Common Medical Malpractice Mistakes; Kingston, New York Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses What to Look out For!


In addition to posting about cases or current events, posting about medical studies, or new advancements in the law, I sincerely enjoy—and the real purpose of my blog is— to help educate my readers.  I became a lawyer for the reason to sincerely HELP people and I think one of the easiest ways I can do that really is through my blog posts.  So today I want to discuss some common medical malpractice cases.

In the past week or so, I have really harped on wrong medication or wrong dosage.  Again, this can be incredibly dangerous to a patient if they are receiving the wrong medication, such as the case I wrote about the elderly woman who was mistakenly given a drug which was banned for the older individuals because of the serious health complications it could cause.  And how about the very recent case of the New Jersey pharmacies who mistakenly gave young children chemotherapy medication!

Dosage can also be an issue too.  All too often a pharmacist cannot read the doctor’s handwriting and makes their own decision on what the doctor PROBABLY wanted to give the patient—sometimes WITHOUT full review of the patient’s file—and gives the patient that medication.  For example, if the pharmacist gives the patient a medication with reacts violently with something else the patient has or a health condition that the pharmacist might not know of.  If that medication is too strong, it can obviously cause massive complications for the patient.  However, if that medication is too weak and the patient does not get better causing their health to continue to decline, it could be absolutely disastrous. 

Another common type of medical malpractice is wrong-site surgery.  This is just what it sounds like; when the doctor performs surgery on the wrong part of the body.  And this isn’t that rare!  Believe it or not, between 1,300 to almost 3,000 wrong-site surgeries occur each year in the United States!  This is why many doctors now have the patient—prior to anesthesia—mark the body part or circle it themselves of what needs to be operated on.  A basic example of this is when the patient’s right ear needs an operation but the doctor mistakenly performs it on the left ear.

Which reminds me of a seminal case all law students read in their first year torts class; Mohr v. Williams.  In that case, the patient had a really bad ear infection and the physician determined it needed to be operated on.  The patient consented to this operation and when the patient was under anesthesia, the doctor realized that the right ear really wasn’t that bad but the left ear really needed the operation.  So the doctor—trying to help the patient—operated on the left ear.  When the patient awoke with the left ear operated on, the patient brought a lawsuit for BATTERY. 

And believe it or not, the court AGREED!  A battery is an intentional harmful or offensive physical contact without consent or authority of law to do so.  When a patient gives consent to a doctor to perform a surgery, that consent is not a general, sweeping consent to do whatever the doctor wants to be actually a very narrow consent.  Even though the doctor meant no harm, this was still a battery!

Another type of medical malpractice, which is equally if not more scary than the others listed ago, is foreign objects left in the patient.  Believe it or not, this happens in about 1 out of every 10,000 surgeries performed in the United States!  This can be anything from surgical sponges (most commonly), to misplaced tools, threads/ropes, or other clotting agents.  These can be VERY dangerous because a foreign object such as a sponge is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and could become a cesspool of infection within the patient!  Foreign object cases are almost ALWAYS medical malpractice and you should immediately seek legal assistance because the statute of limitations is VERY short!

The last kind of medical malpractice I want to discuss briefly is something people have written entire articles or even books about.  That is misdiagnosis cases.  We all hear about them on the news, and they commonly are cancer cases which only magnifies the danger of such error.  These cases are when the physician simply misdiagnoses a condition in a patient.  Either because they fail to do the proper rule/out procedures, they misread a test report or scan, fail to recognize manifested symptoms, or simply ask the wrong questions.  However, misdiagnosis cases can also occur because of too busy, preoccupied, stressed, incompetent, or inexperienced doctors.  If you suspect this has happened to you or a loved one, you need to act on this immediately because the statute of limitation in the CPLR section 214-a has NOT expanded to protect victims of medical malpractice via misdiagnosis!

But what do you think?!  I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com
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