents the patient from getting the help that they need and subjects them to unnecessary treatments that could cause additional harm. In these cases, it is critical to demonstrate that a competent medical professional would not have made the same diagnosis under most conditions.
Prescriptions and Medicine Dosage Errors
Prescription errors are also shockingly common. A 2016 study estimated that, across all care settings, over 7 million patients are impacted by prescription and dosage errors yearly. Healthcare workers often miss signs of these errors during continued visits, something that is exacerbated by the fact that many patients don’t adequately report symptoms or side effects. In these cases, a variety of parties can be held responsible, including doctors, pharmacists, and even the drug manufacturers themselves.
Mistakes during Childbirth
Mistakes or oversights during childbirth can be dangerous and potentially deadly to both mother and child. Almost one-fifth of all medical malpractice claims are filed against OBGYN’s. While complications during childbirth are not always unavoidable, many of them are caused by behavior or actions that can be categorized as malpractice.
The Role of Legal Nurse Consultants in Medical Malpractice Claims
Victims of medical malpractice need to be able to prove without a doubt that a medical professional acted in a way that breached their duty of care to the patient. Attorneys who represent victims are tasked with demonstrating this via solid evidence and sound arguments, and they collaborate with legal nurse consultants to gather the facts of the case before the lawsuit moves forward.
As experienced medical professionals, legal nurse consultants lend their knowledge in a variety of ways. They take the time to become familiar with the specific circumstances surrounding an incident, and are able to research, compile data, and provide detailed reports that attorneys can use in their cases. Furthermore, they often provide expert testimony during a trial. Their robust medical knowledge allows them to give qualified opinions on a variety of complex medical topics, all in a way that different audiences can understand.
If you want to learn more about how legal nurse consultants work with attorneys and other legal professionals within the context of medical malpractice suits, know that we at Legal Nurse Consultants USA, LLC, are here to answer your questions. You can reach our office by calling us at 877.211.7562 at your earliest convenience.